Julia Bendis has been a matchmaker at her own company, Match By Julia, since August 1998. She has been matchmaking a lot longer than that. She currently works with both female and male clients in the Orange County and Los Angeles area. She resides in Orange County with her husband of 14 years and two sons, 13 and 7.
We caught up with Bendis to find out about her matchmaking service and philosophy.
What is your background? I was born in Ukraine, in the former USSR, and grew up in Riga, Latvia, which is on the Baltic Sea. My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1989, when I was a teenager, right before the fall of Communism.
Did you have a problem learning to communicate? I was the new kid, the only Russian, Jewish kid in the entire school and city. I believe there was only a handful of Russian/Jewish families living in Orange County at that time. Most kids didn’t even know how to talk to me, or my younger brother. We didn’t speak a word of English, we didn’t understand a word of English and we looked funny. Trying to make friends was a daily battle. How do you make friends when all you know how to say is: “Hello, my name is Julia.”
How did you cope with that? Many Russian immigrants have used humor as a way to cope with the conditions of life in the former Soviet Union. I am one of them. Have you ever seen photographs of Russians during Communism? Or better yet Russian Jews? Nobody smiled in pictures, ever. It wasn’t allowed. If you smiled, that meant that you were happy about something, and THAT meant that you had something that others didn’t. That was definitely not allowed in Socialism, and would be reported to the proper officials! Everyone was supposed to be equal, and have the same amount of everything from money to food to shelter.
When did you start matchmaking? Matchmaking is literally in my blood. I’ve watched my grandmother setting people up back in Russia and in the U.S. my whole life, feeling that I have a keen intuition of who belongs with whom. I have been in the business of bringing two people together for over 15 years.
I can’t remember exactly when I started, but it seems like I’ve been doing it forever… In fact, I clearly remember trying to set people up back when I was in high school. Most kids seemed open to it.
Why do you keep doing it? It just makes me happy to see two people come together and form a relationship of some sort. Whether it’s a long term relationship that ends in marriage and children, or something short-lived until both parties decide to move on, it brings me joy. I wake up in the middle of the night knowing who I am going to set up the next day.
What do you like about it? Matchmaking has not only been my work, but part of my daily life as well. I have always taken the time to make a deep connection with every person I’ve come in contact with, making it a priority to remember each one.
What frustrates you about it? As much joy matchmaking brings me, there are some definite upsets that come along with it also. Maybe it’s a sign of times, but lately I’ve been having the hardest time with single ladies between the ages of 35 and 45. It’s not that they are opposed to the idea or mind paying for matchmaking services, but rather very cautious, almost too cautious about being set up on a date. Not only are they hesitant about giving me their real age and history of past relationships, but they also proceed very slowly and with great fear!
As the world evolved and allowed women to be completely independent from men, sometimes earning higher salaries, having great friends, apartments and a social life, so has the need for having a man in our lives. It’s sad and wonderful at the same time. These days the men who come to me for help are a lot more open about it, even when it comes to light “coaching,” appearance and dating advice. Women, on the other hand, not so much. They seem very set in their ways as they get older, and unless I bring them “The Perfect Guy” don’t mind staying single. I can’t say that I blame them. After all, they do seem to have it all, so why bother wasting a night on a potentially wrong date? But then again, I am not usually wrong when I pair two people up and besides, what do you have to lose? Not much. And hopefully a lot to gain! Who doesn’t want someone to come home to, or curl up on the couch with that isn’t covered in drool and animal hair? Sure your cat or dog can’t talk back, but they also can’t give you an opinion on a pressing matter or bring you a hot cup of tea when you are ill.
How do you operate? Every match is hand-picked by me, through a one-on-one process that pays great detail to your specific needs. With every new client, I get to know the person on a personal level, and his or her needs, wants and desires for a future mate. After the initial meeting, I personally hand select a potential match from my database or by meeting and recruiting new clientele. This is a traditional and personalized matchmaking service that caters to anyone wanting to find his or her other half.
Everything is personalized, and tailored to the person’s specific needs. I don’t do any online dating, and I work with one person at a time. I meet with every client in person and get to know people, their needs and what they want in a partner.
What does it cost? We have different types of memberships available to fit everyone’s needs. People can inquire for more information on all types of memberships we have to offer.
What’s new about your service? I have partnered up with Project Soulmate, a very personalized matchmaking firm in New York City and also well known. Started by two Jewish gals, Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucker, they have their own show on Bravo called “Love Broker.” They are sending me all their eligible bachelors from the West coast, mainly in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. So, right now I am looking to fill my database with eligible ladies ages 21 and up.
Bendis is offering a Valentine’s Day special in February: men who sign up for her services get a free consultation ($100 value). For more information, check out the website matchbyjulia.com, call (949) 648-4300 or look for Match By Julia on Facebook and Twitter.