Digital Cover: Emma Chamberlain—Girl Of The 21st Century

Digital Cover: Emma Chamberlain—Girl Of The 21st Century

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Digital Cover: Emma Chamberlain—Girl Of The 21st Century

Donning Louis Vuitton’s latest collaborative collection with Italian art maison Fornasetti, get to know one of the internet’s most captivating personalities who is building her empire—one click at a time.

Donning Louis Vuitton’s latest collaborative collection with Italian art maison Fornasetti, get to know one of the internet’s most captivating personalities who is building her empire—one click at a time.

Photography: Domen & Van De Velde

Styling: Nicola Formichetti

Text: Kevin Ponce

This feature appears in the pages of V132now available for purchase!

From YouTube to TikTok to Instagram, it’s nearly impossible to escape the captivating world of content creators and the alluring influence it has on the planet. One like, one comment, and one follow later, you find yourself hooked on the many faces and personalities of the rising Gen Z-ers who continue to dominate the Internet. At the forefront of this new pop-culture movement, you’ll find a northern Californian girl who likes coffee, fashion, and making the world laugh with punchy one-liners and hilarious video edits: that girl is Emma Chamberlain. Relatable, trendy, and maybe a bit too transparent at times, Emma became the it-girl of the Internet after posting her first video in 2017.

Jacket Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

That same summer, she first went viral with a tongue-in-cheek video titled “We All Owe The Dollar Store An Apology,” and steadily grew a global fan base in the years after. Users of the web have seen something special about Emma, whether it’s her covet-worthy lifestyle or the enigmatic charm of being absolutely no one but herself. After bingeing a few of her videos, you’ll come to find yourself addicted to her unabashed personality and off-the-cuff humor—qualities that easily make up digital superstars. Emma, now at age 20, is entering the next frontier of her life and career as her evolving fashion partnerships and growing coffee business reach new potentials. From the girl-next-door who made videos out of boredom to becoming a rising fashion industry darling, Emma is moving beyond the speed of light—faster than all the megabits in the web.

Jacket Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti / Boots Louis Vuitton

V Magazine: For our readers who might not know you (yet!), how would you introduce yourself and what you do?

Emma Chamberlain: It’s so all over the place, but I would say I’m an Internet person, in general, a coffee company owner, I’m a podcaster, a YouTuber, and I kind of just share everything about my life on the Internet. That’s basically me.

V: Is there anything that you don't share on the internet that you keep close to yourself or is everything just out there?

Jacket Louis Vuitton / Dress Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

EC: For sure. I share everything that has to do with just me, on the internet. If it has to do with anyone else, like my friends or family, that's the stuff I like to keep private—just for their own sense of privacy because they didn't sign up for the public lifestyle and I don't want to bring them into it. Everything else is fair game. I mean, I'll talk about my bowel movements [in videos] so there's not a lot of things that I hide.

V: Totally! Let's just talk shit, literally.

EC: I mean, everybody poops—come on!

All clothing, boots, briefcases Louis Vuitton / Bag Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

V: Did you realize what you were getting yourself into when you first started doing YouTube and putting yourself out there on the Internet?

EC: No, definitely not! I just started making videos because I grew up watching YouTube and I needed a hobby and something to put my energy towards that was productive and fun for me. I did not anticipate the level that I would eventually reach. I remember hitting my first 1 million subscribers [and that] was something that seemed completely impossible to me when I first started. I didn't think that that was ever going to happen, but it did and it was insane! I just had no idea that this was going to happen and I didn't even think it was possible. It [reached] a whole new level that nobody could have prepared me for.

V: Who were some of the people you were watching on YouTube when you started?

Dress and bag Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

EC: I loved watching classic, day one YouTubers like Rhett and Link [but] honestly, I’ve watched everything. I've been watching YouTube since I was six years old so I've seen every YouTuber that's ever come into this kind of space, so I feel like I've watched all of them.

V: I feel like your channel is a balance of everything, from period talk and trying fast food trends, and now involving fashion and beauty—including moments from your partnerships with brands like Louis Vuitton. Was fashion something you've always liked as a kid growing up or did you just get into it more as you went along in your life and career?

EC: I always loved clothes! [Growing up], I loved shopping with my mom and it was my favorite thing to do and when I was probably 15 or 16, I got into thrift shopping and [getting that] sense of treasure hunting where it’s more of a creative thing. As much as I loved fashion growing up, it wasn't something that was fully developed for me in my head. I didn't necessarily have my own individual style when I was younger. I've definitely had some bad phases in my fashion life. I [wasn’t] looking at clothes in the way that I do now, but there's always been an underlying appreciation for it. Even though I’ve evolved so much as I've been exposed to so many things within my career, I’ve also just become older and gotten a lot more sophisticated. Working with Louis Vuitton has made me have a deeper understanding and appreciation for fashion houses and designers in general.

V: What do you think is the biggest difference between your fashion style and interests then compared to now?

EC: Before, I was choosing my outfits based on what I liked vs didn't like, and I didn't really care where my clothes were from or who made my clothes. I'm starting to appreciate designers and their art form more. I also have more resources to access these clothes, which I never did before, so [because] I have the resources to learn more about this stuff, I'm going to do it. I'm leaning more into that than I ever did before.

V: Did you ever feel that there was pushback about you and other content creators entering the fashion game and being at the forefront of a fashion house?

Coat, dress, bag Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti / Boots Louis Vuitton

EC: Yes, a thousand percent. In a sense, the fashion world itself has been around forever and influencers and digital celebrities are very new and haven't necessarily earned their stripes yet. I think some people are not ready to accept it as a new form of celebrity, which I totally understand because it's like mixing something new with something classic and it can feel wrong. I understand that kind of discomfort comes from people who have been into fashion since they were younger, [where] maybe it was before this was all a thing and seeing digital influencers come in feels wrong. At the same time, the world of fashion and fame has to evolve in order for it to grow, so this is a natural part of that and it only makes sense. When people were questioning my entrance into it, it was kind of scary, but at the same time, I understood where they're coming from. My only hope is that people will accept me into it and let me be a part of it.

V: When Louis Vuitton first flew you out to their Fall/Winter 2019 show, I think lots of people could sense that something was shifting in the industry. Did your audience react weirdly when you went or were they more embracive of it?

EC: Shockingly, my audience was super stoked for me. I have such an intimate relationship with them and I think that they felt like it was still me. I didn't change my demeanor, behavior, or the way that I filmed content—nothing really changed. I was just doing something very out of the ordinary. I think it was a lot weirder for somebody who was looking from the other side of things—they don't necessarily know who I am and they just saw me at the Louis Vuitton show and they were like, ‘What is going on? That's so weird. It does not make sense’. My audience felt comfortable with this transition because they were truly experiencing the shock, the confusion, the excitement—they were experiencing all of that with me.

V: They seem incredibly loyal with everything that you do, especially with your turn into entrepreneurialism and your new endeavor, Chamberlain Coffee—I think they really championed you starting your first legitimate business.

EC: Totally! I think doing something with coffee for me was so obvious. If somebody asked me ‘What would be your dream company?’ My answer had always been something related to coffee, whether it was a coffee shop or an online coffee brand. It resonated with the people that watch my videos because they have seen me drink coffee in every single video since day one—it's always been something that people know about me.

V: I’m curious about how you got that going because the process of sourcing, trademarking, adhering to compliances, etc. can be rather daunting. Did you find the beginning stages of Chamberlain Coffee to be challenging to learn about and get started on?

Dress Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti / Boots Louis Vuitton

EC: It was definitely kind of intimidating for me in the beginning. I'm super lucky to have an amazing team that really helped me through this process because as much as I wanted to learn and do as much as I could by myself, I can't do everything. I had to make my ego chill out a little bit and accept help because I couldn't do this all on my own. I knew if I wanted to do it right, I had to accept help.

V: How in tune were you with your team about making sure everything was done to your vision?

EC: I made it clear to everybody that the number one priority was making sure that my priorities were not being ignored or swept under the rug. I've been able to voice how I want things to be, but when it comes to actually executing, I have a lot of help on that front and I'm very grateful for that.

Dress Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

V: How would you define your role at the company?

EC: I think a big part of my role is curating the customer experience when it comes to the flavor of the beans and the aesthetic of the company as a whole, including what photoshoots look like, what the emails look like, [and what] the overall voice is for the brand. When it comes to the coffee beans, we have a roaster that sources the beans for us and we collaborate on making the perfect blends. I wasn't going to try to roast beans myself so we found the perfect partner and we also have amazing investors who have helped us a lot with the technical stuff. There's so many different branches to the whole thing, I didn't even realize how complex it was going to be. So that's why I kind of had to let go of some of the jobs and hand them off to people who know more about those areas than me and focus on what I am good at.

V: Being a young woman and owning a business this popular, what do you feel have been the main obstacles you had to overcome when you first started the company?

EC: I've been really fortunate that I have always felt so respected, appreciated, and validated throughout my company. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing team who, when I first started it, never looked at me as just a teen girl. They've always appreciated me as an individual and valued my opinions about the way I want things to go. They’ve never made me feel small or as if I don't know what I'm talking about. They’ve always been helpful about teaching me or being patient with me. I think it's because I only surrounded myself with good people in the industry, since day one. You definitely have to go through [lots of people] and find your perfect match when it comes to [sourcing] a good team for these types of projects. It's so important to find people that get you. Some people just don't take young people seriously and I understand that to a certain extent, but that would be detrimental to me in making these dreams come true so I made sure to find people that do not look at me as a kid, but as a human being with a dream.

Dress and bag Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

V: YouTube, TikTok, fashion, coffee—what’s next for you? Where do you see yourself going in the next five to ten years?

EC: I definitely see the coffee grind (no pun intended) growing and developing, but when it comes to YouTube, I couldn’t even tell you. I pull something out of my butt every week [for content]. It’s something for me that I don't plan, I let it happen. I don't overthink it because when I do, that's when things go bad. I get burnt out, I get freaked out and I feel like I'm not being organic. I’ll probably still be living in Los Angeles with my cats. I think the biggest difference, career-wise, is that I want to start getting into fashion more and really take every opportunity I can get. As I get older, [I’ve become] so interested in it now—I love it. I want to lean into it as much as possible and branch out.

V: You should come work for V! We’ll let you know if we’re hiring.

EC: (*gasp*) I would love it!

Kokopelli wears bag Louis Vuitton x Fornasetti

This feature appears in the pages of V132now available for purchase!

Credits:

Makeup: Cedric Jolivet (The Wall Group) Hair: Patricia Morales (The Visionaries) Producer: Joeri Rouffa (Domen & Van de Velde)

On-set producers: Paul Turner, Fransiska Weckesser

Set Designer: Enoch Choi Stylist assistant: Hunter Clem Location: Dust Studios

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