Fashion + magazines + modeling = a very excited Emily.

I recently had the opportunity to do a photo shoot for the fashion section of VIP Wichita. Being able to work with local photographer Kacy Meinecke and Wichita icon Bonnie Bing was a delight.

The photos can be found in the February issue of VIP Wichita:

An Alabama Adventure

I recently returned home from visiting my best friend Allanah in Alabama, a state I had not previously visited.

Highlights from the two weeks I spent there include:

  1. Seeing Allanah & her family (obviously)

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    sunset at Mobile Bay

  2. Attending the Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores
  3. Going to Pensacola Beach
  4. Weekend in New Orleans
  5. Coffee, acai bowls & art


Pink pepper spray

A few weeks ago I walked into a store with my dad on a mission: to purchase pepper spray. This was a general safety precaution that I had meant to do for a while.

We asked an employee to help us locate the section where it would be. On the way there, he turned and asked me, with assumption in his voice, if it was for me. I said yes. Then, he turned to my dad asking if it was some sort of graduation gift or college gift.

A moment later (I think he could sense my annoyance) the employee asked something along the lines of “I can’t joke around?” I said no.

The red flags were flying high.

First, there is a problem when it is assumed that pepper spray is to be purchased for girls my age. Second, a gift? And third, it is an issue when viewed as something to joke about.

We reached our destination and my annoyance continued when I saw that half of the section was pink. For a moment I guess I had forgotten that I only know how to use things if they are pink. (You know, because I am a girl after all). 

A number of the pink sprays were in packaging that displayed a photo of a woman. Some were even specifically marketed for women on college campuses.

As girls, we grow up with people telling us to be careful, because we are girls. We buy the pepper spray or the cat ears to put on our key rings. We have our phone in our hand when walking at night, just in case. We are told to watch our drinks. We are reminded to stay together and to not leave our friend alone at a party, club or bar.

I can hear echoes of numerous catcalls I have received while walking outside or exercising. But I cannot fathom what some girls have experienced – I shudder at the thought. 

Yes, we should take safety measures and be aware of our surroundings. Yes, we should look out for each other.

But what if more parents taught young boys, and all children, that girls are humans who should not be taken advantage of or looked down on? That clothes do not give consent and that girls are not walking in public to be eyed down or catcalled. That yes is the only thing equivalent to yes.

Is this not equally as important? Wouldn’t it be easier to start at the root of the problem?

If as much time was spent teaching this as it is teaching girls to be careful, maybe girls would not spend their lives in fear of forgetting to be careful.

Maybe girls would not receive pepper spray as a graduation gift; maybe we wouldn’t need so much pink pepper spray.

Why I support Free the Nipple

One of my best talents in life is procrastinating. I learned this in the sixth grade when teachers ruthlessly assigned homework that made me be creative. Gross.

So now, instead of working on homework, I would like to explain why I stand with the Free the Nipple movement.

The name “Free the Nipple” might have shocked or surprised a few people reading this. You know, the ones who don’t have nipples. But that is the point. The name is a blunt attention grabber that triggers an immediate emotion.

In a nutshell, the literal purpose of the name and the movement is to allow women the freedom to expose their nipples the same way that a man can. Because, after all, it is okay for a man to go topless when mowing the yard, at the pool, at the beach etc., but women are often shamed for breastfeeding in public places. Breastfeeding.

The FTN website states, “Today, in the USA it is effectively ILLEGAL for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, an exposed nipple can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines. Even in New York City, which legalized public toplessness in 1992, the NYPD continues to arrest women.”

Female nipples are banned from social media, while male nipples are free to flood your insta feed. But why are nipples treated differently based on gender when the anatomy is the same? Because female nipples have been over sexualized.

Now, I’m not saying that I think everyone needs to be walking around topless at all times. And I definitely don’t believe that nipples are the most pressing issue when it comes to gender inequality. However, I do believe that women should have the same rights as men when it comes to exposing their bodies.

The movement is not solely about nipples. FTN goes to show that gender inequality is prevalent. Lina Esco’s film, Free the Nipple, was released in 2014. Now the campaign has taken to social media, striving to uncover and fight for a world of gender equality.

Two nipples at a time.


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photo by: Vanessa Jimenez



15 Things I Learned in 2015

  1. Traveling is important. Travel as much as you can, as often as you can. Explore the places you’ve always wanted to go. Discover new places. Find your adventure.
  2. Set yourself free. Go for a jog, sleep in, get that tattoo or piercing you’ve been thinking about, chop your hair off, take a spontaneous road trip. Do what you need to do to set yourself free.
  3. When you start treating Monday morning more like a new beginning rather than a burden, Monday will start to seem more like a new beginning rather than a burden.
  4. Embrace opportunity. Even when it terrifies you. Take any opportunity you can to grow as a human.
  5. The people who stand up for you in your absence are the only people you need in your presence. It is crucial to surround yourself with people who build you up and want you to succeed.
  6. There comes a time when you need to value yourself enough to walk away from those who do not value you.
  7. It is okay to not have everything figured out.
  8. Smile and say hi to strangers.
  9. When you think a compliment in your head, say it out loud. No one loses when a compliment is given.
  10. Everyone giving you the stink eye for taking a selfie in public has taken a selfie. Don’t mind them. Take your selfie. Embrace that good lighting. You look nice in it.
  11. Enjoy the little things. Like oversized sweatshirts and fuzzy socks and when your cat wants to cuddle. Or the sound of snow falling in the silence of the night. The little things matter, don’t overlook them.
  12. Inevitably, you are going to get hurt in life. And you don’t have much of a say in how or why or when. But you do have a say in who hurts you.
  13. To continue, people who you never imagined would hurt you, might break your heart to the point where it literally hurts. And sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.
  14.  Be brave enough to stand up for what you believe in.
  15. “If you cannot find the sunshine, be the sunshine”

Thank you to those who have helped me grow in 2015, have a safe and happy new year. xo

Reflections on Austin

Lorde drowns out the brutal ride from Texas to Kansas as I gaze at a dreary Oklahoma sky from the window of a cold school van, reflecting on our trip.
I was offered the opportunity to attend the National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas. After going to a similar conference each year of high school, I was excited for the chance to attend at the college level.

Combining two of my passions, travel and journalism, I obviously did not pass up the experience. I am always thankful for the opportunity to grow and learn.

The trip taught me a number of things.

First, Austin is weird. I’m not sure that it is exactly my taste, but I loved the experience. I believe in finding the positives in every situation, and being able to pull favorite aspects from every place I visit. One thing I loved about downtown Austin was the murals on the sides of buildings.
Second, journalism is incredible. Out of all of the conventions I have been to, I think this one really helped reassure me of my love for journalism. I am passionate about telling people’s stories, and hope to never stop growing in my ability to do so.

Third, I am so thankful for connections I have made with other people, who also happen to be journalists. During the trip I ran into (almost literally) my high school yearbook adviser of three years, Mr. Glasscock. I was also able to meet up with my friend, Austin Tedrow, who is currently attending Cowley Community College. In addition, I had the best roomie ever: Jaycie Wunder. She is one of the greatest people I have met during college. I am happy to know her, and happy to have held her sweaty hand while she got a tattoo of a cat one night on 6th street.



Why Girl Power is Important

With trending topics such as girl squads (Taylor Swift’s for example) and #GirlBoss I have come to a realization: it is a powerful thing for girls to support other girls.

Growing up, it always seemed that jealously was a trait that a number of girls couldn’t escape. As girls, we’ve practically all looked at another girl and yearned to be like her in some way. We’ve wanted her flawless skin or perfect body. We’ve been envious of aspects of her life that could have been her insecurity. And even if we hate to admit it, at some point many of us have used jealousy as a reason to automatically dislike someone.

But what if instead, we took that energy and turned it into something positive? What if we turned jealous thoughts into compliments and worked to empower each other?

Not long ago I read this quote and fell in love with it immediately:

“You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building each other up, instead of tearing each other down.”

By learning to empower and inspire one another, we can grow so much.

Two Shows, One Saturday

Saturday October 10: busy.

1:00 p.m. – Report backstage at The Holiday Galleria, a Junior League of Wichita event taking place in the Expo Hall at Century II.

2:00 p.m. – Showtime. Model three looks for Apricot Lane: casual, sporty and formal. Everything went smoothly.

2:45 p.m. – Done and looking for my car that I conveniently parked far away without taking a mental note as to where I left it.

backstage at the Holiday Galleria – clothes from Apricot Lane

3:00 p.m. (roughly) – Join the dress rehearsal at The Cotillion (which started at 2) for the ArtAID show. ArtAID benefits Positive Directions and proceeds help people living with HIV/AIDS. The dress I’m modeling has been shortened and I am now wearing two pairs of underwear for safe measures. Roll with the punches.

4:00 p.m. – Hair and makeup begins. One room is flooded with models getting their hair done by stylists from ABLS Paul Mitchell salon. Boys are also being sprayed with glitter. The makeup room is filled with MAC geniuses. My hair is voluminous and detailed with tiny crimps, and my whole face is shiny. Everyone is beginning to look fabulous.

6:15 p.m. – Get back into my awesome black dress accented with white paper plates, which was created by Liley. Return to the hair room for touch ups and a paper plate beret.

…and the waiting game begins…

7:00 p.m. – Doors to the event open and the live auction starts shortly after.

Models backstage are garnished in outfits crafted out things ranging from newspapers to barbie doll heads. I have now been advised to wear Spanx over my two pairs of underwear. The carpet is covered in gold glitter. Everyone backstage sings happy birthday to one of the dancers and cake is being passed around. Our hair is big and our excitement is bigger.

9:00(ish) p.m. – The show begins. It includes singing, dancing and fashion.

I walk in scene two. Despite safety measures I am positive the audience saw 100% of my cellulite and part of my butt. Honestly, it’s okay. The energy of the entire show was amazing. The crowd was constantly cheering and everyone backstage was awesome. Any show that can make you feel okay about one of your biggest insecurities (cellulite) while walking on an elevated runway is one that is completely worthwhile in my opinion.

The entire show ends everyone who participated taking a final perimeter around the runway then clapping and dancing on stage.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of both events I participated in yesterday. Thanks Alleigh Allen (owner of Models & Images) for believing in my ability to be in both shows in the same day. xo

hair & makeup for ArtAID

casual backstage photo

poor quality photo – high quality girl

Sunset Session

Just over a month ago I did a photo shoot with the lovely Chelsea Taylor. She had a vision of a bohemian inspired sunset shoot in a milo field. We made it happen.

I love her spirit and style. I am so happy we were able to combine our passions and collaborate on this project.

Here are a few of my favorite photos:

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makeup by: Arin Munoz

photos by: Chelsea Taylor

Fall Fashion with Bonnie Bing

Bonnie Bing is an incredible role model. She is kind, witty and creative. She knows fashion and she knows how to write about it.

As an aspiring fashion journalist, I am always excited for an opportunity to work with Bonnie. I didn’t have to think twice when asked to book a modeling job for the fall fashion section of The Wichita Eagle.

See her article here:

fall fashion 2

fall fashion

Photos by: Fernando Salazar