EMILY KINNEY

Emily Kinney
Photographer: Tina Turnbow
Fashion Editor: Wendy McNett
Makeup Artist: Tina Turnbow
Hair Stylist: Marc Mena
Location: Nurse Bettie NYC

(Interview follows photo series)

Choker – I STILL LOVE YOU NYC // Slip – Pamplemousse // Garters – Stylist’s own // Stockings – Victoria’s Secret // Coat – Stylist’s own // Shoes – Lodovico Zordanazzo

Dress – The Blonds // Bracelet – I STILL LOVE YOU NYC

Lace Top – BreeLayne // Bunny Ears – Fleur du Mal // Bra – Fleur du Mal

Coat – Georgine // Blouse – Georgine // Choker – I STILL LOVE YOU NYC // Body Suit – Urban Outfitters

Lace Top – BreeLayne // Bunny Ears – Fleur du Mal // Bra – Fleur du Mal // High-Waisted Brief – Fleur du Mal // Stockings – Victoria’s Secret // Shoes – Lori Silverman

Lace Top – BreeLayne // Bunny Ears – Fleur du Mal // Bra – Fleur du Mal // High-Waisted Brief – Fleur du Mal // Stockings – Victoria’s Secret // Shoes – Lori Silverman

Choker – I STILL LOVE YOU NYC // Slip – Pamplemousse // Garters – Stylist’s own // Stockings – Victoria’s Secret // Coat – Stylist’s own // Shoes – Lodovico Zordanazzo

Choker – I STILL LOVE YOU NYC // Slip – Pamplemousse // Garters – Stylist’s own // Stockings – Victoria’s Secret // Coat – Stylist’s own

Dress – Intrepid by AO’C

INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS

Emily Kinney is young, beautiful and talented, what most would call a triple threat. This performer took the time to chat with us at Imagista about what both music and acting mean to her.

Imagista: What did you get into first, acting or music?

Emily: I first got into music when I was really little, just being at church and being at talent shows and stuff like that. I listened to a lot of my parents records, I would discover television shows and say “hey that’s what I want to do.” I remember people coming up to me telling me they liked when I sang in church because they could really hear the words. It wasn’t just music, it was more about telling stories and being able to communicate with an audience through music, or theater or television or whatever it was, but I guess it did really start with music.

Imagista: What kind of music were your parents into?

Emily: They were super into The Carpenters, I remember listening to them a lot. They like a lot of classic rock also, like The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jim Croce, James Taylor, Jackson Brown and Lynyrd Skynyrd. When I was growing up my parents went to a lot of shows, and that’s something that continued with me, I am such a music fan. Growing up we went to see The Beach Boys and Chicago. Just recently, my whole family went to the Eagles when they were on that big tour. I was talking to my Dad yesterday and we are going to try and go to Dessert Trip, which has a great lineup this year. My parents are such music fans so I guess that was instilled in me very early on. When I moved to New York City, one of the first things I did was find the music clubs because I wanted to go see local music.

Imagista: What made you decide to move to New York City?

Emily: I moved to New York because I was pursuing acting because it was something that I felt that I knew what to do. Like I could go to an open call and go to an audition, so I was definetly pursuing that as far as a career but music is such a big part of my life, regardless if anyone hires me or not. First I started out singing backup for bands and I just fell into that crowd. Then I got into Rockwood and Pete’s Candy Store there was this place Bar 4 and I remember one summer in particular taking the train out there a lot to see music. It was more like my social life and relief from auditioning at first. I have always been someone who wrote poetry and short stories on my own for fun and when I got into Spring Awakening, which has a lot of people who are both actors and song writers, so I kind of started to see that both could be a big part of my life if I wanted.

Imagista: How quickly did you get in to writing your own materials? Did you start by playing covers?

Emily: Actually, I remember writing songs and singing them for my mom in high school and writing poems and sending poems to boys, I didn’t take it seriously in a way, it was very much a personal thing. I wasn’t ever like, today I am going to work on my writing as opposed to now, everyday I sit in my little room by my piano and write whatever it is I need to say. I wasn’t being consistent so it was during that time that I started really having an idea for songs and then finishing it completely, not just writing a verse and the chorus. I wrote a bunch of songs for Blue Toothbrush and when I realized I was going to start recording them I started really not just thinking of them but writing them all down.

Imagista: It sounds like it has all happened organically, are you more disciplined now when it comes to writing or do you write when it feels natural?

Emily: I try to be more disciplined, every day of my life is so completely different that its hard to be disciplined in anything in a way. I am disciplined in the way thats its always on my mind, I kind of always have a song that I am working on in my mind. Whenever I have a day where I am not going to auditions or I have the day off I’m like “okay that’s the day I am going to write.” For me, sometimes, I need to have a little nothingness. In some ways the job of acting lends itself well to me because if I move to a new city and I don’t have my friends being like “hey let’s hangout” and I am in a hotel room by myself I tend to write really well. In a hotel it’s not like I need to do the dishes or anything, and I just can kind of let my mind wonder in a certain way, or explore a new city which inspires me. I tend to write better that way, when there is a bit of freedom but also isolation, not a lot of distractions. That’s what has worked in the past, I feel like its something that is always evolving though. I feel like it’s a process for me that evolves and depending on my mood, I write better in different ways. Sometimes piano, sometimes guitar, sometimes I just need to be mad at someone.

Imagista: You are clearly really comfortable with your audience and on stage, did you feel that right away and do you feel the same way when you are acting, is there a relationship between those two?

Emily: That’s a really good question. I do get nervous for both, but for different reasons. When I started doing Spring Awakening, I remember that first week, it was such a huge deal for me and I remember even in rehearsal I was just so nervous. Even all through August Osage County, where I was doing a show every night, there was a certain sense of like this is someone else’s creation and you don’t want to fuck it up, so I felt a certain amount of pressure in that way. I have always felt nervousness, I used to get super nervous for auditions and something switched in me where I began thinking, if I mess up nothing gets hurt but my ego but if you do really great something amazing could happen and thats the lucky thing about the job. I started to feel less crazy when I started thinking of it as fun, as singing and acting. I will say I don’t get as nervous for my own stuff and I think its because it is my songs, and although it is so, so important to me there is something about it being mine and if I do mess up its like well I wrote it. I want to do well because I want to put on a good show so I still get a little nervous, but now I get more excited. There are things that I do in the show that help me with stage fright, I’ll get my audience to snap, or sing along with my chorus and it makes me feel like we are all in this together. There’s something to me about feeling like the audience is sort of in this bubble with you as opposed to with theater when you are on stage performing and the audience is outside of it looking in. I guess with music I like people to participate in a bigger way.

Imagista: Could you name two or three musical acts that have really inspired you?

Emily: For music, I want to say growing up I listened to Joni Mitchell and I liked that kind of songwriting. I really like this band Frightened Rabbit, just their point of view and lyrics are super good, so they are probably one of my all time favorite bands. I also listen to my friends, I have very specific moments where I have watched people play and have been so inspired to go home and write my own songs. There is this guy, Kevin Johnson from this Brooklyn band Bright Silence, theres this band called Lawry, seeing some of those people play is what would inspire me to want to play.

Imagista: In terms of actors, are there any that have inspired you?

Emily: I really love Patricia Arquette, she is one of my very favorites. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. One time I read this interview with Claire Danes, and she said that basically the camera was her confident and I don’t know why but that has stuck with me so much. I used to always feel like I had to ignore things on set in order to do a good job. With theater everyone is quiet and extremely focused on the show. However, on set, even if people are being super respectful there is so much stuff going on there are cameras going, there are lights, there’s someone eating their soup in the corner, you know what I mean. I remember her saying that and thinking rather then ignoring things, to bring it all in, the same way you are aware of the audience being very aware of the camera and opening up my emotions to it.