Emily-Rachael Atunrase is the latest muse in our portrait/interview series Muses Surround Us with Emily "Birdie" Busch. A link to all the interviews is at the end of this page.
Interview and fashion photographs by Emily "Birdie" Busch. Event images credit: Empress Luxury Events on Instagram @empress.luxevents
When one meets Emily-Rachael Atunrase for the first time you are struck by her charisma. She is outwardly, beaming, ready to converse, an effortless extrovert, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that her goal was to launch her own event planning business. It started in September of 2021 when she landed the job of working for talent backstage at the Made in America Festival.
That event was her first official booking as Empress Luxury Events LLC, but it was in the Spring of 2021 where the seeds of the business were planted. Scheduled to emcee her friends’ wedding, she stepped in in the umpteenth hour when the global pandemic, wreaking havoc on the event industry, suddenly left the couple without their previous event planner leadership. She jumped into the mix and was doing everything from decorations to music to management of the flow of the day. She led with gusto and grace and had somewhat of a “thrown into the fire” first experience.
Reflecting back on the wedding and her role she realized that it was quite natural for her. She had years of experience in house management and food and beverage and proceeded to build on the idea that would become Empress Luxury Events. She now has planned events ranging from weddings to proposals, birthdays to picnics. Her next step is to procure a company vehicle to accommodate supplies and decorations with more ease.
National Picnic fans might recognize Emily-Rachael from some more recent photographs of our current collections. As we got to know her more we realized she had past experience modeling for both runway and catalogue. We asked her about the history of that and her reaction was a bit eye roll, a bit gratitude given. The modeling felt more of her mother’s desires than her own at the time. Self-identifying as more of a tom-boy, she didn’t connect initially with the role. But in the end the push and pull of finding her own journey with it made her realize as a young adult that it got her out and about from her somewhat sheltered upbringing, making trips to NYC and experiencing a lot that helped her become herself. You can totally see it. Equal parts grounded and both ready to fly. It was a joy to document a woman who is at the crux of taking her experiences and strengths and building them into her own vision.
You can follow Empress Luxury Events on Instagram @empress.luxevents
You can reach Emily and learn all about Empress Luxury Events and the services they provide at empressluxuryevents.com
What is a career/creative moment you are proud of?
In September of this year I opened my business "Empress Luxury Events" and purchased my first home! The decision was definitely an all around challenging transition but I am so proud I was able to meet my deadlines & goals while kick-starting my business by booking notable work & executing several successful events!
What are you listening to now? What are you looking at? What recipe you feeling?
What I'm listening to always depends on what I'm doing! Different moods and activities definitely call for different playlists, but for the most part, my go-to is afrobeats! I have always had a strong connection to African music and love to dance. Recently, I have been listening to different Lo-Fi Chill Beats while creating. Music has always motivated me to get things done and sometimes helps to clear my mind when crafting, planning, or cooking!
Speaking of cooking, It's soup season! The weather got cold so quickly this year, so lately I've been eating alot of soups, spicy noodle dishes and comfort food!
How do you define your own personal style or approach to clothes?
I'm always on the go, so comfort is definitely important for me when it comes to clothes. My style is influenced by several different cultures and I really just wear whatever I like most of the time so most people may define my style as eclectic.
What would be your advice to a teenage girl clothing and style wise that you wish you had received?
If I had to give a younger girl advice it would be to dress how you want to be approached! There is nothing wrong with expressing and dressing the way that you feel but you have to remember that in this society where "first impressions are everything" your wardrobe is a powerful tool if utilized correctly. Dress to impress not because it's what a lady "should" do, but because of what that "could" do.