EXCLUSIVE! Emma Brooks is a fashion icon in the making

When you think "passion for fashion," you probs picture a sketchbook full of trendy designs, a rack overflowing with gorg clothes or a star-studded runway in NYC where everyone's donning couture. And let's be clear: That's certainly a major part of model/actress/influencer/designer Emma Brooks' life.

But the NYFW soirées and professional photo ops weren't always Emma's reality. Growing up in South Louisiana, she found ways to express her love of style right at home. "When I started shooting, I was doing fake wedding shoots...senior portraits...shooting for a local boutique at 14," she says. "And once I turned 16 and I had a car, I was driving all over Louisiana to shoot for an entire day just for fun."

Fast forward to now, and Emma's passions (yes, for fashion, but also for So. Much. More.) have given way to an amaze social media career, where she not only flaunts her off-duty-model aesthetic but also uses her platform to raise awareness for mental health struggles.

She walked us through her journey from IRL pageant queen (or, shall we say, Miss Louisiana Teen USA 2019) to all-out Internet inspiration. 

Girls' Life: How did you get your start on social media?

Emma Brooks: I was in the pageant world, which led me to getting a fashion internship in L.A. I thought I would follow the more "traditional route," but then around early 2021, I was posting videos just for fun on Instagram. I started gaining an audience unintentionally. It honestly happened very organically. I fell into that space and went with it. 

GL: Was there a specific moment when you felt like you "made it?" 

Emma: One of my first campaigns was with Paul Mitchell, a brand I had worked with for years. I had my first Times Square billboard with them. Seeing that for the first time—my name and my likeness just, like, in the middle of Times Square—was probably one of the most surreal moments.

GL: As you started gaining more followers and fame, how did you deal with insecurity?

Emma: When I started posting on social media, I was really insecure. I had a lot of anxiety that I might come off as cringey to people. But honestly, my work was what kept me going on the right path, rather than just giving up.

GL: To you, why is it important to speak openly about mental health issues?

Emma: It is hard, but with emotions, you can’t just turn them off or be like, Okay, I’m not sad anymore. Okay, I’m motivated now. It's about taking those baby steps every day, even if you can’t do everything you want to do. If you accomplish one thing at a time, give yourself grace and pat yourself on the back every so often. It’ll all come together in the end.

GL: Can you describe your personal style?

Emma: I have very different sides to my style. I can dress very girly, but one direction that I’m going in these days is dressing more masculine. I love adding that femininity into it as well and playing around with proportions. For me, accessorizing is also key to that balance. I love lots of jewelry.

GL: If you could share any message with the young girls who look up to you, what would you say?

Emma: It can be confusing growing up and being a woman. All you can do is keep striving for what fulfills you. To be proud of who you are, stay strong and find your strength in whatever makes you happy.


✨ A few fast faves with Emma Brooks ✨

Her three wardrobe essentials: "Black pointed-toe boots forever, plus a good-fitting pair of dark denim and a leather jacket."

Her top recent read: "I’m about to be done with this book called Lore that’s a mythological fantasy. Love that book so much."

Her coolest fashion show experience: "Last September, at the Dolce show, Naomi Campbell walked out, and the entire room just gasped. And that never happens because everyone is usually silent during shows. She owned the floor, and it was really cool to be like, Oh, I was there to see that!"

Her dream movie role: "There’s a side of me that would love to do a fantasy film, because I love fantasy books, and they’re having such a moment. Honestly, any fiction adaptation would be really fun."

Her latest fave trend: "The emphasis now on '90s-inspired messy, edgy, crazier makeup. I like that look, and I love that it’s being celebrated more, because the clean girl aesthetic is kind of unrealistic most of the time."

Follow Emma on IG here

Parts of this interview have been edited or condensed for clarity. 
Top and slider image by Brad Alexander.


by Katherine Hammer and Madelon Basil | 5/30/2024