gIRL series: Emma

gIRL / photography

Emma Hoareau

Emma Hoareau
May 27, 2019

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gIRL series: Emma

Emma is probably my first and longest friend. Our mother’s met in the English Mothers Group in Paris in the late eighties before we were both born (we both have older siblings). We both have French fathers, grew up bilingual and being born just a week apart with the same name… we have been part of each other’s lives since day one and I’m so glad we are still close. We have dipped in and out of each others lives over the years. Never at school together and always in different parts of London or the world and yet it never feels like ‘too long’ has passed to feel completely comfortable in each other’s presence. As a friend, I go to Emma because she is a safety net, she understands how I grew up and has known me through all my stages in life which means I can talk about something so easily with her without having to explain the specifics – we just automatically understand each other. In this way, I suppose, she is family.

Emma is perhaps the most captivating person I know. I’m pretty sure every time we go out someone falls in love with her – and I understand why. She is nonchalantly beautiful, kind, open and wonderfully genuine. Here we shot her in her London Fields flat one Saturday morning.

What makes you feel beautiful?

I feel most beautiful when I take care of myself. Sleeping enough, eating well and exercising. Taking time to put makeup on, wearing clothes that suit me, and brushing my hair. I know that may sound a bit silly, but I used to feel like those things were self indulgent and vain – and I didn’t realise that it was actually a way to feed my soul and connect with my body and mind. I occasionally have to sacrifice these things for the demands of my job, which has made me more aware of the importance of respecting my body and everything that makes it function.

What is beauty to you?

Beauty for me is being comfortable with yourself. Being happy with yourself, and not feeling like you have to hide anything about yourself. I think having that calmness within and that confidence without reaches those you interact with far more than your aesthetic exterior. I also think demeanour goes a long way. If someone is smiley and open, with kind eyes and a welcoming disposition, I find that beautiful.

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

I don’t think I can pinpoint the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. When I read this question, I thought of a few things. The way a person looks at someone they love. And what a gift it is to witness that. Or when you’re walking down the street, going on about your busy life, your head full of to-do’s and only a destination in sight, but then you stop and see a beautiful flower or the light of the sky and it brings you back to what life should be about – taking the time to appreciate beauty and allowing yourself the simple pleasure of enjoying it.

gIRL stands for Girls In Real Life and is a personal photography project of mine to capture the women in my life and talk to them about their ideas on beauty. You can find the full series here.