Wonderland.

EMELIA HARTFORD

The multifacet talks juggling her extensive list of titles, starring in one of Netflix’s most successful Christmas movies and her advice to women across the globe.

To say that you’ve starred in a film that has graced the Netflix Top 10 list is an accolade that many talents would dream of. Well, for Emelia Hartford, this is just one of the many milestones she has managed to pass with ease during her triumphant career journey. A multifacet worthy of the name, the young entrepreneurial spirit has dominated multi-industry spaces, which has seen her latest stint in the heart-warming A California Christmas: City Lights grace Netflix’s coveted Top 10 ranking as well as stir up a well-respected name for herself in the allusive automobile industry with the help of her successful YouTube channel. And, if all of the above wasn’t enough, Hartford has taken it upon herself to embody the notion of a boss, something most evident in her uber-successful brand Hartford Ltd, one that has not only smashed sales records but one with a socially-conscious core, which donates part of its proceeds to the impeccable cause, Project Healthy Minds.

“My mind is constantly racing, so writing things down helps a lot, but also having a structure – so prioritising a list of to-do’s for each business, time blocking, and being very clear on a 1-year and a 5-year plan,” explains the talent when contemplating her whirlwind career. “It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘to-do’s’ and stop focusing on why you’re doing them. Also, I don’t really see them as different careers. My goal since I started this was to become a leading actress with a speciality in automotive. Think like Dwayne Johnson except swap fitness for cars or Jay Leno, but acting instead of late-night and stand-up.”

Sitting down with Wonderland, Hartford took some time to reflect on her journey thus far and her childhood fascination with acting that ultimately led her to climb the Netflix ranks. Head below to enjoy our interview with Emelia Hartford…

Hey Emelia, where are we speaking to you from right now?
Good morning! Today I’m in Paris, France. I love it out here. One of my biggest sponsors is a French oil company, Motul, so I’m out here visiting the headquarters and stopping by the famous Le Mans racetrack.

What was the first thing you did this morning?
Drink a cup of coffee! One of my favourite things in the morning is having a cup of coffee in bed while I wake up and before heading straight to the gym to workout. In a perfect world, I get my workout in and have breakfast before the sun comes up, but it doesn’t always happen that way haha.

I want to start off by talking about acting! How did you get into that side of things?
Since as young as I can remember, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s certainly been no easy feat trying to break into this world. When I moved to LA, it took almost 10 years to even get my first small one-line role in a film. (Shout out to the ESX family for that opportunity!) I did everything I could, from sending a material packet of myself to every agent and manager in town, to casting workshops, to creating small projects with other students in class.

Talks us through your time working on A California Christmas: City Lights! And, how did it feel to see the project sit in Netflix’s top 10?
A California Christmas: City Lights was such a fun project to be involved in. The best part was playing a role that I wouldn’t normally go out for! Having the opportunity to play and build out the Lindsey character was not only a lot of fun, but a huge learning experience. Fortunately, my fellow cast mates and our wonderful director, Sean Piccinino, made this a very comfortable, almost family-feeling environment.

Do you have a dream role/genre that you’d love to take on in the future?
Hands down my dream role/ genre would be anything action with cars/ motorsports related. I’m so passionate about modifying and racing cars, that being able to blend both cars and action films would be a dream come true. Plus, growing up, there wasn’t a lot of female representation in the automotive industry, so being that role model for others is deeply personal to me.

And, how did you get into the car side of things? Talk us through your journey into this sphere!
Openly, I lost my dad at 15, so getting my driver’s license was a sense of freedom. It was all I could think about at the time. It was essentially an escape from a lot of tough things going on in my life. It wasn’t because of a male influence or anything like a lot would think. When looking at getting my first car, I turned to the internet for advice and then went down the rabbit hole of internet forums. I found myself knowing I needed something sporty, manual, and RWD. I ended up getting an Infiniti G35. I smoked the clutch on my drive home because I didn’t know how to drive stick, no joke. I then moved to Bloomington, Indiana, a college town about an hour south of Indianapolis, to live closer to my mum’s side of the family. Naturally, a town in the Midwest close to Indianapolis had a strong car scene. I stumbled into that and really found a new family. Without really knowing it, they helped me through a very hard time and were always there for me. In reality, the car community still is my family globally and I owe a lot to them and try to give back as much as I can.

Do you have a favourite car?
My hands down favourite car is a Ferrari F40, which carries a nice price tag of $2.8M… It’s on the vision board though haha.

You juggle a lot of different and successful careers! How do you keep on top of everything? Do you ever get overwhelmed?
Thank you! I think what I get overwhelmed with is often times feeling like there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything I want to get done, done. My mind is constantly racing, so writing things down helps a lot, but also having a structure – so prioritising a list of to-do’s for each business, time blocking, and being very clear on a 1-year and a 5-year plan. It’s easy to get caught up in the “to-do’s” and stop focusing on why you’re doing them. Also, I don’t really see them as different careers. My goal since I started this was to become a leading actress with a speciality in automotive. Think like Dwayne Johnson except swap fitness for cars or Jay Leno, but acting instead of late-night and stand-up.

Where do you think your entrepreneurial spirit stems from?
Losing my dad was a big wake up call for me. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and didn’t work. She went back to college to get a degree, while I worked quite a few part-time jobs, while also trying to go to school. Seeing how short life can be, I made it my mission to show that you don’t have to come from anything to succeed whatever it is in life you desire. Also, my dad was an entrepreneur, so I think it is in my blood.

Do you have any advice for women looking to start their own businesses?
My advice is two-fold: First, you can do it, don’t let your gender matter when achieving success in business. Second, before starting the business, do all the research you can. Fine-tune what your market is and what your demographic is. Are there people doing what you want to do now? If yes, what do you like about what they do and how can you improve? If no, why do people need what you’re “selling?” Write down your business plan. I’d also recommend getting an S corp or LLC set up. There are many ways to do something, so take my advice with a grain of salt. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Ultimately the most important thing is to just do. There’s no way to learn other than doing, so go for it and believe in yourself. Otherwise, no one else will.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
Oof. I’d probably want to tell myself that there is good in the world. People want to see others succeed. Life may seem hopeless at times, but it’s only to make you a stronger person so that you are ready when good things come your way. There is a rainbow after every storm. Have patience.

Hair
Richard Grant
Makeup
Jeni Chua
Wardrobe
Kevin Ericson
Photographer
Diana Ragland
EMELIA HARTFORD

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