Emma Roberts on Conquering Confidence in Her 30s

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Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


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Emma Roberts is getting real about embracing inner confidence.

Along with starring in a slew of upcoming productions and accidentally starting one of 2021's most hilarious memes, the actress also recently launched a new campaign partnership with Express, 30 Seconds to Confidence, inspired by her evolving relationship with clothing and self-image.

According to Roberts, the Express campaign intends to spread positivity on social media and inspire others to take on their own feel-good rituals. "I feel like [embodying confidence] is so important, especially now, where we live our lives so much online—to see things that make you feel good and to be able to express things that make you feel good," Roberts says. "I just love that [this campaign] is encouraging people to not only share what makes them feel confident with clothing, but also what makes them feel confident in everyday life."

Reaffirming others' individual and unique radiance is especially needed in an alienating digital age climate, Roberts adds. "I feel like anything on social media that can be positive and lifting other people up, and, like, encouraging confidence and happiness, is really important, because the Internet can be such a dark place at times," she says. "We've been in a world where there's been lots of bad news in the last year and a half, so to spread something that's light and fun, and makes people feel good about themselves, is especially important right now."

Roberts's own confidence ritual comes in the form of a solid morning routine: the occasional workout, daily morning coffee fix, and, above all, designated "Emma" time. "It's so important to set yourself up for the day," she says. "I cannot wake up without having my coffee and my me-time." She also enjoys expressing herself with her everyday clothing choices, which change day by day with her mood from tie-dye duds to vintage T-shirts to her staple brown boots.

Throughout lockdown, time at home fostered a revelation that what she chooses to wear is something for her to feel good about. Getting dressed every morning became her one semblance of normalcy amid a pandemic era that's become increasingly anything but. "In the last year, where I spent most of my time at home, it really helped me when I was feeling kind of overwhelmed or down to get dressed up for the day and kind of act as though I was going somewhere," Roberts shares. "I started doing my house with stuff a day on Instagram, as a way to just kind of put myself together and not get into this slump of not leaving the house. And then, I started having fun with getting up in the morning and putting on a face mask and a little makeup, and also just an outfit that made me feel excited for the day—instead of wearing the same sweatpants every day like I had been doing."

As a new mom, her sense of self has been further strengthened and reflected in her evolving fashion choices. Her pregnancy body helped put her self-image into greater perspective, not easily succumbing to external pressure of keeping her garments pristine. "I am definitely less precious with my clothes, because they're going to end up very dirty by the end," Roberts says. "By the end of my pregnancy, I couldn't even fit into pregnancy jeans, and I was so tired of wearing stretchy pants. So finally, when I could put on a pair of jeans—granted, they were much bigger than they were before—it was just so nice to really feel like myself again," Roberts shares. "I've been wearing jeans a lot now, because I couldn't for so long."

The now 30-year-old actress continues to thrive in both the industry and at home. Last December, she gave birth to her son, Rhodes Robert Hedlund, whom she shares with boyfriend, actor, and model Garrett Hedlund; wrapped up an exciting romantic comedy with costar Thomas Mann; and has stayed ever involved in her passion project, Belletrist's Book Club, where she facilitates the production of her favorite books into film adaptations.

Barring the labels and achievements behind her, Roberts's self-confidence radiates in a way that is evident when she shows up as herself. And what better testament to a strong sense of self than the ability to take a joke? Following her iconic Scream Queens meme, a new Emma-centered meme entered the premises of the Internet: that aforementioned 2021 gag. A "candid" video of Emma posing on the beach went viral on Instagram with a slew of hilarious out-of-context captions. There’s a level of intrinsic self-assurance that comes with surrendering control of what the external world imposes and taking things less seriously—even if those "things" include herself. "[These memes] have always taken me by surprise in a way that I can only laugh at it," Roberts says. "If we live our lives on the Internet, then we have to be able to laugh at ourselves."

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