Emily Loftiss joined me on FaceTime just minutes after signing off of her popular FaceBook Live show, “Everyday Glam with Emily Loftiss,” and she was literally glowing inside and out. She had just presented a segment on “Confidence in Fashion-What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Emily’s FaceBook Live show begins with a chat, like a conversation with a girlfriend catching up over coffee and then she offers her thousands of fans advice in all areas of fashion, beauty, fitness, life, and most of all her signature area, glam.
Emily’s warm and vivacious personality reaches through the interwebs to excite and motivate all ages, men, and women. The Southern Belle from Georgia who began dancing as a young child has grown her impressive career after attending The University of Alabama from dancing with the world-famous Radio City Rockettes and Broadway musical national tours, workshops, and commercials to becoming a bonafide “It Girl” and television personality. Emily shares her journey with TheatreArtLife, including her recent move to Boston, Massachusetts.
How did you get started in your career?
I started dancing when I was four and I don’t remember ever wanting to do anything other than be a dancer. In fourth grade I was announcing that I was going to be a professional dancer, that was it, no ifs, and’s or buts, no backup plans, I was going to be a dancer, period.
I wanted to go straight to New York and my mom said that if I went to college somewhere in the South, she would then help pay for my first year of living in New York. I received a scholarship to the University of Alabama and decided to attend. I’m so happy that I went to Alabama, you learn great social skills going to college. I know it’s not everyone’s plan but it worked for me.
After graduation, I went off to New York and things happened for me quickly. I got an agent in my first month, I was on hold for an eBay commercial after my first audition and made it to the final rounds of a Broadway show two weeks later. I booked my first job a month later, so it was like how I do everything in my life, I announce it and then I do it. I put it out into the universe and then I go!
Out of everything that you’ve accomplished so far, what do you feel has been your best role/ gig/ job/ and why?
Dance related, it was the show Cats. I’m obsessed with the show! I performed my first Cats role at the Ohio Carousel Dinner Theatre and I will always remember it because I earned my Equity card in the last two weeks of the three-month contract.
If you’ve not been in Cats you don’t understand the cult community, but if you’ve been in it, you know – it is just so interesting! The little-hidden stories in between acts, the camaraderie between everyone on stage, you’re in a unitard, and it’s the hardest dancing of your life. It takes so much out of you, it’s so hard. You finish and then you do it again two hours later. It’s just magnificent! I also made amazing friends on that show. I have to say that one of the greatest joys that I have had is doing Cats!
Outside the world of dance, I was a hair model for L’Oréal in 2010 when I was still a brunette. I had never touched my hair with color before and had always said that I was never going to cut it. L’Oréal was doing a hair tour and they needed three girls to look alike. They needed three brunettes, three blondes, three redheads. They were going to make me a redhead and I’m like, “girl, I’m too tan to be red!” so they started putting blonde in my hair. Fast forward seven years later, I am still working with L’Oréal. Now, I’m crazy blonde! I will only go to L’Oréal people and will only get my hair done with L’Oréal products. Talk about a job that’s lasted a long time – I’m still a hair model for them in New York, in Los Angeles, and now in Boston. It’s just been such a loving group of people and hairdressers across the country. Who knew, when I took the job in 2010 that I’d still be working with them all these years later.
What is the worst gig you worked when you were starting out?
The worst thing ever looking back was dancing at bar mitzvahs. Talk about just feeling like less than! The joke was that every Saturday I would have a bar mitzvah and then every Sunday I would call my mom and tell her what ridiculous thing happened. Saturday night, I would go to a $2.7 million dollar bar mitzvah and they would put me in a crazy costume like The Matrix so I was dressed in a full pleather jumpsuit – this is for 13-year-old boys – so either the 13-year-old little boys are trying to grab my ass or the uncle, the dad, or the grandfather. It was like no matter where you turned someone was being inappropriate with you. You dance until 2:00 am in the morning only to find yourself in New Jersey and then you have to bus back to the city and it’s so late. It was terrible, but you get great life stories!
The joke is that they call you a motivational dancer with some really great but ridiculous costumes. Some of my “favorites” were a candle flame, I was a Martha Graham box where you couldn’t see my face and I was asked to roll around on the ground, I was a chicken, I was Great Gatsby, I danced a number from 42nd Street. When you’re 23 and have no money you do these things. I did make some friends from it, but talk about the worst, that was the worst, being hit on from every corner of the world.
If you had to narrow it down, what do you think is your best skill?
I don’t get rattled easily, I can go on live television, dance at Radio City Music Hall, I can walk in front of a group of a million people, enter Times Square with a microphone and just talk to people. I am kind of fearless. I get nervous and have butterflies but then it’s “go time” and I go. I think that’s my greatest skill; even when I get nervous I can still make it happen. I’m a hustler and at the same time I think, what’s the worst that can happen?
What do other people think is your best skill?
That I command attention. You could put me on a stage with 500 people and you’ll still spot me.
I was constantly “in trouble” when I was a Rockette because I was never able to blend in. The Radio City Rockettes are a precision dance troupe where it is most important to look identical when dancing together on stage. I was ‘Pop Your Head Cassie.” I would hit moves too strong, pull attention with my facials, or pop my shoulder with too much gumption.
When I was dancing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Nashville one year, my dance captain Chris gave me the best note. She would read our notes to us and once, on a four-show day, the note was “Loftiss – too much.” I raised my hand and asked what was too much and she said everything, everything is just too much!
Mom even said you’re not the greatest Rockette because you just don’t blend.
Now that I’m retired from dance I get to step forward and just be me every single day. I don’t ever have to bring it down. A brand or network chooses me for me, so it all worked out in the end and it made me stronger.
What is your job now? How do you describe all of the things that you do?
I am a television personality and style and beauty expert. As a TV personality, I talk on camera about everything from sports to the weather and as a style and beauty expert which is really where my niche is, I talk about everything from what’s good for your skin to what celebrities are wearing at the Golden Globes. It is very broad but I feel like when you are an expert you can be thrown into any situation. You can tell me what to talk about, like for instance, mascara and I will ask, great, how much time do we have?
I feel that I shine best at being me.
Photo Credit: Style Report Magazine
Tell us about your journey from dancer & performer into television personality working with shows like The Steve Harvey Show, The Doctors, The Insider, The Real, Hollywood Today Live, a regular contributor on Good Day LA, and most recently on Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family. How did it all begin?
I had a breakup and I was reevaluating my life like you do, and I remember sitting on the couch and zoning out. I remember looking up and the television was showing The Daily Ten on the E! Network. I then thought to myself, that’s what I want to do next! I put myself into hosting classes right away.
The Rockettes’ Future Kicks program, a grant of sorts that offers money for education and professional development, helped pay for some of my classes. I walked into my agent at the time at Clear Talent, and told them here’s the deal, I’m not going to dance anymore and I’m going to be a tv host. I was one of their number one bookers that worked a lot and frequently I would receive direct books so they did not love the news that I was going to stop dancing but Christopher Freer (who is still a dear friend) said: “Ok, let’s look up some classes for you.” He’s always ‘Got Me’.
In my hosting class, we were told that you have to have a reel to get jobs. I raised my hand and asked the instructor, how can you have a reel if you don’t have any work yet? She looked at me and said, you just create it.
So, I bought myself a camera and a microphone. My boyfriend who is now my husband and I went on a vacation to Aruba and I said, just film me! We started running around Aruba interviewing people like it was Wild on E! I got kicked out of Forever21 for interviewing my friend about accessories, I literally created a reel out of nothing!
I started applying for jobs on Craigslist and I got my first one interview on Style Music TV covering red carpets and the second job I got was for New York Fashion Week. I didn’t get paid a dollar but it didn’t matter, I was learning on the job.
My first big emcee position was in Times Square in New York. They were like, you know how to work with an in-ear right? I was like yes!, but I had no idea. It’s actually very difficult and distracting to have someone talking in your ear but you learn to tune it out. The same happened with learning to read a teleprompter, you just learn as you go!
For me, one day I decided that I did not want to be a dancer anymore, I wanted to be a tv personality. I put it out in the universe and that was it.
How do you see your journey changing over the next ten years?
I don’t think I can answer that question! My husband, then fiancé, and I were living in New York and I convinced him to move to California for my career. We lived in California for four years and I got to do a lot of national television shows. I finally felt like I was getting some momentum and then Jay’s new job brought us to Boston. 2017 has thrown me for a loop, but it can be good when the universe stops you in your tracks and says whatever path you were on, we’re putting you on another path that doesn’t make sense now.
My end goal is to have a beautiful family, still be madly in love with my husband, and be the bread winner. (she laughs with a wink)
My dream is to have a makeover show. I love the before, middle, after and love the “swan transformation”. Right now people are saying that scripted tv is so in, but I know that I love a makeover and watching the confidence that occurs for the person afterwards and seeing people feel empowered, that where my heart is and that is where my path is supposed to lead.
I want to be working under the umbrella of style and beauty, being my true authentic self, and helping women.
Hopefully, that will lead to a makeover show and books. I’d also love to launch an accessories line. My slogan is, “it doesn’t matter if you gain ten pounds or lose ten pounds, accessories always work.” I know that my path will be greater than I can imagine because when you have faith that is what happens.
Photo Credit: Style Report Magazine
In your opinion, what is the importance of establishing a personal brand outside of your talent on social media?
Social media is the new queen and it dictates everything. I have lost so many jobs for not having more of a social media following. I have lost so many jobs to “Bachelorette number 507,” it’s a difficult time in the industry. It is also a great time to develop your brand but you need to get on it fast and early!
I’d like to think that people go to my website and watch my reel that I’ve worked on for hours and hours and gone through a thousand versions, but the truth is people are going to go to your Instagram page. The first thing that you need to think about is the internet is forever. Don’t be careless. If you put something on Instagram or Snapchat that can hurt you, it will haunt you forever!
If you want to create a personal page for your friends and family that’s great, but you really should have a big social media concentration. You can show your dance ability, post videos, as well as what you’re eating, but you must create a cohesive thought of who you are but don’t be fake.
If you want to be known for hip hop, do that! Or a dance or yoga, try to figure out your niche and hone it. Think about what brands would be interested in working with you and curate your content with that goal in mind whether it’s a protein bar company or athleisure wear.
Social media is one big umbrella that you are living under and all of it matters now, all of it matters.
How much of someone’s daily hustle needs to be focused on media?
In the back of my head, I am always thinking, what am I going to be posting later tonight and thinking about getting a good shot. Your profile needs to represent your real life. That’s the thing about social, for instance, there are a lot of fashion bloggers that have beautifully curated pages but then you see them on SnapChat you think, Oh, that is why they are not a professional talker!
It’s kind of like my calendar, you plan how many times you are going to take a voice lesson or ballet class, you plan your time and in the same way, you need to plan your social media. You should map out when you are going to post professional photos so that you can plan when you want to post your regular life, in a class or at home and how often you will post a throwback picture.
I like to begin the day with social media and end the day with social media. The rest of my day I live my life, I don’t want to be so concerned with my phone that I can’t live. Figure out when you can have those moments and then pull your head up from the phone.
Everyday Glam with Emily Loftiss is a great success, how did your FaceBook Live show come to life?
One day I was talking to a friend about how frustrating it was doing television because I am so used to freelancing. After I pitched all of these ideas to my friend, she suggested that I try doing a YouTube page. I just burst into tears at this restaurant and was like I am not starting a YouTube page. I was 30-ish years old and felt that moment had passed. Three days later, I was way past tired hadn’t slept well and I thought of the FaceBook Live platform. I could talk to people, answer questions, and not have to worry about doing the editing. So far it is going well, but I am still adjusting the time that I go live because it is tough to reach both East and West audiences at the same time when I live in Boston.
In your career, you successfully navigated the infamous (tough and highly competitive) Radio City Rockettes audition in New York, and now you work in front of the camera. How has the audition process changed in New York and Los Angeles over the past ten years?
I think there are different dimensions. For theater, they really wear you out with callback after callback. By the time you get to that final audition in front of the associate producer and musical director you might have already come in eight times.
In LA you come in and dance, dance, dance. You may audition for ten to twelve hours without food or a break. Then if you get the job, you start work that same night or the next day.
For television, it’s on tape before you make it to the next round, but they don’t wear you out. They look at you and either you’re right or not. They don’t break you down.
People also go for celebrities more now. You can see that on Broadway all the time, the roles go to stars.
Half of auditioning isn’t about you. It’s about your height and whether you will fit into the costume. Sometimes, I wouldn’t get jobs because the guys were shorter than me and I’d be towering over them, or the girl that I was auditioning to replace wore a size eight shoe and I wear a nine and a half. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re auditioning to be a piece that must to fit into an intricate puzzle. You have to learn that you can’t take it personally. If you can get over the fact that half of it is not about you or your talent, you will sleep better at night.
How would you describe your TheaterArtLife?
I feel like I have really opened the curtain for everyone and have invited people in to know what my life is like. I may freelance one week, and I’m living a super glamorous life in an evening gown interviewing celebrities. Then the next week I’m in my pajamas writing e-mails while sitting next to my diabetic cat. I’m sure when I finally get to the level where I want to be, everyone will think that I’m an overnight success but it’s a daily hustle and a daily grind trying to find my place in this universe.
My husband and I celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary and currently, I’m learning how to navigate this new city. I’m already on career number three, and it will be interesting to see what this next path will be but I’m excited. I’m ready for the challenge.
Knowing everything you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
It’s still the advice I would give to myself right now which is patience. I do not know what that word means, I’ve read about it, it does not make sense to me. I would tell myself to calm down and know that it will all make sense later.
Be you, be your authentic self, don’t try to bring yourself down and don’t ever make yourself small.
Photo Credit: Style Report Magazine
On Snapchat @EmilyLoftiss