I met Emma a while ago, and she’s definitely the kind of person you should know! She’s kind, very outgoing, and loves musicals (we both have Hamilton on our bucket list). We talked about her identity as an English ex-pat, her passion for baking, and her surprise headline in USA Today. Look out for her in the community; she’s super involved. Read more about her in this following interview.
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Jackie: What brought you to DC?
Emma: I came here for college at American University, and have stuck around since then. 18-year-old me was ready to get out of South Florida’s suburbs. I now can’t stress how much I miss the beach!
Jackie: What do you do, both in your professional and personal lives?
Emma: The D.C. question! Work: public relations. Personal: I love to write; I have a side photography freelance gig. I could spend all day in a modern art museum and all night bouncing between D.C.’s amazing theater selection and/or the district’s many Jewish events. I’m practicing taking relaxing time. If not at yoga or the gym (which I count as extroverted relaxing time), I’m likely figuring out how to make healthy muffins that are actually tasty, or I’m daydreaming about whatever next trip to take (read: some international destination).
Jackie: You were born in England and so both of your parents are English. Do you ever get to go back?
Emma: I was born in London, then moved to France and California before ending up in Florida. French was my first language, English with a beautiful British accent was my second, and some version of American with some weird British remnants was my third. I call it my identity crisis. I have gone back to London several time: as a child to get my green card and in the years since to visit my grandparents. It’s funny to have such deep family roots in a country that I grew up so far away from. Yet, given the home and culture in which I grew up, I definitely maintain a connection to that identity.
Jackie: I heard you were published on the front cover of USA Today when you were in college. Do you mind telling us why?
Emma: I spent a year writing for USA Today while in college, first as a collegiate correspondent and then as a reporting intern. My first article assigned as an intern was on minimum wage hikes. The topic was dry and the content was so nuanced. I struggled writing the piece. The article finally got approved by editorial that Monday. I was sitting in my college reporting class the following Tuesday, my off day from my internship, when I got a text. “Grab a newspaper”, my co-intern sent. My article had made front cover of the national and international editions of the USA Today print publication. This was all while I, clad in gym clothes, trudged through my college classes before heading to my afternoon babysitting job.
Jackie: We also know you like Broadway musicals, and you know all the lyrics to Rent. What song is your favorite?
Emma: OMG yes. I fan-girled HARD when I met Anthony Rapp (original Broadway cast for Mark, one of Rent‘s main characters) at stage-door of If/Then two years ago.
I have two favorites: “Another Day” off the movie soundtrack—so much of Rent’s central theme focuses appreciating the moment to squeeze the love and joy out of our daily lives. “Another Day” captures all of that, while blending the tension of the characters’ emotions into a deeply poetic and moving song. My second favorite is the Original Broadway Cast musical version of “Christmas Bells”. It’s such a fun song that mixes so many storylines into one.
Jackie: What other musicals do you like?
If/Then and Bright Star have such fantastic music. Les Miserables is a classic. Hamilton is on the Broadway bucket list.
Jackie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Shabbat. I know it’s not a one-off holiday, but I grew up in a family that did Shabbat dinner each Friday, and it’s a tradition I’ve since continued. I think any excuse to bring people around a table to enjoy in each other’s company is truly special. Shabbat, for me, is just that.
Jackie: Fill in this sentence. When the Jews Gather…
…we add another knot to the thread connecting us all through the generations.