Portrait of Julie Gautier, a multi-faceted freediver

by spotmydive


Partner of the recordkeeper and world freediving champion in constant weight, Guillaume Néry, Julie Gautier is a woman with multiple facets. She is nowaday one of the most famous women freediver. Freediver, dancer, director and model photo, the young woman is defintly curious and has a polyvalent talent. Previously, constant weight freediving France record, Julie Gautier gradually left the competition to devote herself to another of her passions: film making.

Where her love for freediving starts

Born on the island of Reunion, from a mother dancer and an underwater hunter dad, Julie Gautier grew up in the water. From the age of 11, she joined her father during his fishing and freediving sessions. At that time, she only knew freediving as a means for fishing and not as a discipline. It was not until 18 years old, after her father saw an article about two famous freedivers from Reunion, that she joined a diving club and discovered freediving as a sport in its own right.

Freediving as a means, not a discipline

Julie Gautier is in her twenties when she discovered freediving competitions. After her registration, she followed a training for 1 year and represented Reunion at the 2000 world championships held in Nice before stopping the competition for 5 years. After obtaining a STAPS license, the Reunionese flies away from her homeland to join the city and pursue a master of Aquaculture Project Management. And that’s where she will meet the man with whom she now shares her life, Guillaume Néry, the world champion of freediving. After meeting him, Julie decides to go back to freediving competitions with its demanding training. She then manages, for two years in a row, to break the record of France in constant weight by descending respectively to 65 and 68 meters deep. However, despite her consecutive achievements, the young woman understands that the competitive world of apnea does not suit her. She does not feel fulfilled. And for good reason, the practice of apnea in competition is just the opposite of what apnea represents for her, ie the sensations of freedom above all. Nevertheless, Julie Gautier remains aware that her career must revolve around water and apnea, something she will succeed in doing by combining all her passions, dance, apnea and image.

Freediver, director, model and dancer

Julie Gautier is a woman who likes to touch and to be interested in everything. While practicing apnea at the professional level, Gregory Colbert, a director and photographer, understood her talents. The latter was looking for a model capable of dancing and feeling at ease while freediving in order to appear in his exhibition “Ashes and Snow”. Seduced by this proposal, the freediver, will travel the world to dance with the most beautiful and majestic marine specimens for 5 years. This experience represents her first contact with underwater photography. Later, the Reunionese, will have realize her true passion during the realization of Free Fall, her first short film in which she follows her husband in Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. Really unexpected, this short film now has nearly 27 million views on the web. A very surprising and unepected success for the young woman who understands that the underwater movie making is an area that suits her best.

In parallel with the release of Free Fall, the freediving couple created Les Films Engloutis, a diving movie production company that allows them to bring together their projects and better structure their ideas. Even though, she had no affinity with the world of the movie making, these experiences and her meetings with Gregory Colbert and Jacques Ballard allowed her to have another artistic look but also to give her the confidence and the desire to write and film. It is at this moment that the aspiring director starts writing Narcose, a short film released in 2014 and based on the hallucinations that her husband, Guillaume Néry, experienced during snorkeling.

Today, Julie Gautier created six underwater videos and movies. The two main projects were the realization in 2015 of the famous underwater clip Runnin Naughty Boy, which is a music video underwater clip staring Beyonce and Arrow Benjamin but also her last short film, Ama, released last March. The first allowed the couple to have an important visibility, as for the second, it is the consecration of the years of work behind the camera for Julie Gautier. With her latest short film, the apneist director, seeks to entrust her pain through an underwater dance movie which is rich in emotions. However, this is not the only thing Julie Gautier is trying to show with this short film. It seeks to help women find their unravelled abilities but also to maximize the underwater movements through courses to raise awareness of the feeling of lightness that underwater dance can give.

Julie Gautier managed to mix her talents to give something meaningful. The wife of Guillaume Nery, found the way to make live her passion, freediving, through each of her works. Apnea is definitely a means, freedom, a meeting with oneself for the former holder of the record of France dive in constant weight.