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EMMI KAINULAINEN


PHOTO: DAVE PUENTE

Who are you?
I’m an optimistic creator and idea bank who doesn’t think there are limits for things we can do and achieve. At the same time I’m an endless dreamer, sauna yoga enthusiast, hopeless romantic… and a shameless rosé lover. Not an alcoholic, there’s a fine line.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be an astronaut, astronomer and architect. I remember cutting articles from magazines about the comet Hale-Bopp and I had a “star machine” in my room that I used to watch… I’m from a little country town, I loved to lay on the field, watch the stars and dream. I was always planning on something, drawing or “designing”, I even took orders from my classmates as a 7-year-old to create them shoes from pieces of wood!

Education?
Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design.

What does success mean to you?
Success to me means being able to have time for the people and things you love, to work in a field that doesn’t even feel like work, to do the things for living that you would be doing on your free time anyway. I love being able to bring positivity to people’s lives and encourage them to dream bigger.

What quote inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?
“What would you do if you could not fail?”

What does the world need more of?
The world needs more belief in the mental power that we all have. We could achieve so much more and be a lot HAPPIER if we realized that there is enough for everyone, and all of us have different dreams.

Name a woman whom you admire or look up to.
Marie Forleo (media), Kelly Wearstler (interiors), Garance Dore (illustrations), Miroslava Duma (tech), Heidi Klum (brand). Superwomen, all in different fields, who have been so courageous and believed in their vision and worked their asses off for it.

PHOTO: DAVE PUENTE

What characteristics do you most admire in other creative women?
I admire the strength to put your work out there, even though you “are not ready yet”. The truth is, we would never get anything done if we waited until we were ready for it. You just need to START.

What’s your favorite thing to come home to after a long day of work?
I work mostly from my home office, so it’s hard to draw the line between free time and work hours. Usually I work out and run all the errands in the morning, and work until 9 or 10pm. After that, I’m the most excited to take a loooooooong bath almost every night, with a glass of riesling (and 2 liters of icewater!) and a pile of fashion/design magazines and books.

Which of your traits are you the most proud of?
I’m the most proud of my excitement about new ideas, I sometimes don’t even know where I get them, mostly just by listening to my inner voice and the gut feeling. Also the courage to execute the ideas.

Name your greatest success in your career.
Right now I just got my extraordinary ability work visa in the States as the Creative Director of our company Fedited Oy LLC, and finally able to do creative work in the States – where I live most of the year! I’m so so thankful and happy that we’ve been able to create such a company culture, vision and plan in such a short time. When it comes to being a model, I was so happy about getting a model visa here a few years back, and being able to do modeling in Finland while studying. In visual art and design, I’m always so thankful when someone is so in love with my creations that they are willing to pay for the artwork or design piece. Thankful, thankful, thankful.

What surprises people most about you?
Probably that I curse like an old sailor. And that I’m not as mean and serious and selfish as my instagram might tell, haha…

What was your first job?
I was 16 and had a summer job in a kindergarten before heading to Paris/London/Brighton for a language course… And I didn’t speak or understand a word in English back then, and the British accent.. I still couldn’t understand it. I started modeling when I was 18, and at the same time I started working in a candy shop. That was a fucked up combo.

Who is your style icon and why?
Lauren Hutton. So classic beauty, ageless style, shining her light… Just eternally stunning.

What are you most grateful for?
I’m the most grateful for my loving, healthy, fun family.

What’s the weirdest thing about you?
What’s normal in me?

What are you excited for when you wake up in the morning?
I’m excited to be able to take steps towards my dreams every single day. And to be able to be with the people I love. And with my furry puppy!

Did you go to college? If so, would you recommend it? Why or why not?
Yes, I went to Metropolia UAS in Helsinki and Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis. To me, it was a challenging time because my love life was on the other side of the world than my school life.. And I was kind of doing 50/50 both. I’m that kind of person who’d love to do everything at least 100 percent at a time, so being unable to do that, while constantly being told that “I’m not enough” was so fucking hard. But I made it through, and now I’m finally able to LIVE my love/work life in the same country, wohoo!!

What do you want to be doing in ten years?
I want to be growing our businesses (media house Fedited, design house CHAINE and my art business Atelier Emmi Kainulainen), having our offices in LA, NYC and Helsinki, living in LA for most of the year with my family, traveling for work and for fun (with zero emissions!) and being happy and successful.

What’s the best thing about what you do?
The best thing in my work is to be able to create, light up people’s days.

 

The best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

 

PHOTO: DAVE PUENTE

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