Emma Brooks has already had her full circle moment. After being crowned Miss Louisiana Teen USA in 2019, her modeling career took off and she began working for designers like Sherri Hill. And come New York Fashion Week this year, Brooks hit the runway for Sherri Hill’s Spring Summer 2022 show.
Achieving this special milestone has only charged Brooks’ drive. Since 2022 began, Brooks has designed her own swimsuit line with Blackbough swim and become a global ambassador for Paul Mitchell Clean Beauty. She’s also worked with major brands like Coach, Aeropostale, Revolve and Savage x Fenty, among others. All the while, she’s maintained a loyal social media following of over 5 million people.
As Brooks wraps up a successful 2022, she took some time to reflect on her major moments, the importance of authenticity online and future ambitions.
You were a competitive dancer for six years. As you’ve gone on to modeling and building a career, is there anything from your time as a dancer that you still carry with you?
One of the lessons that has stuck with me the most since my time as a dancer is how to work as a team. I would not be able to be where I am right now without the help from all of the amazing people on my team, and even the people who are on set and work behind the scenes. It is important to be able to lift others up.
This year you released your collaboration with Blackbough Swim. We’d love to hear about your creative process! What was it like executing your vision?
I was so excited to work on a collection with Blackbough. The quality of the swimsuits are so well made and 80% of it is recycled material. I got a lot of the inspo for what I wanted from the set of nails I did for Coachella, actually. I had a ‘70s retro wallpaper vibe going on and I really wanted to match that in this collection. So it was inspired by flowers, paisley patterns and hypnotic lava lamp patterns. It was a lot of fun creating this collection just because I was truly able to watch a vision come to life. The end result turned out exactly as I originally imagined.
Do you have plans to continue designing?
I really love collaborating with brands that I truly believe in, curating collections, designing pieces. It has helped me tap into my passion for clothes and fashion more. Someday I'd love to expand into ready to wear or even couture.
When your following on social media first started taking off, what was it like deciding to be open about your mental health journey?
My openness with mental health actually started when I was doing pageants. Every girl is supposed to have a subject (platform) that they have a personal connection to and are passionate about. For me it was mental health. I started handling my own mental health when I was 12. That's when I was first diagnosed with depression. Later, I started being more open about it and I became a huge advocate for mental health awareness. When I moved to Los Angeles, I continued posting about it, so anyone who follows me has seen me talk about it from the very beginning.
Why is it important for content creators to be authentic on social media?
I believe it is very important that creators remain authentic to themselves. A lot of the up and coming creators are young and are figuring out who they are as people. It’s not fair to them and especially their followers to pretend they are something they are not. We are in a place where normalizing the harsh realities of life is very important. It is important to shed light on those realities and support the people who experience them. There is always an appropriate way to approach this because every situation is circumstantial. It all varies and of course boundaries are important, but that doesn’t mean someone should pretend to be someone they are not.
You made your acting debut in June in Grace Gaustad’s “Everybody’s Friend” music video. How did the experience impact your ambitions around acting?
For me, acting has always been something I wanted to do because I felt it went hand in hand with modeling. It was important to me to explore both. Filming Grace's music video was my first time trying acting. Prior to that shoot, I had been waiting around, procrastinating and trying to figure out the best way to jump into the film industry. I was admittedly a little nervous and I didn't know where to start. Then we shot the music video and it really motivated me to actually get started. I genuinely enjoyed being on set and expressing myself, but I wasn’t that great and it made me want to get better before my next acting project. I found my acting coach and now I'm taking my time to learn the craft and honor the work that goes into being a great actress.
In 2019, you won Miss Louisiana Teen USA. In all that you’ve accomplished since then, what are you most proud of and why?
The past year has been really insane and I was able to work with one of my dream brands Paul Mitchell. I got my first billboard in Times Square with them, and that was such a surreal moment. I have been able to learn so much from them along the way about what sustainability means and how important it is. It was just overall an amazing experience and that moment is unforgettable.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
I just returned home after doing fashion month and that was such an insane experience that I had been working up to for the past six months. I am home now and finally able to pursue my acting goals. I have been attending classes for awhile and I am now able to really hone in on it and focus on the craft the way i’d like to. I am also in the process of developing a skincare line. I have become so passionate about skin care this past year due to my own acne struggles. Now, I am very lucky to be developing this new brand using patented technology that helps acne prone skin. We are aiming to release it next year, so stay tuned.
For the rest of the year I am working closely with brands such as Lancôme, Charlotte Tilbury, and Coach. Going into the new year I am also working with Amazon and Alo! It has been such an insane year and I am so excited for what’s to come!
Photography by: Bryce Glenn