Julie grew up knowing she was different in a well-respected family.
Her father, Tuilagi Vavae, was a former politician and the high chief of the village council, while her mother, Aliitasi, ran the local food shop. ‘I realised I was a fa’afafine when I was really young. It is inconceivable to most parents in Britain that their son could happily attend school dressed as a girl. ‘I always played with girls and I always hung around with them.
‘We have a beauty pageant annually and we donate all the money to those who have special needs.
Lots of my friends are fa’afafine, but I can be friends with anyone.
‘Some of my fa’afafine friends have had their full operation and got married.
I haven’t had any surgery but maybe in the future, if I want to.‘For me, I would rather stay alone and keep myself as a princess rather than become a slave of some kind.
Known for their hard work and dedication to the family, the fa’afafine – which translates simply as ‘in the manner of woman’ – are ubiquitous in the South Pacific nation.
Julie has not so far made this decision, but has not ruled it out.Adventures are plentiful in these archipelagos that are scattered over an area as big as Europe.Easier to travel to than you might imagine, Tahiti’s Faa’a Airport is under 8 hours by air from Los Angeles LAX airport, with daily nonstop flights.As far south of the equator as Hawaii is north, Tahiti is halfway between California and Australia, on the same side of the International Date Line as North America, and in the same time zone as Hawaii.The three archipelagos most sought by visitors are the Society Islands, comprised of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a; The Tuamotu Atolls or “Tahiti’s Strand of Pearls”, include the atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, and Fakarava; and the Marquesas, or “The Mysterious Islands.” Unlike any other properties in the world, the luxury hotels and resorts of the French Polynesia offer a perfect combination of experience, service, dramatic views, cuisine, ambience, and accommodations.Many islands are crowned with jagged peaks while others appear to barely float above the breaking waves.