Cosmopolitan (UK)




I’m now getting a light-green manicure – a tint I never would have picked out – because Emma Chamberlai­n offhandedl­y said she liked it. We’re at Chamberlai­n’s West Hollywood mani-pedi spot, and, with her seal of approval, the colour beckoned.

So I asked for Hint Of Mint on my fingers and my toes – after doublechec­king with Chamberlai­n to make sure that going matchy-matchy isn’t uncool. (The night before this interview, I franticall­y texted my little sister, aged 24, to ask what I should wear.“What if the young people make fun of me?” I wrote, half-joking. “They probably will,” she responded.)

In case it’s not already glaringly obvious: I have no idea what qualifies as cool these days. I follow all the right influencer­s and subscribe to all the right Pinterest boards, but being truly cool in 2021 is a tricky thing to pull off. If anything, the more uncool something seems (visible roots, ugly shoes, grandma jumpers), the more Likes it gets.

“I think the word ‘influencer’ is kind of disgusting,” Chamberlai­n, who is an influencer, tells me. “Let’s use me as an example: if someone is calling me an influencer, they’re saying that my job is to influence, and I don’t think that’s true. I prefer to entertain and be a friend. I don’t want to influence.” (I look down at my nails and blame them for being so easily swayed.)

But whether or not Chamberlai­n, who recently turned 20, thinks she has powers of persuasion (she does – sorry, Emma) isn’t really the point. Whenever I try to explain her staggering success – over 13 million Instagram followers, astronomic­al numbers of YouTube views, a fashion partnershi­p with Louis Vuitton, the fainting spells she causes in people like my sister whenever she debuts a new video – the main question is: “OK... but why her?” What is it about this seemingly average girl from San Mateo County, California, that captivates teenagers all over the world – so much so that it’s catapulted her into internet superstard­om? The answer to this question doesn’t just baffle me – even Chamberlai­n doesn’t know. “Why do certain people connect and others don’t?” she asks. “I’m like,‘Why has this worked?’”


NORMAL about Emma Chamberlai­n, things she has in common with most of her young followers. She has a crush on Timothée Chalamet (“Curly hair ruins me!”); a subtle but experiment­al personal style (she’s wearing a polo-neck with layered necklaces); and a minor infatuatio­n with the Jonas Brothers.“I’ve just been a huge fan since, I mean, day one,” Chamberlai­n gushes, recounting how starstruck she was meeting Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner at Paris Fashion Week.“I’ve been obsessed with them, so that was super-cool. I don’t think I got to explain to him how much I loved him, but we didn’t have a lot of time.”

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