The Girls!

Emmy Perry

Animal ActivistMonarch Beach, CAStory and Photos by Lauri LevenfeldHair & Makeup by Veronica Fensel

Meeting Emmy Perry is truly an amazing moment. Seeing the compassion and passion that emanate from her deep, brown eyes is life-changing, as there is such a clear understanding in someone at such a young age in how the world can be better, and that what little you can do (or  lot) makes a clear and important difference. Perry, who has dedicated her life to saving dogs and giving back to her community, walks us through the steps in taking action..

.. towards ideas, concept, and causes you believe in. And it’s true, that we all can pave the way, change the course, and devote ourselves to something special just through the desire and time we choose to give. This is a perfect story for the holidays and for looking into the new year and how we all can make a difference in 2017.
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1. Who are you? And what were you like as a little girl?

I am a fun loving, goofy girl,  who enjoys every moment without taking life too seriously, and tries to help others do the same! I love my family and I’m forever grateful for the compassion they created in me since she was a baby in a baby sling, watching my Mom and Dad volunteer many hours at the shelter. I am a very loyal friend, some describe me as loyal to a fault, and I am not afraid to stand up for what or who I believe in, even if at times it’s not the “cool” thing to do! I have always loved performing and feel blessed and grateful for the opportunities I have had so far. I look forward to what the future holds. My biggest passion is saving animals, and I spend a lot of my free time volunteering at the shelter and spreading awareness about the importance of adoption. The best gift I could ever receive is the gift of knowing that I have made a difference in peoples’ and pets’ lives.

 

2. How did Emmy’s Hope begin? Tell us about the name.

I grew up helping my parents at our local shelters, watching my Mom and Dad rescue dogs and I wanted to be just like them. I remember seeing so many animals in need of help and homes, and I wanted to do my part. So at 6 years old, I sat on Santa’s lap, and he asked me what I wanted for Christmas,  I told him I want to save more dogs. When my Mom and Dad heard this they knew that this was something that I felt was really important, so they helped me create Emmy’s Hope. I remember sitting down with them and brainstorming about different ideas and I said to my Mom “I hope that I can save them all”, and my parent’s loved that, and from that we came up with Emmy’s Hope. My mission statement is “Emmy’s hope is that every animal in their lifetime will feel forever loved.” and I will continue “Saving animals one heart at a time!”.

 

3. How did such an intense passion and commitment start at such a young age and what were the small to large steps you took to make an impact?

My Mom and Dad have always been real with me, and while of course protecting my heart, they never sheltered me from sad things. They believe the more you know of what is going in this world, the more you feel grateful for what you have, and the more you want to help others. I’ll never forget as a little girl, being at the shelter and seeing those sweet eyes looking through me, I would sit there and talk to them and pet them through the bars, and my heart just melted when they would reach back at me, as if to say please take me home, save me. I remember dogs that I would visit and a few days later they would be gone, and I would wonder if they got to go to good homes, or if they just didn’t make it.  I also wanted to make the time they were at the shelter less scary and sad and more comforting. I couldn’t sit there and do nothing, my heart wouldn’t let me.

Since I can remember for every birthday I would ask that instead of birthday gifts my friends would either donate to the shelter or get needed items off their wish list. Also in Kindergarten I came up with the idea for a service project to collect gently used blankets for the shelter, which they have kept going.

Since then I have continued with blanket, toy, food drives, throughout different times each year. I also donate to the shelter when I can, most recently I was able to give my entire pay for the last movie that I filmed, it felt amazing. I go to the shelter regularly and take pictures of the dogs and get their information and network them on social media, I also monitor the dogs on the shelter’s list to see which dogs run out of time and need immediate help. In those cases if we are able to pull them ourselves we do, and we take care of their vetting and training if necessary, and foster until we find them the perfect forever homes.

I filmed a national commercial with Kleenex, who surprised me and sponsored a free adoption weekend, which was amazing, and even Ryan Seacrest has reached out to me and donated to help us save lives. I have also been given the opportunity to be a spokesperson for the importance of adoption with the Helen Woodward Foundation and have been invited to speak to our local government and county council members on behalf of our homeless pet population. I think that the best thing we can do is to spread awareness about the importance of adoption and rescue, and I am blessed with the many outlets I have had to do so.

 

4. Who are your role models/ mentors?

Wow that’s a tough one, I look up to a number of people! I admire Meryl Streep, I think that she is an amazing actress, and I love how she devotes herself to each character she plays.  I wanted to be just like Barbra Streisand when I was little, my first solo ever was “Don’t Rain On My Parade”  I still think that she is one of the most talented women in the business, and I love how she stayed true to herself and was not willing to change who she was, even though they said that she would not be successful if she did not. I also have so much respect for Audrey Hepburn, she was one of Hollywood’s finest, and what is most impressive about her to me is that she always gave of herself to help others. From everything that I have read about her, I truly believe her beauty came from within and it couldn’t help but shine through, she was gorgeous inside and out. My biggest role model is my Mom, she always puts others before her, and I have never known a day without her love and support. She is so passionate about life and helping others, she is super fun and she lives love!

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5. Where do you see your organization going and what is your best advice for others trying to pave their way with their own “pet” projects?

I want to continue to help and save as many dogs as I can and I have also partnered with other rescues, as they say, two hands are better than one. I would love to write a children’s book series about the tales of some of the dogs we have saved and maybe even do dolls to go along with them, with 100% of the proceeds to go back to the animals. While at the same time sharing the gift of empathy and compassion with kids , in hopes that they are inspired to help in whatever way they can! My biggest thing I like to tell others who would like to help, is nothing is too little, if you care you can make a difference. Research and find out where your local shelters or rescues are located and contact them to see how you can help, whether it’s things they need or most importantly your time. My Mom always says, Adopt, if you can’t adopt, Donate, if you can’t donate, Volunteer, if you can’t volunteer, share the importance of adopting and rescuing. And if you have a pet, promise to love them forever!

 

6. You’re also an actress, tell us about what you love and are currently working on.

I love being in an industry where others are just as passionate as I am, from the actors to the directors to the crew, in any aspect of this business you truly have to have a love for it to keep going and stay strong. My latest project was a feature film called Scales, Mermaids are Real. I play Siren Philips, a girl who is not only dealing with the pressures of growing up but also finding out that on her 12th birthday she becomes a mermaid. It was really challenging at times with having to do beach and tank scenes in a tail, but it was so much fun at the same time. I got to work with my dear friends Jack Grazer and Nikki Hahn, who I am blessed to have in my life, and I learned so much from my on screen Mom played by Elisabeth Rohm.

7. What has been the hardest part about working in the world of film and theater? The best part?

Well theater and film for me are so different, yet so similar. I love the instant gratification of the applause in theater and the reactions you hear from the audience, but on the other hand you get one shot and all eyes are on you, there are no second takes, until the next show with a completely different audience. I enjoy working on films, because I love the aspect of growing the character in each scene and getting to work off of other talented actors,.I love when I read a scene and in my head I feel like my character would obviously do things this way, and then, you get on set and something changes whether it’s a director’s note or your fellow actor takes it in a different direction and you get lost in that moment. I think with filming movies, one of the more challenging aspects is that you don’t film in sequence so you really have to dive into who your character is, because you may be filming the last scene on the first day and to come across as authentic you really have to be that person because it’s almost like a time warp. In life we react because of things that have happened to us, but in film, we may not have experienced that yet even though it’s in the script.

 

8. You love Tim Burton, cos play, and special effects makeup…tell us more about your fashion sense, can you share any amazing brands or sites that reflect your style?

I do love Tim Burton, cosplay, special effects makeup, I love the creativity and originality of it all! My dream is to be in a Tim Burton film one day or at least meet him! As far as fashion I love being unique and not necessarily following the current trends, I would say a lot of what I wear each day, I decide based on how I feel and what I’m comfortable in. I do love the whole Harajuku thing and I also love a little darker styles, my favorite stores are Dolls Kill and Glitter for Dinner, but if I’m feeling Boho Chic I gravitate towards Anthropology.

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9. What are girls your age thinking about today?

I can say for myself; I’m thinking I need to put my heart into everything I do because hard work and dedication brings success. I think about how important it is to give back, I think what am I doing to help make this world a better place, what is cool? And why do we need any labels, I truly believe we are all special and unique and important and we should all embrace that truth. I’m thinking I love who I am and I would never change it and I wish that all girls felt that way. I’m thinking we are all in this together and growing up can be a hard thing, so we need to lift each other up!

10. What are your dreams for 2017?

My dreams for 2017 are to continue to work more as an actress, to spend more quality time with friends, to travel with my family and make amazing memories, and to celebrate my Dachsy (Angel, one of my four dogs) 18th  birthday. And of course, to continue to be blessed and able to save more lives….as my passion is to save dogs, but my dream is one day I won’t have to!  

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