I met Emily through crashing on her & her roommate (awesome musician & stick and poke tattoo artist, Tea Leigh)'s couch in Brooklyn this past summer. I immediately knew I liked her very long hair and amazing style. I knew that I really liked her very much when we went to the beach together and she swam out in to the ocean to grab some litter that was floating around in the waves to bring it back to land to be disposed of accordingly. Emily radiates a calm strength, and confidence, and it's been so wonderful getting to work with her. We're so happy to be able to share with you Anima Rising's newest Wild Woman :
What do you spend most of your time doing?
I am a woman who wears many hats, so my time is divided usually between photography, styling, modeling and singing in a band I just recently joined! I also really enjoy hunting for and then hoarding vintage clothing, drawing, collaging, cooking and traveling. I spent a lot of the summer going on little day trips upstate, or biking out to the beach. If I am home I like to listen to records and chill out with my good friend/roommate and my cat. I absolutely love to go out dancing, and I am a bit of a karaoke queen. As you can see, I can never pick just one thing. I can't even think of which of these I do more than the next. They all make me who I am so they all seem equally important!
When do you feel your best? What do you do when you're feeling your worst?
When I am dressed in an outfit that makes me feel most like myself, that is definitely when I feel my best. Above all the other mediums I create in, my personal style I feel speaks volumes about me. Especially since I carry it around with me and is often times what helps form peoples first impression of me. It changes here and there and takes different forms, but I am usually a bit more decked out than your average person, and that's the way I like it. When I am feeling my worst, I like to surround myself with loving people. I am a big believer in energy, and how easy that is to pass along to the people around you. I only like to be around people who have this same kind of insight, because you really feel that transference happening when you come together!
What is the story behind Golly Magazine?
Golly is the brain child of my two friends Roxanne Fequiere and Alley O'Shea, in the early stages they brought me on as fashion director and from there we worked on creating our first issue! The three of us all felt like there was a serious void in womens' publications where many women were being left out of the conversation and not much of the content was truly relate-able. We set out on a mission to make a well designed visually pleasing magazine that featured real women and discussed a wide variety of topics. The models we use are all real women from all backgrounds, the clothing I style with is by independent designers with a price point that is realistic for our readers. We wanted to make something that was real, and I think we did a pretty good job at that. Our third issue is currently in the works!
How do you balance being in NYC and the fashion world, with being a strong, confident & conscious woman?
I think I was lucky enough to come into the fashion world at a time where an underground side of it was being developed. Fashion blogging started, and emphasis on style vs. fashion became pretty prominent, independent designers had an audience and therefor the room to grow. I don't think I would still be working in fashion to any capacity if this shift never happened. After getting a degree in fashion design and finishing an internship at a large fashion publication, I became pretty disenchanted by the industry, so I feel charmed to have been part of creating a more collaborative, supportive and artistic side of fashion. And I think the strong and confident side comes along with that. I became connected with lots of fashionable women from all over who would be fast to list one another as their personal inspirations. Fashion suddenly became this enthusiastic and collaborative melting pot where anyone was welcome.
What has your journey as a photographer been like? How did it begin? And where do you feel that you are now in the process?
The whole journey has been very fluid and natural. So much so that it was only recently that I even realized that I was a photographer. It has just been a form of self expression and documentation for so long now, it felt odd to label myself in that way. It started mostly in high school, I took a few photography classes where I got to develop my own film and make prints using an enlarger. I was always interested in photography, and this was at a point were digital cameras were around, but mostly for the use of taking Myspace selfies. So analog film photography was still common place... it's so strange to put it that way! I met my best friend Ali Scarpulla in my senior year of high school, and I started modeling for her. At that point I guess I started to be in front of the camera more, but we really grew in that way together. I learned a lot from her, and being put in front of my best friends lens made me very comfortable there, and really understand all components that go into creating an image.
About 5 years ago I started shooting with film cameras again, I like to just carry one around with me at all times and capture moments as they happen. I would say a lot of my photos are candid moments, or as close to natural movements as possible. I love the discipline that shooting film teaches you. You have to edit in your mind before taking a photo because you only have so many exposures. If I am being honest, I think it teaches you to be a better photographer. And really there are quite amazing possibilities with manipulating film if you just take the time to learn about them. It's very much trial and error, but when you get it right it is so rewarding!
And so recently, I have been hired a few times to shoot and I am realizing "oh yea, I can do this, I am a photographer!" So I guess where I am at now, I am learning to accept my worth as a photographer and to get out there and make more stuff! I am always learning and growing, there is never an end to that.
You're such a talented artist, I love every drawing / collage / photo by you I've seen! What does making these things mean to you?
Ah thank you! It means the world to me to be able to create in all these various mediums. I feel grateful and so lucky to have been raised by parents who always supported an artistic vision. My dad was very much a jack of all trades, if he wanted to learn how to make something he would teach himself. He was a super talented artist, and since he worked in so many different mediums I had great access to them, and he taught me how to use them. So I think I get that from him. I never felt a need to label myself as one type of artist, it has always been very much in my nature to expand and learn something new. I think I view the world as if it were a movie or something. I find beauty in nearly everything around me and so I want to capture that however I can. It just feels like second nature to create so I don't really know how to say what it means to me. I could not imagine thinking or living any other way than with an artistic eye.
I especially love your self-portraits. What's your relationship to the self-portrait?
Well, I had a personal style blog from 2010 till the end of 2014 where I took photos of my daily outfits. I pretty much always shot those with my digital camera on a tripod with a self timer. So I guess it all started there! I was not exactly going for some raw image of myself that bared my soul or something, but it certainly got me used to that method of using a tripod and putting myself in front of the camera. Then probably about two years ago I started turning my film camera on myself. I am a very nostalgic person and I like to document, so I like the idea of just having these intimate images of myself over time. Sometimes I can look at one of my self portraits and remember exactly why I took it, other times I was just trying to finish a roll. But I think there is a lot of truth in them. I really admire Francesca Woodman, and Vivian Maier as classic women documenting their lives. As well as some current photographers like Shelbie Diamond, Megan Kathleen McIsaac and Emma Elizabeth Tilman who turn the camera on themselves in a really beautiful way. I love the honesty behind it, and also the fact that I am completely in control of the image and how I present myself. I take a lot of nude photos, and because I am the one who is creating these images and then putting them out there, to me that shows that I am not afraid of my body and have no shame in anyone else seeing it. It's quite freeing and takes away a lot of the stigma around the female body, and who is in charge of it.
Is being an adult woman different than you thought it would be? Did you think about what that would mean when you were younger?
Well, I have to say it's pretty great being a woman! I feel lucky in that for most of my life and especially in my formative years I felt pretty secure as a person. Everyone has insecurities and flaws, but I feel like I've had many conversations with other women where they talk about their teenage years as this super hard time where they always felt not good enough, and awkward in their transition from child to adult. Not loving their bodies, or feeling the need to meet the totally unobtainable standards of what mainstream thinks a woman should be. And the worst part about it, a lot of comparing themselves to other women and putting others down as well. Aside from the little self-doubts that I think everyone feels at some point, I always felt pretty secure in the person I was, and in the woman I would become. And I would say being an adult woman is far better than I ever could have imagined! I feel extremely powerful and confident, I have convictions and beliefs and a voice and I never feel apologetic for that. I want every women to feel this way, and I am a big advocate for body pomposity and self love for this very reason. This body is the only one you have for this life time, it's high time we all learn to love ourselves and stop working against what houses the wonderful and very many things that make us all who we are.
Who are your heros?
Most certainly the people I surround myself with. I am blown away by how lucky I am to have connected with some really inspiring people. My mother is a huge inspiration, she is so strong and constantly moving forward and supporting her children no matter what. Other female artists and activists who came before me who paved the way for me to have a voice and the freedom to express it how I want.
What are some of your goals personally/professionally/creatively for the next few years?
Well, I have a loose plan for the next year to leave NY. I have always lived here and I am really feeling the urge to travel lately. Maybe spend some time up in the Catskills first to decompress and transition into a bit of a nomadic life. And then I plan to buy a car and just drive. I am really drawn to the south west, and the west coast in general. But I really want to take my time getting out there and experience some new places. Live in a few different places, work on some farms, find some artist residencies. Maybe end up somewhere I never knew I would fall in love with! And obviously I plan to document all along the way! I think my plan for the next few years is to just listen to my heart and make my soul happy. I love collaborations and communal living, so finding other like minded people to expand with is really my ideal and goal for the next few years.