Each week, we take the time to highlight one of our favorite emerging models. Last week, we profiled the elegant Isabella Ridolfi
this week we decided to feature the charming Emma Laird.
Scouted when she was 18 by Models 1 at a festival in Leeds in 2014, the Chesterfield native has been fast rising in the fashion world. She has been a familiar face in magazine editorials and has appeared on the pages Elle, Grazia, Glamour, and L'Officiel. She's also starred in campaigns for Skinnydip and United Colors of Benetton. Not your average British beauty, she is also an actress, writer, and environmentalist with a Youtube channel via which she spreads the message about veganism from an environmental point of view. We caught up with her to talk about her career so far, her fashion style and plans for the future.
Hometown: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Have you always wanted to be a model? If not, what did you want to be growing up?
No, I kind of fell into it. Growing up I wanted to be a musician, or simply travel. I wanted to get out of my hometown so desperately. I felt like there was nothing for me there, I always wanted to live in London. In fact, I remember when I was about 15, I wrote down a whole plan of how I was going to move to London and make it all work for me. Models 1 made that a whole lot easier when they scouted me though (my plan was not the most thought out). I think I had to leave if only to appreciate its beauty when I returned.
How were you scouted?
Leeds festival, 2013. Muddiest festival I have ever attended!
How would you describe yourself as a model in three words?
I'd like to think that the model side of me is definitely professional, but fun and probably a bit wacky (or for want of a better word, embarrassing).
Your first modeling job?
Oh my gosh, I had no idea what I was doing, honestly. It was for a textile magazine or something and I saw the pictures again recently and cringed so much. I look like I'm in pain for some reason. There's a subtle art to modeling which I think after 5 years I've cracked.
What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about being a model?
The traveling. Although modeling was never what I wanted, it gave me exactly that. I've been all around the world and met some of the most interesting people. I remember one night about three years ago, Me and four other models were having a late-night dinner after the shoot in Treviso, Italy. Each model was from a different country and we just talked for hours on the balcony with gelato and a cool summer breeze. I remember being so overwhelmed with emotion after. I remember thinking how did I get here? Those are the moments I remember, not the paycheck or the pictures, the moments. The people. So I guess it's not so much the traveling, but the people I have met. Musicians, directors, assistants, hair stylists, all the eccentrics and characters who've shaped me more than they know.
Is there anyone that you admire as a role model and why?
My friends. Seeing them do their own thing and being not just a model. I'm in awe of that. One of my friends is in the process of creating her own lingerie line, another is now directing and creating her own movies. I don't necessarily idolize celebrities because they seem so distant. My role models are people I know that truly have come from nothing or have fought so hard to make it. Or if they are celebrities, it's their talent that I look up to, like Olivia Colman, Stanley Kubrick, Yorgos Lanthimos, Tilda Swinton. I don't necessarily identify with them as a person, but it's their creative skills that give me a role model.
What's been your biggest OMG moment to date?
Seeing my face on the big screen. The billboards are still a surreal feeling, but seeing my face in the Odeon billboard, seeing my passion for acting become a reality - that was special. And it only happened this year, after five years in the business. I don't want this to sound like I have my shit together and that I'm where I want to be but it takes time, there are so many moments where you think you should just give up but you shouldn't, and I'm glad I didn't. And actually, are any of us every really where we want to be? Ok wow, getting a bit deep, but I'm basically enjoying the ride and appreciating those little moments of triumph that come along the way!
What is your dream shoot/campaign?
I'd love to work with Stella McCartney more. Her whole ethos is completely in line with mine, I'd love to meet her. And Vivienne Westwood, her work to stop climate change is just amazing to me.
What's the best life advice you've ever received?
I'm very bad at taking advice. if someone tells me to do something, I usually do the opposite. So, I'd say what I'm most appreciative for, and absorbent of is role models, or observing people and learning from them. My mum, my closest friends. I don't have any words of wisdom that have stuck with me but know who to turn to should I need some. Though if I had to choose one phrase to live by it would be to always be true to yourself. Do things for you, do things that make you happy.
How do you stay in shape?
Walking! I walk to most of my casting, walk around the lakes of my house, it's therapeutic for me. I hate being sedentary but sometimes I don't have time to go to a class, so try to swap public transport for walking where possible! Other than that, I love team /game sports like badminton, football, that kind of stuff. Fresh air is my fav, and the odd run at night in the rain too - that usually gets me thinking of whacky plots and storylines for my writing!
What does fashion mean to you?
Exerting your personality into clothing. Sending a message in what you wear.
How would you describe your style?
'London' for sure. Or maybe just 'Emma'. The man in the pub the other day asked if I were wearing pajamas and I just laughed. I forget that what I wear can be a bit shocking to the eye sometimes, I don't even think about it anymore. But it does change. I have a very varied wardrobe and change it up depending on my mood or where I'm going, who I'm hanging around with. If I'm going to the states I'll go for blazers, a smart cowboy boot, and trousers. I dress a bit smarter over there. But in London, I'll wear mom jeans and wacky (faux) fur coats to castings. If I'm going to audition, I'll think about how my character would dress, and choose an outfit from my wardrobe what she would gravitate towards.
Denim or leather?
Denim denim denim, double denim, triple denim. DENIM
Heels or flats?
I cannot do high heels, but I like a heeled boot. So maybe somewhere in between a heel and a flat is what I feel best in.
Vintage or contemporary fashion?
I've got a really good few bits second hand. Teamed with new stuff is how I style it so it can look a bit more high end. So, a bit of both - although I do highly advocate shopping second hand because it's just so environmentally friendly!!
If you were an emoji, which would you be and why?
Mermaid. Imagine if we could breathe underwater, swim as deep as marine life, hold our breath as long as dolphins (and had mermaid tails). How cool would that be? Imagine the world under the water we could see. Dreammyyyy Did anyone ever watch that show H20: Just Add Water as a kid? It was a show about mermaids, and I was truly hooked. I would go swimming and pretend to be a mermaid. Then one year I went to Egypt with my family and we went snorkeling. I sacked off the snorkel and just kind of free dived until I needed to come up for air. It was magical, with all the coral and fishes. I think in another life I must've been a fish. I feel like a mother to the oceans, I feel an overwhelming responsibility to protect them. They're so precious and I can't imagine a world where the coral is bleached, and species are extinct (although it is very much happening right now because of climate change)
When you're not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do?
I spent a long time absorbed in my work as a model. Despite sometimes having a lot of free time, I didn't do much with it. Now I've got a really lovely balance of work, exercise, socializing and making sure I'm there for my friends, studying, reading and creative outlets like writing, singing, learning guitar, doing videos for Youtube, decorating my house. All that stuff.
What are you working on now and what do you dream of happening in the future?
Right now, my life is consumed (in a good way) with writing. I'll be releasing my debut novel entitled 'Eventually,' in March so I have some deadlines to meet with that. But my mind is like my laptop: it never switches off. Constantly coming up with ideas for different books or song lyrics. There's that too, I recently got a load of recording equipment. It's more a hobby but I've had a lovely response online to snippets of songs, so I'll probably release them at some point for a laugh. My goal isn't to work in music, but I love the production side of making songs and editing, I think it's similar to editing my Youtube videos in a way, so it just feels like another way to enjoy that side of things. I'm rambling like I say I like to put a lot of my plate (metaphorical, but I do love food too hehe).
Take a look at Emma's portfolio here and check back next week to find out who our next 'Model of the Week' is.
Thank you, Emma, for this amazing interview!
Interview by: Clinton Gonsalvez
Special Thanks to Ouarda Coussay @ Models1
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