Staff Writer Édaein O’ Connell sat down with model and style maven Emma Louise Connolly to chat all things fashion, Instagram and Barry’s Tea related…
I never truly understood the emotional depths of the term ‘fangirl’ until I met model, fashion blogger and soon-to-be designer Emma Louise Connolly.
I had followed and fawned over her Instagram for a while. Her fashion sense is continually ‘on point’ and her Instastories conveyed her as a genuinely nice person. Hailing from Scotland, she didn’t seem to take herself too seriously on an app that often makes the world take itself too seriously.
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When I met her on a miserable and wet Dublin day, I had prepared myself for the usual to-and-fro interview scenario. A journalistic impulse is to not expect anything too spectacular from these types of situations because we are all human and it’s not easy being bright and cheery every hour of the day.
However, when I walked into the room it was like meeting an old friend. Instantly warm and gratuitous, she greeted me with a hug and smile and complimented my Kerry (bogger) accent. Just like her Instagram, she wore her style with confidence. It was a white wrap faux-leather jacket with black pants and white cowboy boots – and I wanted the entire outfit. Subsequently, my fangirl reflex kicked in.
Emma Louise was in town for the launch of the new Magnum White Chocolate and Cookie flavour ice-cream. #NeverStopPlaying is the accompanying tagline and it’s not hard to see why she was chosen.
The wet weather couldn’t quench the naturally bright and cheery nature of the model. “The hashtag itself pretty much says why it’s a great partnership for me,” she says. “I think playfulness and having fun is such a big part of my life and part of the ethos of me. I love having a laugh”.
When I told my colleagues I was interviewing Emma, all they wanted to know was how they could dress like her. So how would she describe her style? Well, you’d be surprised. “I always say lazy and put together because there’s a lot you don’t see on Instagram. But, I think fashion is fun and it’s a fun outlet for me”.
Fashion was always a major part of her life, having studied fashion design in college prior to her career in modelling. “It’s just something that I was a magnet towards for a very long time,” she explains.
This background has helped with Emma’s current endeavours with clothing brand Nasty Gal; with whom she has collaborated with on a number of collections so far. Next, she’ll be designing for the brand with its release due in the next few months.
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How did the modelling come about, I wondered. “I kind of fell into it,” Emma says. “I just started doing it and did a shoot with Doll’s Boutique. Then I was working for Boohoo and that was about 10 years ago, when there was like five people working there.
“All of the girls I worked with there at the time are my friends now. At the time, there were only five models who worked there for three days a week for nearly three years. They became my colleagues”.
The pressure of being ‘on’
Emma says her job has given her some amazing opportunities to travel and experience things she may not have done otherwise. “I’m so very lucky and very fortunate that I love what I do and it never feels like work; and now, I’m eating ice-cream for it. It doesn’t feel like real life, I told my mum about it and she was like, ‘are you joking!?'”
Both Emma and her fiancé Oliver Proudlock (of Made in Chelsea fame) have a significant following on social media; with 371, 000 and 722,000 Instagram followers respectively. The couple recently bought and renovated a house and documented the journey in a YouTube series called ‘From Crib to Casa’. I asked if they ever feel the pressure of constantly having to be ‘on’.
“We’re never on. A friend of mine actually said to me recently, ‘you’re always on Instagram and putting yourself online’. And I was like, ‘am I?’ Because, if I’m anywhere I’m never on my phone. I could easily not look at my phone for a good few hours.
“Now with the house going on and so much exciting stuff happening, I want to share it with people because they’ve been through this journey with me, so I might be on it a little more,” she says.
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Privacy is important to her, as is her relationship saying: “We’re actually quite private people if you would believe it. It’s something that is important to me and to him. Our relationship is the most important thing in my life and it’s a priority for us to have our time together.”
These days social media equates to online negativity and although Emma doesn’t face much of it herself she has some sound advice. “Of course it’s horrible to read not nice comments, we’re only human. I think it’s important to take a step back and say this is the career I’m in and people can see everything but I’m a human being but I can’t be perfect all the time.”
She also has some solid advice for those who want to pursue a career similar to hers saying: “It’s hard. I was told ‘no’ for eight years. If you want it you have to be persistent and true to yourself and be kind to yourself and allow yourself to fail and pick yourself up. Learn from stuff that went wrong, don’t let it define you as a person.”
And what advice would she give 16-year-old Emma? “This too shall pass and you will get through it. Enjoy every moment, have fun, be kind to yourself, work hard, be honest and be a good person.” As I leave, Emma is enjoying her fifth cup of Barry’s Tea which she has discovered a new found grá for. All the while, I walk out the door with a delicious ice-cream and a bigger girl crush than before.
Photo: Emma Louise Connolly, Magnum
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