Wickedly talented, Emma Norton would not and could not be still during this dang lockdown; encouraged by a friend, she quickly put her creative energy to work producing a truly staggering amount of high-quality TikTok Videos that have amassed an army that is over 8 million strong so far.
Between her marvelous choreography, spectacular make-up, and costume design, Emma manages to elevate the short video format of her chosen platform to a refined craft that boasts a love of performing and a supreme dedication to express her genuine self while entertaining the masses on this cutting edge musical/variety theater for the information age.
Full of boundless positive energy and great ambition, Emma is sure to continue flourishing both as a TikTok personality and beyond. Take a deeper look with us in this interview:
Hello Emma! I had to borrow someone else’s phone to check out your TikTok and I ended up looking through it for much longer than I expected! I can definitely see why you’ve grown so quickly. Is TikTok your first foray into content creation?
Yes, I wasn’t familiar with TikTok until early 2020. Covid put the brakes on auditioning for acting roles, and I was aching for a creative outlet during lockdown. Two of my friends encouraged me to post on TikTok. The feedback that I received was very encouraging, which inspired more ideas and characters. My content took off from there! I’m incredibly grateful for the engagement and support from TikTokers all over the world.
What was your life like before you started this whirlwind?
I live in LA now, but I grew up as a Colorado girl who loves the outdoors. I’ve always been extremely active in the performing and visual arts. I love musical theater, dancing, and singing. Acting has always been my #1 passion, but I’m really enjoying expanding my creative work through social media.
You show off a full package deal of talents in your videos, but let’s talk a bit about your makeup skills. Where’d you learn that, and how long has it taken you to develop into the stage you’re at now?
Halloween is hands-down my favorite holiday. Growing up, I felt Halloween was the one day of the year I could be my over-the-top self without backlash from my peers. When I was about 11, I was motivated to make my costumes better than what you could find at the store. Halloween fueled my passion for special effects makeup because I was always trying to top the look that I created the year before! TikTok gave me a platform to further develop my skills by creating looks and characters every day!
It wasn’t until I was completely alone during the pandemic that I realized how much other people’s opinions of me had shaped my identity. Being creative with makeup played a huge role in my growth into the person I am today. I am no longer controlled by the opinions of others. Pursuing my love of makeup was one of the key steps in freeing myself!
Which makeup work are you the proudest of so far? Is there some far-fetched or crazy idea you want to try in the future?
So far, I’d say I’m most proud of two characters: my Blue Tiger and a Red Skull look that I created about a month ago. The tiger had such an animated and realistic look. I ended up going to a doctor’s appointment with a full blue tiger face because I hadn’t finished filming! I’m proud of the red skull look because it’s very difficult to do a good job creating a skull on a human face.
In terms of far-fetched future ideas, I’m planning a makeup look that will show what’s underneath my skin. I also want to create a blue Na’vi character from Avatar.
Your family and friends must have had at least something to say about each stage of your viral success. What have their reactions been?
My family and close friends have always been so supportive of my creative pursuits. In the beginning, there was skepticism about my involvement in social media. My family was nervous about my well-being and the effect that unfiltered comments might have on my mental state. Over time, I have proven just how well I can handle the full range of online comments. My family has made adjustments to learn how to support me. Although there was a learning curve, now they would say it’s another example of me putting my mind and hard work towards developing a new skill to entertain people.
With such a huge platform, it’s great that you’re also helping charitable causes. One of the organizations you’re working with is Brought to Reality, what made you choose this one in particular?
Brought to Reality means a lot to me for several reasons.It is based in my home state of Colorado and was inspired by a talented boy, Nick Bales, who took his own life. It promotes the destigmatization of mental health issues and offers resources for professional help and therapy for teens that may be struggling. Given how the pandemic has put more pressure on mental health, this is an important cause that I care a great deal about.
Acting is what you want to be doing the most. *Ideally* what would you like your breakout film role to be?
It’s true, I’ve been working towards becoming an actor in film or TV for a long time. That is my dream and biggest goal. My ideal role would be to play a badass villain who is complex and conflicted. I would love to be in a Marvel or DC production.
You seem to be very inspired by horror and spooky stuff, at least aesthetically. What are your favorite scary movies?
Scream is such a classic! There’s something organic about it that makes it so special. I’m a huge fan of classic horror, and other films made during the 80s and 90s. I also love Get Out. It’s such a twisted story, but with important social commentary. Plus, it has amazing cinematography and acting.
I’m pretty sure most people would be surprised at the amount of effort and time that goes into creating most of your TikToks. What’s the longest you worked on one before finally posting it?
My pop art look is one of my favorites, and it is the most unique and detailed. Makeup and filming for it took seven hours to complete!
How do you unwind after a long day of recording?
I love listening to music and watching movies or shows to unwind. I also enjoy projects, like designing something fun for my apartment. There are also days when only eating sushi and watching anime will recharge my batteries!
CONNECT WITH EMMA NORTON
photos / Tim Schaeffer Photography
make-up / Allison Noelle
wardrobe / Crystal Corset and Crystal Shorts: Dulce Bestia provided by Maison Privée PR
story / Samuel Aponte