That Time I Offered to Fly to LA to Hold Emily Henderson's Baby


HAPPY FALL, ya’ll, we have some exciting news to share with you today. We’re relaunching the blog!! It’s been a while since we connected on this platform and we have plenty to share. We felt it only appropriate to start things off with a reintroduction.

HELLO!! I’m Michelle Gage and I am about to humiliate myself on the internet.

Where do I begin? I guess I should start off my saying that I have been a die-hard Emily Henderson fan since her early days on HGTV. She’s frankly been a design icon for me and I’m utterly obsessed with everything creates.

Let’s go back to 2014, when I was working for Anthropologie’s Home Office here in Philadelphia. I was on the buying team; one of my main objectives was to scout and develop amazing home goods. I welcomed that opportunity and fancied myself as a person like Emily would want to meet. As most 24 year olds do, I thought too highly of myself.

Spring was approaching and my (then) boyfriend and myself had made plans to fly to LA to visit with some of our very best friends from our college days. I made a long list of all the design-related shops and showrooms I wanted to visit while there (House of Honey, Nicky Kehoe, etc). The Rose Bowl, of course, made the list - and you know who frequents The Rose Bowl? My girl Emily Henderson.

I somehow got the idea in my head that Emily and I were destined to meet - or rather that she would have any interest whatsoever in meeting me. Call it insane courage (or blind optimism), but I drafted an email to Emily with a detailed plan on how we should connect during my stay in LA. I suggested that - if she had plans to shop The Rose Bowl - we should do so together, alluding to the fact that I am in fact a skilled junk collector and lugger of said collected junk. I spent many nights editing my very frank email and attached some of the most horrific interior design work known to man.

Alex and I had just purchased our first home - money was tight- and the house looked like a cross between your grandmother’s fake antiques and the “crap you buy from Goodwill and promise yourself you will fix up but never do.” Back to the email itself - I believe I even offered to hold her newborn child so that she could have some focused shopping. In my mind, this was an offer she just couldn’t turn down - though I’m not sure what new mother could comfortably shop for vintage treasures while a stranger creepily holds her child on the sidelines.

24 year old me, to add further design embarrassment fuel to the fire…

24 year old me, to add further design embarrassment fuel to the fire…

Fast forward to a few days before the market, when I did actually get a reply from dear Emily. No, the reply didn’t have a restraining order attached to it, rather a promise. She said that if she wound up attending the market, we could meet. I almost choked on my overpriced LA street taco. I’d take a meeting, I thought.

(Very) long story short, we didn’t meet then in LA. We didn’t shop the flea market arm in arm and trot away with tales of how we became such fast friends. We did, however, meet a few years later at an event in New York (she was just as lovely as I had imagined) and I did go on to compile a few round ups for her blog. You may recall such notable contributions as this one about sofas, this one about wallpaper and (some of the best work I’ve ever produced) this one about toilets.

I’m taking this one as a lesson in perseverance and a reminder that you cannot be afraid to fail. Do I cringe when I think about my slightly stalkerish attempts to get the attention of my idol? Absolutely! Given the chance to go back in time, would I do it again? Absolutely! As I start my 29th year and march onto my 30th, I can only look back and smile at the 24 year old eager interior designer that I was then - full of excitement and completely unaware of the struggles to come.

Call it blind determination or naivety, but we all have to start somewhere. You don’t know what you don’t know - and in life and with work, you have to treat these experiences as the cost of tuition. You learn as you go, even if you have to pay for it with embarrassment along the way.

Well, folks, that’s all for the cringe-worthy blogpost. Be sure to return here on Mondays and Wednesdays, where we will be sharing about all things interior design!!