Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Howie.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Emily. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The outcome of your career is unexpected.
I always wanted to have a great story of being discovered on an exotic beach vacationing, or in a mall, but the reality was I wasn’t. I didn’t have an “I was discovered story,” I discovered myself. I always loved to make people laugh, and I had a very outgoing personality as a child, but my teen years were tough, and I retreated into a bubble. Over 15 years ago, I fell into modeling as an insecure teen wanting an outlet to express myself. All I wanted to do was be on the cover of Vogue, and I was determined to prove to everyone around me that I would make it. I’ll never forget reading a fashion magazine and being told by people close to me “these are models, and you’re just a regular girl.” I think for many years that just stayed with me.
Even so, I pushed through and had some headshots taken with my half plucked eyebrows (the 90s) bleached hair and of course got rejected from every modeling agency. I used the rejection to fuel me. It made me want to know why and how I can be accepted by this industry. So I studied the industry, the modeling boards, photographers and tried to absorb as much as I could. I loved it. I learned as much as I could and hundreds of test shoots later, I got signed! The key, I found, is embracing the( natural you), having a balance in your book of studio images and editorials and showing your own “personal story” throughout your book. This would be my advice. Don’t make a cookie-cutter portfolio.
I realized modeling was a lot more personal to me than I thought. It was a way to tell my story through images. This is where I decided to “design my career”. I did the producing and creating, and made my own shoots and organized editorial teams. I didn’t care if I was told I was not tall enough, not editorial enough, or not fashion enough. I made it work and did the work on my own to show I could be. If you’re a new model, tell your story, show who you are, and have your personality shine through your portfolio!
I came to a crossroads in my career. I felt I was stuck.Then I read the book, “Who moved my cheese,” by Spencer Johnson. This book changed my life. I didn’t see it at the time, but now I do. One of my prior agents sent me to an acting commercial audition. I had no experience and thought, “ok, I’ll just go anyway and see.” I then proceeded to book it. I was totally surprised. After booking several commercials, I realized I should maybe think about pursuing acting and studying it. For eight years, I did commercial acting. I wanted to try to sign for tv and film, but I was having an impossible time finding representation .It was starting to feel like Deja-vu. I applied to many managers and agents and I never heard back from anyone. Then my luck changed. My friend called me. She told me I should try to do showroom modeling in the meantime. She told me her agent was great and I can do showroom while still looking for acting agents. So I decided why not, I’ll give it a try. I walked into a modeling agency to be a showroom model, even though my heart was in acting, I just decided to take a step in this direction since the door opened. Well, I didn’t have the measurements for showroom modeling, I’m like an upside down eggplant, but I was surprised with my outcome. Little did I know that I would walk out that day instead, with an acting contract! The wonderful woman I met with was(ALSO) an acting manager for film and tv! I was blown away.
I think it’s important to always take small steps in a direction. The key to a successful career is persistence. Go with your gut. Don’t give up. Adapt when a door is closing, and be open to what new possibility is in front of you, even if at first it doesn’t make sense, just trust it! Redirect the feelings of rejection into something positive, and celebrate small goals!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, the road was definitely not smooth. I had many hurdles along the way. I think anyone in any field experiences rejection and challenges along the way. In the entertainment industry, it’s just more of a daily thing. I think it’s important to know it’s only temporary and you can always change your outcome, and eventually you will have success. There was a point in my life where I lived briefly in a women’s shelter. I always felt embarrassed to share that. I didn’t want to have people focus on this part of my past. What I realized today, was that one obstacle gave me the strength and determination to go after my dreams,and not give up.
I think it’s important though to know, models and actors don’t always have a glamorous path that seems portrayed. If you’re sitting there considering pursuing your dreams and feeling like you can’t make it. Trust me you can. Pull yourself up, set some goals, and just go out and get them.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I learned over the years that there’s a big difference between interests, hobbies, and career. Wow if only I knew that in my younger years. I had no idea what I wanted to do, partially because my interests were so vast, it was so confusing! All I knew was I loved learning, and I was fascinated with humanity.
Who I am : I’m a Single mom. Motherhood is everything to me. I feel so blessed to be a mom. It’s what inspires me every day.
What I do is I am an aspiring stop motion puppeteer (hobby), a screenwriter and actor (interest & career) and “sometimes” art director (meaningful projects)
I am currently in college finishing with my degree in Business.
Things I’m working on : Tech- “Sproutifly” – it’s a mobile application game I’m developing for kids in nutrition education. It’s a project that I hope to integrate in schools, and at home to help with better nutrition choices.
I’ve written my first screenplay“Sunnyside,” it’s been a work in progress for about two years, but I am currently working on production of this project. Please follow our Instagram page : @sunnysidemovie.
I am an actor signed to my truly wonderful agency, Malissa Young Mgmt in NY/LA. It still feels surreal,to me. I’m forever grateful to my wonderful agent, Malissa. They are family.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I used to think if I started over I would have avoided modeling completely and just studied acting as a child. I however, feel my life became my teacher and my acting school, and it gave me so much material to draw from. I wouldn’t change anything about my journey. It’s what made me who I am.. I study acting now for the craft but the story was my journey here. I hope to use my career to help others see their stories.
Photographer: Jena Cumbo @jenacumbo, Makeup artist: Zuleika Viera @zuleikavieramua, Makeup assistant:Nicole Cabrera @nicolecabreramua, Hair: Alexandria Hiers @alexandriahiers, E Village Vintage Collective @evvintagecollective www.eastvillagevintagecollective.com, White blouse: @oakandfort, Agent: @malissayoungmgmt
Felix z designs @felixzdesigns