As winner of HGTV Design Star (season 5) and then as star of her own HGTV show, Secrets From a Stylist, Emily Henderson showcased simple, modern design with a girl-next-door approachability like no other. The sought-after stylist professes a clean look that’s at once inspirational and realistic (she’s not afraid to shop in the bargain bin at the dollar store). And her friendly, no-frills voice has made Emily’s blog almost as popular as her interior design business.
Emily’s not afraid to let fans in on her personal life, either, as readers of her blog well know. And now, in a new original series, Emily Henderson is Pregnant, ulive gets up close and personal as Emily navigates the scary and sometimes less-than-fashionable world of pregnancy.
And when I say up close and personal, I mean it. She welcomes the cameras into her dressing room … and the delivery room. This isn’t the everything-is-perfect and my-whole-world-is-glowing view of those famed 40 weeks. This series is for real. And throughout it all, Emily’s wonderfully down-to-earth personality continues to capture our hearts.
Q: In the pregnancy workout episode — in which you look great, by the way — you definitely let the camera get close-up on those exercises. You’re also very honest about a lot of things on camera: how most of pregnancy is boring, how you’d kinda hoped for a girl … Do you ever feel shy on camera, or does it just come completely natural?
A: The only time I feel shy/uncomfortable on camera is if a client scripts me at all. If you ask me to say something and ‘suggest’ how I say it, then I feel fake, but if you just ask the question and let me answer in my own words, then I’m fine. It’s really easy for me to just be myself, but when other people try to predict how/what I say and put words in my mouth, then I become a nervous mess. I would be a terrible actor or ventriloquist puppet.
Q: Your tips on maternity fashion are really helpful. Do you have any items you bought during pregnancy that you’re still wearing, like those stretchy waist jeans?
A: Nope, I’m not wearing anything that I wore when I was pregnant except for all my non-maternity clothes that I somehow squeezed into whilst pregnant. Sure, the first 6 weeks I rocked those elastic wasted jeans or stretch pants, but I’m back to my jeans (not my skinny jeans, mind you). I wish I could wear those maternity jeans for the rest of my life, but there is that fear that my shirt will lift too high when I lift my arm and then that elastic band will be exposed. Oh the humiliation. There’s a time and a place for maternity and I think that 6 months post birth is probably not that time or place. I wore some jackets and blouses that weren’t maternity at all (because yes, maternity clothes are just the worst).
Q: At first, I thought the ultrasound party sounded kind of uncomfortable (apparently, this is the latest pregnancy trend), but when I saw your friends’ excitement and heard you talk about how they’d be the people helping you raise your child, it felt really sweet and special. So tell us, why did you decide to have a sonogram in your living room?
A: Well, to be honest, we wanted to film one for an episode of the web series but getting the cameras into a Dr.’s office proved to be more complicated. So we figured why not have them come to us and be able to control all of the variables? Yes, it was weird at first, but (a) my friends are like my family and (b) it wasn’t like it was a internal ultrasound. When you are trying to get pregnant for 3 years like I was, you look for ANY reason to celebrate and have some action in your life. Your social life changes a lot and I found myself bored a lot, so having people come over to celebrate this seemingly very personal and intimate situation really just was a lot of fun.
Q: The baby shower’s triangle theme was so simple and graphic, much like your design style. Did you come up with the theme or was that your friends’ idea? Did you help with any of the crafts or was that all them?
A: I didn’t do anything. They did it all. It was awesome. Scott, Orlando and Corbett know me SOOOO well, so it was a no brainer for them, although it clearly took a lot of time, effort and love. We are VERY, VERY lucky to have such friends.
Q: When Charlie came 10 days early and you had a camera in your face in the delivery room, did you regret the decision to allow the whole process to be filmed?
A: No. Not. At. All. Actually the opposite. I knew that they weren’t going to show the business end, but afterwards I was dying to see it for myself. So not only was I happy to have the video, but I wanted more footage and the graphic stuff. There is nothing to be ashamed of — instead I was so proud of what I had done. Your first birth is really intense and excruciating and magical and it’s hard for your brain and heart to process it, so you end up forgetting the details or not being able to take them all in in the first place. Having the video made me able to remember things that I would have forgotten but also to notice things that I didn’t in the first place. My job is weird, my life is weird, but I’m so glad that I am asked to record this — it’s like I’m being forced to keep a journal of every important or non-important thing that happens to me and in a weird way it’s a total gift.
Q: Watching the birth had me crying in my cubicle. Was it different from what you expected?
A: The amount of pain I was in, I thought that the video was going to be the inspiration for the next hit horror/gore film series. When I watched it, I seemed like I was hurting, sure, but it didn’t nearly reflect the pain that I actually felt. So yes, I didn’t think it really showed how intense it was, but I’m not sure anything could. I am just so grateful every single second of the day that I have that video. (And yes, I just re-watched it 2 minutes ago and I’m weeping again, too).
Q: I was pretty surprised that you brought Charlie home to an unfinished nursery to a house you moved into 5 days before the birth (all unintentionally, of course, since he came early). Being a stylist and, I’m guessing, somewhat of a perfectionist, was that difficult for you? How quickly were you able to start putting things together like you’d imagined?
A: I didn’t really care about the nursery. I knew that he was going to be sleeping in our room for the first few weeks anyway. I’m strangely a perfectionist but not at all at the same time — it’s a quality that makes my team REALLY confused constantly. Besides, once you have your first baby, all you care about is keeping it alive, so the fact that the shelves weren’t styled yet didn’t even occur to me. We also had the baby right around the holidays so I took 3 – 4 weeks off work and when Charlie slept (which was ALL THE TIME), I decorated my house. It was wonderful.
Q: In one episode, you mention that Charlie is your newest client. Has motherhood changed your perspective on work?
A: Yes, in SO many ways. First off, obviously motherhood has changed how much and how hard I want to work (I’ve now hired 2 new people to help), but it also affects how I design. I have tried to do kid-friendly so many times and often kinda successfully for other clients. But now I really know/want what kid-friendly is for myself and I’m definitely more committed to giving it to my clients. Life is too short for saying ‘DON’T TOUCH THAT’ constantly. I’m too low maintenance for that.
Q: You say that the number one thing you miss during pregnancy is drinking. What was the first drink you had after Charlie arrived?
A: I mean, ironically you are flying high on hormones after you give birth so I didn’t even really think about it. I think that the fifth night home, I put Charlie to bed and my parents-in-law were in town, we were cooking a big meal of steak with a side of beef (I was told to eat so much cow after birth) and I was very excited to have a glass of red wine. It was huge, and it was delicious.
Cheers to Emily and ulive for such an amazing and brave series. It reveals far more than just gender — Emily Henderson is Pregnant exposes the real ups and downs of the pregnancy journey. I can’t wait to see what they do with motherhood.
Find more of Emily Henderson on ulive as well as on HGTV.com:
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