Emma Norton is a social media sensation. She has grown up around Golden Retrievers and is currently the owner of a five-year-old Golden named Ruby. Ruby was a gift from a family friend and quickly established a reputation as the best snuggler around.
As COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were put in place, it did not take long for Emma to find a creative outlet to showcase her passion for dancing, acting, singing, and storytelling. She was inspired by the versatility of the wildly popular app TikTok and began making original content. Emma has gone viral with a verified account of over 5 million followers and over 100 million likes. Emma talks to K9 Magazine about her passion for dogs, life and storytelling.
Tell us all about all the dogs you've loved in your life. (this is your chance to tell us everything about your dogs, past or present. Names, ages, breeds - we want to know everything!)
I was three years old when we got our first family dog, Rosie (a golden retriever). My Mom’s family had a beloved golden retriever, so we were already crazy about the breed. My older sister, Julia, had been asking for a dog for years…but she got me instead!
We ultimately teamed up and finally got one! Rosie was the sweetest and most loving dog, and she moved to Denver with us in 2011.
Rosie, who we often referred to as “Rosebud,” needed a playmate. I started working on my parents to get a new puppy in 2014. A close friend of my mom’s named Beth agreed with me, and she sent Ruby on an airplane (with a human!) right before Christmas in 2015.
She was the best gift I’ve received in my life! She arrived with a giant red bow on her collar and was this precious little furball. I’ll never forget meeting her for the first time at the Denver airport.
Rosie and Ruby spent a little over a year together until Rosie passed. Thank goodness for my persistence to get a puppy - it would have been horrible to experience life without a dog when Rosie passed away!
We also love Winston, Ruby’s best friend, who stays with us frequently. Winston is a large male Golden who loves to wrestle with Ruby and loves to play the “deadweight” game when he doesn’t want to go back inside. Nearly every family in our neighbourhood has a dog, so Ruby has a lot of friends.
But Winston is the king! We also have a really funny singing yellow lab named Finn who lives across the street. Finn comes over for frequent visits and tries to steal Ruby’s dog toys!
You're obviously a huge dog lover. How long have dogs been a major part of your life and how would you explain the importance of dogs to someone who hadn't ever experienced the joy of a canine/human relationship in their life?
I recently turned 17, so I have had a dog for 80% of my life. Whenever I walk in the house, Ruby is so happy to see me - sometimes she even makes a noise like she is crying she is so happy. There’s no better feeling than those reunions, and roughhousing and snuggling with Ruby.
My parents understand that I need my Ruby time, and I will eventually get around to saying hello to them! It’s such a deep connection, such unconditional love.
What are your favourite things to do with your dog(s)?
We live near a beautiful walking trail, and I have a favourite spot where we rest and take in the gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains. Ruby loves being with us as much as possible, so we take her in the car a lot.
She sits in the front passenger seat, and we call her “the Captain” when doing so. She loves going to Dunkin Donuts, where they make her a “puppacino” (whipped cream in a small cup!).
You have a really interesting career. What advice would you give to the many people who wanted to follow your path in career terms? What are the absolute best (and worst) things about your work?
It’s so rewarding to see my creative ideas and characters come to reality when I post videos on TikTok.
My advice to people who want to become a creator - don’t ever hesitate to be as creative as you can be. It’s so rewarding to see your creative ideas come to life. Following trends is a good way to start, but make sure to put your own personal spin on whatever you do.
The bad part of the work is that “haters” come with the territory. Most comments I receive are incredibly supportive, but you have to have enough self-worth and pride in what you’ve done to fend off the negativity.
Here are our quick-fire questions, are you ready?
Which do you prefer and why? Big dogs or little dogs?
Big dogs! Seeing a dozen goldens jumping in our neighbourhood pool on the last day of the season makes my face hurt from smiling so much!
Calm, relaxed dogs or dogs who live at 100mph?
Excluding puppies, I prefer relaxed dogs, though always up for playing.
Dogs who do as they're asked most of the time or dogs who do pretty much whatever they like whenever they like?
I like dogs that can do what I ask - but I can relate to a strong personality and rascally behaviour!
Dogs who love to walk by your side or dogs who like to race off and cover ten thousand yards in 3 seconds?
I like dogs that walk by my side - though an occasional detour is totally okay!
Days off or days at work?
It’s in my nature to stay busy.
The fastest route or the scenic route?
I always turn toward the more scenic route - even if it takes longer.
Nighttime or early morning?
I try to get an early start on my creative work every day.
Describe the last time you laughed out loud because of something you saw a dog do?
I laughed so hard at a video my dad sent me. It featured a golden retriever who didn’t want to leave the beach. When his owner began walking away from the water, the dog fell on the sand and pretended to be dead weight.
Reminded me so much of Ruby’s best friend, Winston!
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I enjoy music, writing, and hiking (or skiing) in a beautiful outdoor spot in Colorado.
Let us in on a secret that very few people know about you?
I am a daredevil when it comes to skiing. I like to ski as fast as possible.
What is your current favourite…?
Tyler the Creator - Igor
La La Land
If you had to choose just one, what product or service would you say has most changed your life do you think and why? (can be technology, beauty, food, pet-related, book - anything)
I have to choose special-effects makeup in order to create a never-ending supply of characters for my creative videos.
Tell us about some of your most memorable moments from your work?
I once had a fan draw me on their carpet. Watching them create an image on the carpet pile was really creative! On the encouraging side, I’ve received communications from some of my idols in the entertainment industry.
Finish the following sentence, "dogs are...."
Dogs are humans’ partners in crime!
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires some serious thought….If dogs had the ability to speak and you could ask your dog just one question and one question only, what would you ask them and what do you think that they'd say?
I would ask Ruby what goes through her brain when she sees my suitcase because I am going away for a week or two?
Ruby would tell me that when she sees my suitcase, she stands by the door because she wants to go with me. She worries when I don’t come home, and she expresses how much she misses me.
She tells me she can’t help herself from going bonkers when she finally hears my voice again because now she is the happiest dog in the world… and she can see how happy I am too!
Thanks, Emma! What are you currently working on that our readers need to know about?
I’m very focused on using my platform to bring more good into the world - an area I hope to focus on more in the future. Charity Water and Brought to Reality are two wonderful organizations I support.
I’ve been working for years on my #1 goal, to be a film and TV actor. And hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to direct film/TV projects one day in the future.
I’ve always been a big fan of fashion and makeup. One day I hope to have my own fashion and makeup lines.
All photography (c) Rhyan Schaff.