“I am compassionate. I am brave. I am good. I am Emm.”
The journey to self-love wasn’t always easy. Take it from Emm, a musician and beauty influencer from Michigan. The LA transplant spends her days writing and singing about empowerment, equality, and representation—topics she holds near and dear to her heart. Growing up, Emm was very much in tune with the media’s inaccurate portrayal of women, gender inequality, and the backlash that many young girls experience as a result. Through her powerful lyrics, she teaches people to trust their instincts, be kinder to themselves, and is a true champion of women supporting and encouraging one another.
As an artist, what are some of your favorite topics to write or sing about?
For me, I write a lot about things that I feel have impact and power. I try to be really vulnerable and transparent in my writing in order to free other people to talk about those things and know that they’re not alone in their deepest, darkest feelings.
I like to sing about things that I feel passionate about like injustice. You’ll catch me singing a lot more about women’s issues or mental health than you will catch me singing about love. It’s more of what I think about in my day to day, so that’s mostly what I sing about.
Speaking of women’s issues and empowerment, do you have a favorite line you’d like to share with us?
In my song “Lady”, in the second verse I have a lyric that says, “she is the lotus, but the mud don’t make her mean”. The lotus flower blooms through the mud, so it’s about coming through adversity and coming out the other side...not just in one piece, but strengthened, more powerful, more beautiful, and more kind than you were before.
How would you describe your current relationship with your hair?
I think of my hair as an extension of my glory. Which sounds crazy, but I totally do. I think of it as this creative tool for expression. I used to look at beauty as my way of compensating for things that I considered to be flaws and as I’ve grown, I’ve realized that I’m pretty flawless. But I’m trying to think of myself like I’m flawless, so all of my beauty choices flow from feeling like I’m enough instead of feeling like I’m not enough.
Any type of beauty that I choose to play with is all gonna be about creativity. So if I’m playing with my hair, I’m not gonna limit myself...I’m just gonna say, what makes ME feel amazing, what is creative, and what makes me feel free? I really think of my hair as a tool to create and something to expand my inner beauty.
Growing up, how did you feel about your hair? How has this evolved?
I think growing up, I just wanted to be enough. And I always felt like I wasn’t enough and I never looked like girls in magazines, and I never looked like these women I looked up to in media. That extended to every part of me—whether that was makeup, or my weight, or my body image, or my hair.
Anything I could scrutinize, I would scrutinize and I would find something wrong with everything about me. I think I’ve evolved a lot in that now I look in the mirror for the good things or I try to be conscious that when I look in the mirror, I’m looking for the good and not looking for the bad, or the things that I’ve been conditioned by society to see as bad.
How did your family/the media shape your views about hair?
The impact that media has on little girls is insane, but even more so I think the impact that it’s had on our mothers is unbelievable. Our mothers teach us the conditioning that they learned from the media and that can be so damaging.
I love all the women that raised me, but I also saw a pattern that they all were so focused on their appearance and so focused on trying to be enough and trying to earn their value in the world through superficial things in a way that men were never concerned about. I remember seeing that as a child and thinking I don’t want to be that way.
I went to a private Christian school as a kid and was raised very conservative. All the girls had to wear long dresses…and the boys got to wear pants. I remember being in kindergarten and realizing there is more focus on my body than a boy’s body and the message you send to little girls is that there is something inherently shameful about their bodies.
I know that I am enough. I know that my body is good...it’s not something I need to be ashamed of. There is nothing inherently wrong with my sexuality...and that was really hard for me because my conditioning growing up was the exact opposite.
What was your a-ha moment when it came to understanding and identifying society’s unrealistic beauty standards?
I don't think I had one aha moment...I think it was just little moments throughout my entire life where I was like, “that seems wrong and my brother is not worried about these things that I’m worried about”. It’s been my entire life that I’ve noticed these small things.
I remember doing a photoshoot when I was 8 years old just for fun because my friend’s dad was a photographer. I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and they photoshopped over a corner of my stomach that was showing (about 3 inches of my stomach). I just remembered feeling like there was something wrong with my tummy.
In middle school the focus was always on curves…that’s what made me cool or uncool, or the time I was told I couldn’t sing onstage at church because my body was (deemed) a distraction. My entire life has been defined by my curves in a way that men (or their worth) would never be defined.
What makes you feel confident?
I feel incredibly confident when I'm not asking for permission or validation from people to do what I know I want to do. I think women constantly are taught to doubt themselves and question their intuition and their decisions and ask for permission to do the things they feel called to do.
When I stopped asking (for validation) and started trusting my inner compass, my confidence really changed. I started to carry myself differently. I started to know my worth in a different way and I started to dress how I wanted to dress. Fashion has a lot to do with my confidence.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love that it’s mine...that it’s a form of freedom for me...that I can do whatever I want with it. I can make it any color that I want, I can do any style that I want...it belongs to me. I think there’s a big lack of women feeling like our bodies belong to us. I love that my hair belongs to me.
Which is your favorite L’ange product? What do you love most about it?
Déjà Vu Dry Shampoo because washing my hair (which is so thick), it takes a while. I love that I can be on the go and use the dry shampoo and the Le Vite and look amazing like I didn't just roll out of bed.
How do you express your individuality through your hair?
I never put limits on what I do with my hair, so if I'm trying to express myself...and how weird I am, I will change color. I play with wigs a lot—I wear wigs all the time so I can keep my blonde but feel like a redhead one day. I found that that’s really empowering for me just to be able to change up my look however I want depending on my mood.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received about your hair?
I feel really complimented when girls on the street stop me (especially teenage girls)—and they’ll say, I love your hair. It usually happens when I have a crazy color. It just reminds me that by me being free and being my most authentic self, that they feel that and it impacts them. It makes me hope that they’ll be able to feel more free with their hair (and who they are) too.
What is a negative remark about your hair that’s stuck with you to this day?
If I say anything negative, (I think) it just sounds stupid. I don't think I have much of a right to complain about hair negativity as a white girl. I feel like women of color suffer for their hair in a way that I will never understand.
What would you like to share with the next generation that you wish you had known growing up?
There’s so much I want to say—it's why I write music. The key stuff would be…you are enough, exactly as you are. You don’t need to change anything about yourself, even if your community thinks you’re insane, even if everyone doubts you, doubts your dreams, your expression. Who you are is enough.
Don't conform to please people. People are crazy. They don’t deserve that from you. Don’t let anyone convince you to be unkind to yourself. I think media teaches us to be cruel to ourselves, and I would hope that’s changing. Don't give anything or anyone the power to have that negative voice in your mind.
Watch the video here.