After two seasons, Brandon Gibbs and Julia Trubkina became fan favorites — albeit not with everyone.
They did not show up in the 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? Season 7 trailer, but many fans hoped that they were the final, unannounced couple.
Julia has revealed that they are not coming back … and suggested that this is anti-Russian discrimination.
Maybe she was joking, maybe she wasn’t, but it has ignited a back-and-forth feud with former friend Yara Zaya.
Julia Trubkina and Yara Zaya were castmates on 90 Day Fiance Season 8.
The two — and their respective husbands — were once again sharing a screen on Happily Ever After? Season 6.
Despite some conflicts with each other at that first Tell All special, they forged a friendship.
Yara and her husband, Jovi, will be part of the cast of 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? Season 7.
This week, Julia confirmed that she and Brandon will not — crushing the hopes of fans.
But it was what Julia said next, as an explanation for their absence, that sparked this conflict.
“Why will you not be in the new season of HEA?,” asked one of Julia’s followers on Monday, July 18.
Julia replied: “Because I’m Russian, I guess.”
She followed those words with an emoji portraying sadness and disappointment.
Were Brandon and Julia excluded from Season 7 because she is from Russia?
It is no secret that the rogue state’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent genocide against its people has impacted cast members.
But casting is a complicated decision. And frankly, if production had told Julia as much, she likely couldn’t tell followers.
Yara Zaya — who is, of course, from Ukraine — seemingly responded to Julia’s post.
Taking to her Instagram Story, Yara showed herself rolling her eyes.
“My reaction when Russian people complain that the world discriminates,” she captioned the post.
Julia saw that, and it is difficult to imagine that her next Instagram Story was anything but a rebuttal.
Making a disgusted expression, Julia added a caption: “My face when people do a lot of plastic surgery for beauty.”
She continued: “But still use a lot of makeup and a lot of filters to make a video.”
This was obviously an insult that Julia aimed squarely at Yara.
At the same time, it was a callback to an earlier conflict.
At the Season 8 Tell All special last year, Julia expressed extremely judgmental views towards weight loss surgery and cosmetic procedures.
That conflict, in which Julia argued not only with Yara but with Rebecca Parrott, was a turning point in how fans viewed Julia.
It was not only that her ideas about body size and weight loss were unscientific — though they are.
The real issue was that Julia’s judgmental views seemed … ethically mean-spirited.
However, Yara was simply not feeling up to the feud.
Instead of retaliating, she deleted her earlier shade.
“[I’m] just not in the best place honestly,” Yara wrote apologetically.
“I don’t know, emotionally or mentally how to explain this,” she admitted on Tuesday.
Yara emphasized: “I don’t want no negativity in my account.”
She then stressed: “I don’t want for you guys go and write negative stuff to that person or nothing.”
Yara continued: “because I think she misunderstand too.”
She then asked her fans to promote positivity. That is also Yara’s intention.
Did Julia really “misunderstand” Yara’s meaning? Of that, we’re not so sure.
Just for the record, this is not truly a conflict about the human rights atrocities in Ukraine.
Julia — despite not being “political” (or at least making that claim to Brandon’s parents) — did not support Putin’s invasion.
But in light of that conflict, claiming anti-Russian discrimination rubbed Yara the wrong way. We can all understand that.