Jacqueline Emerson: Hunger Games, Stanford, and more

At just 17-years-old, Jacqueline Emerson is starring in the biggest movie of the year, The Hunger Games, preparing to go off to college, and managing to live life like a normal teenager! A brilliant actress, singer, and student, it is safe to say this girl is on her way to big things!

Zooey Magazine: I hear you got into Stanford! That’s incredible, congratulations! Jacqueline Emerson: Thank you! I’m really excited.

ZM: Are you going to go? JE: I’m definitely going to go. I’m either going to go next year or the year after, just because everything is kind of taking off right now so I’m thinking about deferring. But, I’m very excited because that was my first choice. I went in for Early Action, and I got in. So, I had to email all the other colleges and was like, “Sorry!”

ZM: So tell us, what does a day in the life of Jacqueline look like? JE: Well, every day I go to school. I’m a senior. I’m a singer/songwriter. I just released my second music video called “Catch me if you can”.

I love playing piano and hanging out with my friends. I am obsessed with Disney movies. Tangled. Enchanted. I have always wanted to be Giselle from Enchanted, because I want my life to be a musical. I’m in drama ensemble. So this entire quarter I’ve been going to rehearsal every day after school for my school play. However, I am not acting in it because I had to miss the first week of shows for press tours. But, I’m assistant-directing it. So that’s been a great experience.

Recently I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool events and meet people that I have always looked up to. That’s been amazing.

I’m definitely a family person. I’m like the only teenager in the world who doesn’t want to leave their family. My parents are my best friends. My sisters are my best friends. I love my family so much.

ZM: So, when you go to Stanford are you moving out by yourself? JE: Well, yeah. But the good thing is, is that it’s only a half an hour plane flight away. It’s not like I’m going to New York or somewhere as far as that.

ZM: Do you have a bucket list? And if so, what is on it? JE: I would LOVE to work with [Martin] Scorsese, at any point in my life. I just love his work so much. Other than that, everything is pretty much just acting and singing related. I want to perform on the Staples Center stage. The only concerts I’ve ever been to, have been there. It’s always been that pinnacle for me. Also, I have to be on the Ellen Show. That is definitely on my bucket list. I love her show, it’s my favorite.

ZM: After this huge movie comes out (The Hunger Games), what’s next for you? JE: I’m hopefully going to be going back into the studio and recording some more music. I wasn’t able to go on any more auditions first semester, because I was applying to colleges. But, I just signed with a new manager, so I plan on going on more auditions. So, hopefully I’ll have a new project pretty soon.

ZM: Which did you fall in love with first? Was it music or was it acting? JE: It was literally exactly the same time for both. Because the first thing I ever did in either of them was the musical Annie, when I was six years old. That’s when I fell in love with both singing and acting. After that I started going to musical theater acting camp over the summer. I really just fully immersed myself in it.

ZM: Do you have a preference, if you had to choose just one? JE: No, actually I love them both pretty equally. I feel very fortunate that at the moment I’m in a position to come into the industry with both on my plate and I’m not going to be pressured into one or the other.

ZM: So, your “Catch Me if You Can” video just dropped, how has that been so far? JE: I’m just really excited. I’m happy that it’s been so well received by everybody. It is also a different sound from my last video, so that’s cool to show that I can be sort of diverse. Hopefully I can get back in the studio to start working towards [an album].

The first music video I released in November is called “Peter Pan.” It’s a song about how everyone in society kind of grows up too fast nowadays, so it’s about loving being a kid. Accepting your inner-child. And that’s more of an acoustic-ish song. “Catch me if you can” is the one that I just released. It has some of my friends, so you might recognize them. It is a lot more upbeat of a song, and it’s more of a pop song than the other.

ZM: Did you write the songs? Yeah, I did actually. Well, I fully wrote “Peter Pan” and I co-wrote “Catch me if you can.”

ZM: So when you do decide to go to Stanford, are you going to take a break from everything or continue working? JE: No, that’s the great thing about Stanford, that it is only a half an hour long flight. So, I can easily fly back down for auditions and stuff if I make it so I have Thursdays and Fridays free from school. I can still take auditions and I can still take off semesters here and there if I need to film, or to work on my music or something.

Education is very important to me, it is a top priority. No matter what, I’m definitely going to go to Stanford. It might take me a lot longer to finish school than it does other people, but I’m still going to go.

ZM: That is definitely admirable. Do you have a favorite quote that you also happen to live by? JE: Walk your own path and leave a trail. I love that one. Everyone is on their own journey and you shouldn’t compare yourself to anybody else. You’re an individual. You’re your own person. And you’re doing something different than everyone else. You’re on your own journey.

I also love “Be yourself,” which is so cheesy but I think it is very, very important. It’s hard now, with all the bullying that goes on. I think that is something that people need to learn to accept.

ZM: Speaking of bullying… being in high school and doing this huge movie, have people started to treat you differently? JE: Not really. I mean, I don’t really get treated that differently. It’s cool because the Hunger Games was the ”all-school read,” so everybody at my school read it. So everyone kind of knows what’s going on. But, my friends especially have just been so supportive, and just really great. I’m just happy that I have such great friends.

ZM: For a little change of pace, now, how would you describe your personal style? What you feel most comfortable in, or most beautiful in? JE: Comfortable: sweatpants. I have a really great pair of Juicy pants that I wear around my house constantly. I just love them, I love lounging around in them.

For going out, I think it’s important to have a really great pair of jeans that you love and you feel really comfortable in. everybody has a different pair of jeans that they love. I didn’t have one for the longest time, and I hated jeans. And then I got one over the summer that just fit me so well. They are Seven jeans, so now I’m like, okay! Jeans rock!

I love wearing dresses. I love sun dresses, party dresses. That’s why going to these events is so fun, I get to wear all these dresses. I also love a good pair of boots. Any boots, as long as they are comfortable. They don’t even have to have a heel.

You can follow her on Twitter: @jackie_emerson.

Photographed by Vince Trupsin Hair and Make Up: Adam Breuchard Stylist: Sophia Banks Coloma Interviewed by Kayla Aldecoa