2016 has proven to be a big year for Emily Oberg. The Editorial Producer for Style at Complex has made a name for herself outside of the media giant thanks to her personal style, remarkable work at Complex, and her latest project, Sporty & Rich. At only 22 years old, Emily's ambition and hard work have proven to the public that sky's the limit, and we're eager to see what she does next. We spoke to the entrepreneur and media maven about how Sporty & Rich came about and how she successfully lives a minimalist lifestyle.
Tell us a little bit about growing up in Calgary, Canada. How has your upbringing shaped you to be who you are today?
Calgary is a very small city in Western Canada and there's not much going on there when it comes to fashion, music, art, etc. The city itself though is close to some of the most beautiful outdoor landmarks in the world. If you're into nature, it's a dream place for you. I do miss that about living there, and I definitely took it for granted. Now that I live in NYC, I miss being close to nature because we are really starving for that here. I had a very nice childhood. I have the best parents in the world and I was also fortunate enough to grow up around my grandparents and aunts who had a big hand in raising me as well. My parents split up when I was a baby so I always had two homes. My dad is the coolest dad in the world and he would always take me and my brother on the most amazing road trips. He also was into sneakers and OG rap music so he was really the one who got me into all that. My mom was also the best, she worked super hard for us and made sure we had a very nice life, that's probably where I get my work ethic from.
What is a typical day in your life like?
I always tell people, I am the most boring person ever. And I really am! I go to work around 9 AM, write, shoot some videos and spend the rest of my day working on other, long form projects whether it's conceptualizing them, directing, producing or overseeing final edits. After work, I'll work on my personal projects such as my magazine and then I usually have a meeting in the evening. Afterward I'll go home, eat something light and then workout, shower and watch Million Dollar Listing before going to bed. That, or a podcast, they always put me to sleep! On the weekends I usually stay in, cook, watch movies. I really enjoy sitting on my balcony and taking in the skyline, it's so pretty in the summer and it gives me a chance to relax and take a break from social media and emails.
Congratulations on your ‘Sporty & Rich’ magazine release! When putting your ideas to work for this project, did you have a certain message in mind that you wanted your readers to take away from the magazine?
Thank you! I definitely did, I wanted the magazine to portray my taste level and all of the different areas of art, design, music, fashion that I am interested in. I never want to be just an Instagram girl or a face with no talent, so I wanted to use the magazine to prove that I have something to offer and have many abilities. I wanted to share the idea with my readers that you can show your skills in any form of media/art that you so choose. We should always be working on ourselves and building up our skill sets, I think I accomplished this with the magazine.
Did you face any challenges in the making of the magazine? Was branching out of the digital spectrum difficult for you at all?
I definitely faced challenges with deadlines and getting all of the content in, luckily the magazine is just mine so I wasn't working for anyone. I could really finish the magazine whenever I wanted but I did give myself deadlines, which at first seemed impossible to meet with everything else I have going on. But eventually I finished it and I felt so proud! I also faced challenges finding printers, I had a huge f*ck up with one printer and they printed 500 copies of the wrong file, so that was pretty bad and I had to eat the cost. I ended up giving those copies away with a purchase of a hoodie or t-shirt, so it wasn't a total waste.
Tell us about the moment you decided to get into fashion.
When I was super young, I looked up to my aunt who, at the time, was a buyer for Club Monaco. She would always have the nicest things and would take my shopping, so I got into fashion that way. Probably from around 10 or 11 I knew I wanted to do something in fashion.
Forever21 produced a knock off of your ‘Sporty & Rich’ hoodie. How did it feel seeing a fashion retail giant make an attempt at ripping off your design? Has it, in any way, made you take extra precaution with the work that you put out?
I felt flattered. I wasn't that upset because it didn't hurt my business. In fact, I got more press on that incident than I have on anything else I've ever done, so it was good for the brand. It's pretty cool that one of the biggest retailers in the world looks to me and my brand for inspiration, I guess that means I've made it, or something. It hasn't changed the way I work and what I put out, people will always copy, originality is rare. But, those who are really down will only f*ck with the original, and I know I'll always have that loyal audience.
“Live in the moment... Time flies so quickly but I think being more present and taking in your surroundings will help you to hold on to that time a bit longer and be more conscious of what is happening right now.”
At only 22, you’ve accomplished so much with Complex and solidifying your personal brand. What goals have you set out for yourself for the next 5-10 years?
Well, I definitely want to work for myself and be my own boss one day, like anyone else out there. I want to expand on the magazine and make more. For now, I'm doing two a year but I hope I can eventually turn it into something bigger. I think about turning the brand into an agency as well, helping others come up with ideas and executing them. My absolute dream job is to create soundtracks for movies or shows, so I hope I can do that at some point too. I have a lot to offer so I just need the right opportunities to bring all of my ideas to life. I also hope to own a home in Hawaii, I lived there for a year and my mom has lived there for about seven years. It will always be home to me, I love it there. My main goal is to be in a position where I can see my family more. My dad is still in Canada and my mom is in Hawaii, both are pretty far from New York and I miss them a lot. It's hard being away from them and my brother and sister, if I could see them more often I would be very happy.
Give us three tips on living a minimalist yet creative life.
Declutter! It feels so good to get rid of stuff you've accumulated over the years. Whether its dishes, clothes, socks, books— get rid of anything you don't use on a weekly basis. Having less in your life will help your mind to be clearer.
Two, TRY to limit your usage of social media. It tends to bog down your mind and productivity. Sometimes I'll get so inside of my own head when I'm scrolling on Instagram, I just need to put it down and think about what's actually happening in life.
Three, live in the moment. It's so hard these days with everything that's going on whether it's emails, texts, calls, social media etc. When we're doing these other things, were really missing the moment. Time flies so quickly but I think being more present and taking in your surroundings will help you to hold on to that time a bit longer and be more conscious of what is happening right now.
What advice would you give to creatives like yourself who want to start their own movement?
Create a library of your own work, you need to be able to show people what you can do and what your skill set is. Whether it's producing beats at home, creating a website, taking photos with a disposable camera, drawing out designs. There is plenty that you can do with little resources and tools, take advantage of that. Also, don't get into anything for the wrong reasons. Know your end goal and have a purpose for whatever it is that you are doing.
Name 3 of your role models and why.
1. Phoebe Philo. She is definitely one of the most brilliant designers of our time. I admire her abilities both as a designer and as an example of how women should dress in general. Her entire aura, her elusiveness and the fact that she is one of the biggest designers in the world but also remains so low key, is the epitome of cool. What she has done for fashion in general is important in so many ways. She's taught a new generation of women how to dress and how to think differently when putting themselves together.
2. Scott Vener. He has my dream job so he is someone who's career I look up to. From his work on Entourage to his OTHERtone show with Pharrell, he pretty much as the coolest job ever for anyone who has a passion for music.
3. Penny Martin. The Gentlewoman is hands down the most important women's magazine out there. Penny has been able to create an aesthetic and feelings with her magazine that no other publication has been able to do. The content is both relevant and up to date, while also being timeless. The images are absolutely stunning and the whole direction overall is perfect, she nailed it. It's the tasteful woman's bible.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH means embodying a cool, smart and powerful woman. Being true to your own style and sense of self, while inspiring others to do the same. I think girls everywhere should have this mentality. Oftentimes, we try too hard to be someone else or to look like someone else or to have what someone else has. It's about being happy with who you are, what you've been given and what you can do with what you have.
Photos by: Vanessa Granda