emma howard is the latest teen dream to light up your screen

The star of Sofia Coppola’s latest film gets real about beauty, body types and the power of being a woman.

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Jun 28 2017, 8:40am

Sweet sixteen, Emma Howard has already shared a screen with Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst, was part of the original Broadway line-up for the Tony Award winning musical Matilda, and even bagged a role on Jill Soloway's ground-breaking series, Transparent. In fact, the LA native was just 12 years old when she made her acting debut; feel old yet?

A star in the making, she sings, she acts, and she dances, but she's also fiercely intelligent, has a big heart and is very down to earth. "Acting was always my passion, but I never really understood the responsibilities actors have to spread awareness about things until recently," she explained to i-D. "More than anything I want to open the minds of my audience and be an advocate for people's untold stories."

Currently starring in Sofia Coppola's dreamy re-interpretation of the 1971 Southern gothic film The Beguiled, Emma plays the part of Emily, one of Miss Martha Farnsworth's pretty young students, who like her peers becomes infatuated with an injured soldier (played by the equally dreamy Colin Farrell) who seeks refuge from the American Civil War in their Mississippi boarding school.

"I love this character because she maintains the seriousness it takes to be a Southern lady living in such harsh times," Emma reflects, "but she also has this flirty flair to her that I find really fun." Away from the bright lights and big screen, Emma is currently focusing on completing her junior year at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. In between classes, we caught up with the teen dream screen queen and this is what we learnt.

She always dreamed of being an actress…
"I can't remember a time in my life when I wanted to be anything else. Honestly, I suck at so many things that it was never an option to be anything but an actress in the first place. But in all seriousness, I am so grateful to have found my passion at such a young age."

Which is why she's a bit of a perfectionist…
"I'm a perfectionist in general, but it's even worse when I'm acting. I love the idea of filming a scene several times because I have more opportunity to explore and take risks."

She learnt how to graft through her background in theatre…

"Anyone who has participated in musical theatre knows that it takes blood, sweat and tears to make it. Some of the hardest working people I know, are people who have experience in theatre. The long hours, the rehearsals, the put-ins, the warm ups two hours before the show, the list goes on and on. I think being in that field for such a long time in my life really shaped me, it made me as driven and hardworking as I am today."

When it comes to things she cares about, she's not afraid to speak her mind…
"Diversity in casting and storytelling is very close to my heart. Especially body diversity. All the pretty girl type roles go to people of a certain body type. I had eating disorders when I was younger, so it's super important for me expand what we think of as beautiful. There are many other improvements that can be made in diversity in casting but, this one hits really close to home. I believe the topic of diversity isn't discussed enough because most people are scared of things they don't know but, it's important to teach people to have and open mind."

Right now she's all about flying the flag for female empowerment….
"I am so proud to be a woman in 2017. I see so many amazing women who inspire me daily and I can't help but feel so empowered. There are things that need to be changed when it comes to objectifying women, taking away women's rights to do what they want with their bodies, wage inequality, etc. We need to fight and stand up for women's equality."

Text Tish Weinstock

Credits


Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Grace Pickering