Times as we all know lately can feel murky and dark, but with a beam of light such as Emma Kelley, the world's future seems a bit brighter. Emma is a perfect match to partner up with Foxy's and we are so honored to be able to have the opportunity. Like the lotus that we've added to our logo this year, Emma is like the lotus flower that blooms brighter when in the murkier of waters. She's coming into full bloom at the University of Arkansas in her senior year this year. We spent the day with Emma recently and to get to know her a little better. We are excited to share with you her interview below!
1. How many siblings do you have, and are they all gymnasts? I have 3 older sisters. Two out of 3 grew up gymnasts. McKenna went to LSU for gymnastics, Shayla went to Baylor for acrobatics and tumbling, and Skyla started as a gymnast and went to competitive cheer. So all in the realm of flipping!
2. When and where did you first start gymnastics? I started when I was around 2 years old at a mommy and me classes. Then I believe the first gym I started at was called Stars Gymnastics in Houston, Texas.
3. Did your mother ever coach you? Never!! My mom was against crossing those boundaries of she's my mother and not my coach. She was willing to support, almost in a way favoring us to quit. She did not want us to ever feel pressured. She actually never wanted her girls to pursue gymnastics, but us girls just naturally felt born into it.
4. Who are your role models? My older sisters are my true role models. They've help shape who I've become today. They taught me what is wrong and they've taught me what is right. They've taught me to be independent and to live on my own, and how to lean on others also, when I need to. They are my best friends!
5. Where do you go to college, what year are you in, and what are you majoring in? I go to the University of Arkansas in Fayettville. I'm a senior in college, and my major is hospitality in business and minor in events.
6. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to? Maui! Mainly because of the hospitality experience I've had. The service was spot on at the Ritz Carlton in Maui Kapalua.
7. What is your favorite gymnastics memory? When me and all of my sisters would win a different age group at West Virginia State Meet. We all won 1st place and its still a record that's not been beaten to this day. Deep down inside is when I won Level 9 Westerns and my mom had a huge line waiting around for her autographs and pictures. I tried to run up to her but could not because the crowd was so big. Mom pushed her way through the crowd to me to give me a hug. It made me feel really special for her to favor me over her fans. It was really impactful and I will never forget that.
8. What are your plans when you graduate and will you stay involved with gymnastics? After gym I plan on immediately being involved in the hospitality program and hopefully managing or working a hotel and definitely no gym involved. I gave a huge part of my life to gymnastics and now want to give a huge part of myself to my future!
9. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Church groups, athletic department, student athletic groups, also my major keeps me pretty busy by always hosting events. Without my major I probably wouldn't be as busy as I am now because we are always hosting events so I'd count that as a hobby. But if I were being completely what I love most is playing with puppies. That is my #1 hobby!
10. What one piece of advice would you give to gymnasts? Follow what you want your heart to do and never ever feel pressured by anyone else. In the gymnastics world parents can get crazy so just make sure you are always listening to what it is that your heart wants to do.
11. What is a day in the life of Emma Kelley like? I wake up earlier then anybody else. I set like 5 alarms so that I can snooze the one alarm I actually need to wake up to. As soon as I wake up I brush my teeth and then I make myself coffee and then I clean the dishes from the night before. I make breakfast and then go to the gym, eat lunch, then go to class, then I do my recovery. After all of that I come home, maybe hang out with my boyfriend, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat.....
12. What is your favorite event? My favorite event to compete is vault. My favorite event to train is bars. I like to compete vault because it's the quickest, it's done the fastest so less stress-time, and bars is just fun!
13. What are your biggest accomplishments in gymnastics? Making a name for myself. I've been called Mary Lou Retton's daughter for my whole entire life and being called Emma Kelley is probably the biggest accomplishment I've made for myself. It's really nice hearing my own name.
14. Tell us more about your recent found faith and how it has affected your life? When I came to college my faith was pretty steady and I always grew up going to church. But when I met my boyfriend, he definitely drew me closer to the Lord, and we got connected to a church. Shortly after, we got connected with a coupled sermon/group and ever since that I've realized that my connection with God was in the process of growing. So then I invited some friends to church with us, and those friends invited their friends, and from there our group has really grown. Nothing is better then growing in community with the Lord's word! We are growing now together as one and we are now a group of people shining light and it's the most amazing thing to see and be part of. It's hard to do but if you make an impact on one person's life that can make an impact on a million people's life. Nothing is more amazing then seeing God's work and life actually shining through such a huge group of people.
Foxy's is looking forward to another fun meet up with Emma soon. Stay tuned for more photos and more with the very talented, grounded, and inspiring Emma Jean Kelley! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and our email for more up-to-date news with Foxy's Leotards. See the rest of MLR + EJK Collection here!