Emma Chamberlain Opens Up About Her Style Evolution, Selective Social Circle and YouTube Future
May 11, 2021
Emma Chamberlain has broken barriers for social media stars since launching her YouTube channel in 2017 with her casual 12.7 million Instagram followers and counting. And in those four short years, has helped define a new era of influencer less conventional than its millennial seniors – showcasing raw, relatable and even at times, self-deprecating content that captivates cross-generational audiences.
The quirky and downright funny 19-year-old went from partaking in sponsored Coachella trips with a now-defunct shopping app, to embarking on elite trips to Paris Fashion Week with Louis Vuitton. Her BFF relationship with Derek Blasberg—the head of fashion and beauty partnerships at YouTube—is just a tip of the iceberg for the Gen Z icon. She even launched her own coffee company (naturally named Chamberlain Coffee), with its very own gigantic billboard stationed in a prime L.A. location. Chamberlain boasts 10 million YouTube followers (just a smidge under Kylie Jenner’s 10.6 million), she just put her West Hollywood pad on the market and became the Creative Director and Global Ambassador for Bad Habit beauty. And, after all this, she somehow still manages to give off an air of the goofy girl next door we all fell in love with years ago. It’s also been said that she single handedly brought back sweater vests, flared yoga pants and Ugg boots. And indeed, she deserves a thank you for that.
While sometimes it may seem like Chamberlain’s living the dream (and don’t get us wrong—she’s not complaining), she deals with the same growing pains as your average teenager. Case in point: the frustrating acne journey she’s put on display in her videos for the world to see. And like everyone else, she’s dealt with dating disappointment, admitting she’s “definitely struggled” in that department while living in L.A., but has had faith in “patience” and “finding that diamond in the rough.”
Like you, we wanted a deeper look into the anomalous social media standout, beyond what she shares online. We learn about Emma’s intimate social circle, her peaks and pitfalls of fame and so much more as we style the starlet in three varying looks and feature her as our latest Mane Muse.
She’s the Boss
Emma serves up serious boardroom game in this gender fluid Homme Girls suit and oozes cool thanks to effortlessly undone elements like an unbuttoned shirt and half up hair. Celebrity stylist Laura Polko breaks down how to recreate this sophisticated take on a 90’s half up ‘do.
Business Casual Half Up:
- Prep hair with Aquage Silkening Oil Treatment
- Blow it out with a medium-sized round brush and T3 Fit dryer
- Bellami Clip Ins to add a bit of fullness for the half up half down
- Leave the front pieces out and tie the hair up, taking a section from about an inch above the ear to the crown of the head on either side
- Use a Scunci clear elastic and finish off with Sun Bum Dry Texture Spray
Mane Addicts: How would you say you’ve changed most since your platform has grown, and how would you say you’ve most stayed the same?
Emma Chamberlain: I’ve matured more than I could have ever imagined. Having a platform comes with a huge responsibility, and through that I learned a lot of life lessons early. I’m extremely grateful for this though, the life experience and wisdom gained from having such a responsibility is such a blessing.
At the end of the day though, I still look at life through the same lens I did before fame. My core priorities are still the same. The health and happiness of myself and the people I love will always be my number one priority, and they always have been. I also don’t look at myself any differently. When I look in the mirror, I see the same person I did 10 years ago, before all of this crazy stuff began.
MA: Do you see yourself maintaining a presence on YouTube in the long run or do you think you’ll eventually burn out?
EC: I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I can imagine my content will evolve and change a lot as I grow up, but I would like to stay on the platform for as long as my passion for it remains. It’s where it all started for me, and it is such a light hearted and fun platform. I think the room for creative growth on Youtube is endless. My dad is 55 and makes youtube videos, I’ll probably end up doing that too.
Mane Addicts: Going off of that, how has your style changed/evolved since moving to L.A.?
EC: My style has changed A LOT since moving to LA. Ever since going to my first fashion show a few years ago, my love for fashion really blossomed. I’ve always had interest in fashion, but I didn’t truly get into it until I attended that show. LA is such a great place to get inspiration because there are so many types of people and so many events to attend. Over time, you start to figure out what your own style is based on what you do and don’t like on other people. Although my personal style is more fully formed now as a 19 year old, it’s still all over the place. I enjoy wearing a comfy outfit just as much as I like dressing up. My style is simply whatever I feel confident in at any given moment. I don’t like setting specific fashion “rules” for myself.
Mane Addicts: Talk to us about your social life outside of what we see on YouTube. Do you have a big group of friends? Small? What’s dating like in L.A. or is that not a priority for you at the moment?
EC: Over the last few years living in LA I truly realized how important good friends are, and how quality is much more important than quantity. I don’t have many close friends, only about 1 or 2, but that’s perfect for me. I like spending a lot of time alone, so I don’t need to have friends constantly around me. I am lucky to have a few friends that I only see once in a while. We may not be super close, but every time we find time to catch up it’s amazing. I love those types of friendships. When it comes to dating in LA, it’s NOT very fun. Finding genuine people in a big city is never easy, and dating a genuine person is crucial to me. I’ve definitely struggled while trying to date here, but with everything, patience is key. It’s all about finding that diamond in the rough. You find them eventually.
Mane Addicts: Paving the way for so many social media stars to follow, do you have any regrets during your public journey, or anything you’d do differently?
EC: I decided a long time ago to live without any regrets. Every mistake and awkward moment taught me something and made me who I am today. I have learned so much from every fluke, just as much as I have learned from all of the positive moments.
Mane Addicts: There’s an inherent competitive nature among social media personalities. Is there a way for people in your shoes to avoid online drama?
EC: I refuse to surround myself with anyone who takes the internet too seriously. I’ve been very selective with my friendships to avoid as much drama as possible. Life is way too short to compare likes and followers with your friends, seriously. My advice for other influencers would be to keep your circle small, and only spend time with people who have your best interest at heart. Surround yourself with people that are rooting for you. Surround yourself with people that make you want to be a better person. It’s not easy to find in the influencer world, and you may make a few bad friendships along the way, but it’s all a part of the journey.
Modern Day Media Mogul
For a look that screams LA influencer, Emma rocks a matching Red Valentino bubblegum pink number with Birks and sweet baby front braids to boot. Paving the way for summer’s most sought after trends – Emma shows off her beaded phone bracelet and Y2K inspired accessories. Laura Polko breaks down the hairstyling.
Baby Braids in 3 Steps
MA: You’ve expressed in the past that it’s sometimes uncomfortable to get dolled up (something you’ve had to do more of in recent years). How did it feel in that white jumpsuit you wore in our shoot?
EC: As I’m getting older I’m learning to enjoy all of the facets of my personality. I always felt uncomfortable by my “glamorous” side, but now I just have fun with it. The white jumpsuit was so different for me and I LOVED it. I love experimenting with fashion more now than I ever have, so it’s the perfect time to start whipping out the jumpsuits.
MA: Bad Habit and Chamberlain Coffee have both required you to take on entrepreneurial and delegation roles. Yet we imagine both brands have felt different to work on. Talk to us a bit about your responsibilities at each. What are the biggest feats and challenges to being involved with both, respectively?
EC: Chamberlain Coffee is like, my baby. I started Chamberlain Coffee from the ground up and have been a part of every decision since day 1. Building a brand from scratch is much more complex than I expected. Things don’t happen over night, the whole process requires much more thought and patience than I anticipated. As much as I wanted everything to be perfect on day one, that wasn’t realistic, and I had to learn to pace myself. It’s a slow but incredibly rewarding journey. Ever since rebranding the company last year, continuing to build Chamberlain Coffee has become even more fun. I’m so grateful for the Chamberlain Coffee team and the heart and soul they put into it as if it were their own.
Working with Bad Habit is more of a collaboration, I’m their global brand ambassador and creative director and I work heavily with their team to promote their products and brainstorm ideas. I fell in love with their products before the brand had even launched, and we decided we wanted to work together almost immediately. Working with Bad Habit has been a blast, but it has also been extremely educational. They have taught me a lot about skincare, while I teach them things about my generation and social media. Their approach matches my skincare philosophy to a T, and I love helping them with the creative side of things.
MA: Who would you most like to feature as a podcast guest?
EC: If I had to have a guest on, it would be my dad. We get along so well and he gives the BEST advice.
MA: What’s an uncovered podcast topic you plan to touch on in the future?
EC: Honestly, I wish I knew. I don’t plan my podcast at all. It’s all very spontaneous.
MA: Simply put, what’s the best part of fame and the worst? Do you have days when you’d like to go back to relative obscurity?
EC: The best part would have to be the connection I have with the people who follow me. Reading their comments about how I made them laugh or brightened their day reminds me why I truly love what I do. I talk to the camera like it’s my friend, and when people watch it, they are basically hanging out with me, which makes the bond even stronger. When I meet a viewer in person, it’s crazy how quickly we click. They know everything about me, and I feel comfortable around them because I know they understand me. It’s a beautiful thing that I wouldn’t trade for anything. For me, the hardest part about fame is finding balance between social media and real life. When you build your social media platforms and become famous, the pressure to post interesting content grows within yourself, and it can easily become an obsession. I have to remind myself to put my phone down sometimes, read a book, and reconnect with reality. It seems extreme but this is the world we live in now. The longer you stare at your phone, the more sucked in you become, and the more you start to believe that everything you are seeing is real. Balance is not easy to find with social media, but it’s crucial.
I refuse to surround myself with anyone who takes the internet too seriously. I’ve been very selective with my friendships to avoid as much drama as possible.
To balance out her Georges Hobeika sparkly jumpsuit and chunky jewels to match, Laura created a very simple look that’s no short on glam. More is more when it comes to this eye-catching look, “I have never worn something like this before in my life. I feel bad ass,” says Emma of this sleek number.
Cool Girl Cocktail Attire:
- Create a low pony that is tighter on the sides by keeps volume on the top at the crown of the head
- Allow the shorter front pieces to fall out
- Secure pony with a clear elastic and leave the ends tucked in the last time you wrap elastic
around. Reposition the ends by fanning them out.
- Clip Scunci’s butterfly jaw clip over the elastic and two pearl bobbies on one side of the head
MA: How has your life changed since moving to L.A. (with the obvious exception of traffic and change of scenery/living conditions)?
EC: My whole life got flipped upside down when I moved to LA. I was 17 and had to move away from my parents, forcing me to grow up quicker than I had anticipated. I feel like theres a shift that happens when you move away from your family, you feel independence for the first time, but also a lot of discomfort. Moving away from your family mentally ages you a few years, and inspires a lot of growth. My friends, interests, and daily life changed pretty quickly, and have been changing non-stop since I’ve moved here. LA is a confusing city to navigate socially (and directionally…) and it took me a while to find my footing. Finally I can stay I have my friends, routine, and life settled here, after three years.
MA: What does being a Mane Muse mean to you?
EC: To me, being a Mane Muse is not about what hairstyle you have, whether you are wearing a wig or going all natural, it’s about wearing whatever it may be with confidence. Muses always seem effortless and almost aloof. They don’t care what anyone thinks. They are poised and content with themselves. They could rock any hairstyle or rock no hairstyle if they wanted to. It’s badass. That’s how I’m trying to be.
MA: What are your go-to hair brands and products? /Take us through your typical shower routine and how your haircare habits have evolved since starting YouTube?
EC: I am currently using a combination of Ouai, Olaplex, In Common, and Function of Beauty. I bounce around from product to product. I have Ouai, Olaplex, and Function of Beauty shampoo and conditioner in my shower right now and I use all of them (not on the same day, of course). I use a deep conditioner/mask from In Common after shampooing and conditioning. After the shower I put in hair serum from Function of Beauty, leave in conditioner from Ouai, and Olaplex bond smoother cream. My hair routine has never been this extensive, but after bleaching my hair for a year and damaging the hell out of it, I had to introduce some strengthening products. My favorite hair product of all time is the Ouai dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is my best friend. I don’t know what I would do without it.
Since starting Youtube I have grown up a lot, and have learned SO MUCH about the beauty world. I barely had a skin/hair care routine when I first moved here, and now I use 10 products when I get out of the shower (if I’m not feeling lazy). Finding your perfect beauty routine takes a lot of time and research, but over the years I have figured it out.
MA: What’s your typical office attire?
EC: Office attire for me is sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Maybe sweat shorts and a T-shirt when it’s warmer. I work from home almost completely, and at this point everyone who has zoom calls with me knows I do not dress up for the occasion. The truth of the matter is, I focus better when I’m comfortable. I’m more present. I’m not thinking about how my jeans are jabbing into my ribcage or my shirt is itching my back. When I’m in my pajamas, all I’m focusing on is the work at hand. Nobody seems to mind it either.
MA: What’s your biggest hair regret in the last five years?
EC: My biggest hair regret is bleaching my hair. About 8 months ago I bleached my hair. Full platinum blonde. I kept it going for a few months, but the damage creeped up on me. I dyed my hair back to brown, but my hair was still extremely brittle and I’m still dealing with a lot of breakage. At first I was really sad, because I had always had thick healthy hair, but this was a huge learning experience. Once my hair is healthy again I am going to appreciate it more than I ever did before. I took my healthy hair for granted.
MA: Who’s your own personal Mane Muse? Why?
EC: My Mane Muse would have to be Hayley Williams from Paramore. She always used to color her hair the craziest, funkiest colors. I think she’s my mane muse because she takes risks that I wouldn’t take. I have never colored my hair anything crazy, but I have always kind of wanted to. I remember seeing a photo of her hair dyed half blonde, half a deep orange, and I was OBSESSED! I hope to color my hair like that at least once before I die.
MA: If you could wear your hair only one way for the rest of your life, how would it be styled?
EC: This is a really tough question… I’d probably have to say just simple straight hair with a little bit of volume in the roots. It’s simple but very effective. Looks cute with every outfit. Done. I would normally have said a ponytail or bun of some sort, but as I’m growing up I’m learning to appreciate styling my hair and not just hiding it in a bun.