23 January 2024

Griffith 'Medusa' makes quarter-finals of hit TV gameshow Gladiators Australia

| Oliver Jacques
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woman contestant in helmet being interviewed in TV gameshow

Griffith’s Gladiators contender Julia Vearing is interviewed by host Liz Ellis. Photo: Supplied by Network Ten.

Describing herself as a little chubby Italian girl made strong by her nonna, Griffith personal trainer Julia Vearing made the quarter-finals of hit Network Ten TV show Gladiators Australia, appearing in last Thursday and Monday night’s episodes.

The popular worldwide gameshow sees super-fit athletes competing against each other in tests of speed, strength, stamina, agility and power.

Ms Vearing sensationally defeated Olympic weightlifter Bec Akdemir in an obstacle course race in her TV debut last Thursday night to make the quarter-finals.

“I can’t even describe the feeling of being on the show, it was just surreal getting out there,” she said. “It didn’t hit me until I got physically hit in power ball that it was the real deal.”

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The 30-year-old, who was born and bred in Griffith, told Region the story of how she ended up as an unlikely television celebrity.

“I was on the StairMaster at 3 am watching the documentary of the Gladiators on Netflix. A sponsored ad popped up saying they were rebooting Gladiators Australia and to apply now. I did my application while I was on the StairMaster.

“Given the amount of people applying, I didn’t think I had a hope. I was just this small-town girl who doesn’t have a blue-tick approval. But a couple of weeks later I got a phone call saying I’d been accepted to do the fitness testing, and from there I was successful.”

Gladiator TV show contestant saluting

Julia Vearing says she hopes to have done the Riverina proud. Photo: Supplied by Network Ten.

In her first appearance, she was interviewed by host and former netball international Liz Ellis, who asked her who her Gladiators alter ego would be.

“Definitely the Medusa. I might come across as bright and bubbly but if you look at me I’ll turn you into stone,” Ms Vearing said.

Medusa is a mythical ancient Greek female figure with live snakes in place of her hair.

The Griffith ”Medusa” works as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. She also runs the shed-making business Riverina Outbuild with husband Josh.

“I cannot believe the amount of support I’m getting from strangers, from family members and the amounts of parents with young kids who are telling me their children would like to be like me one day,” she said.

In the quarter-finals, she was narrowly edged by a fierce competitor.

“My opponent pulls trucks for a living; it was a short-lived competition.

“But my goal was to inspire young country people to follow their dreams, so regardless of the results, I’ve achieved my goals.”

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Ms Vearing said she had one key piece of advice for her local fans.

“Don’t be limited by what you have access to. There is so much opportunity out there. You shouldn’t let anyone, or the place you’re from, define you and stop you from chasing the right path … I hope I did the Riverina proud.”

Julia Vearing’s appearances on Gladiators Australia can be watched on the 10 Play website.

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