“Follow your passion and do what you love”
Emily Skinner is just like you – and in more ways than you might think. The 16-year-old California native grew up watching Disney Channel and Nickelodeon and one day, decided that she wanted to try acting. So at the age of six, Emily enrolled in a local class and immediately fell in love with performing. Her talent impressed the teacher so much that he encouraged her to find an agent and start acting professionally.
So Emily did just that, and she and her mom often spent their days commuting from their home in Orange County up to Los Angeles in order to audition for roles. Eventually, Emily started booking small parts on popular TV shows like CSI and Shake It Up. But her biggest break would come in 2017, when she landed the role of mean girl Amber on Disney Channel’s groundbreaking series, Andi Mack. And shortly after that, Emily was cast as another bully, Diana, on Brat’s Total Eclipse.
Along with the acting roles came the fame – and the Instagram followers – 1.8 million of them, to be exact. But believe it or not, Emily is still just like you. “I have always struggled a lot with confidence,” she admits. “Everyone thinks that when you’re famous or on TV, everything’s perfect. But I go through the same things with self-confidence, bullies, and people bringing you down. It’s all happened to me, too, and it’s really hard.”
Frankly, it also must be really hard for Emily to play mean characters, because she happens to be one of the kindest people on the planet. So how does she handle the kind of girls she portrays on TV, in real life? “Be as genuine as possible,” she says. “And if people don’t like it, I try not to care because I’m like, ‘This is me. And if you don’t like me, it’s ok. And if you like me, then great.’” However, she’s also quick to add that sometimes, this approach is easier said than done. “I’m not just saying you can just blow them off because sometimes they do get to you,” she says. “Especially when people will pick on your certain insecurities and comment on those. It’s always difficult.”
But any time Emily finds herself on her phone, getting upset by those comments, she takes a break from social media to do something she loves, like hiking. “I do things that make me happy and it honestly helps so much,” she says.
And it’s not the followers or fame that makes Emily happy; it’s her passion for acting. “You have to love memorizing the scripts, you have to love auditioning, you have to love going to classes – all of it comes with acting,” she says. In fact, Emily would rather walk into an audition than down a red carpet. “Red carpets might look really glamorous, but they are so uncomfortable,” she says with a laugh. “I always end up looking awful in the photos with my eyes half-closed! My friends and I, we don’t act so we can go to red carpets; we do it because we love acting.”
And she wants you to discover what it is that you love, whether it’s acting or acrobatics. “Go out and try new things,” she says. “Find things that you love. Don’t think about if you’re the worst at it, or if you’re the best at it. Just do things that make you happy. Do what you love, follow your passion, and it will help you in so many ways.”
Photos by Joe Magnani
Makeup by Anton Khachaturian using Jordana Cosmetics
Styling by Robiat Balogun, assisted by Madison Ackerman
Hair by Matilde Campos & Sabrina Porsche
On Emily: Dress by Mac Duggal, Earrings by Zaxie, Rings from Zaxie and Gabriel & Co.
Very special thanks to Tim Byrne