Sitting in a white chair, grasping an iced coffee she responded with a beaming smile, “I always would choose to be deaf. I wouldn’t be Emma without all the challenges and struggles everyday. “ Katie, Emma and I had been sitting in the quaint Bird Bakery for nearly thirty minutes, meeting for the first time, and she felt like a friend I’d known my whole life. I had spent the past four weeks reading about Emma Faye, and anticipating our meeting, but could never have expected how charming Miss San Antonio would be!
She sat there dressed in a white and floral maxi dress from a local Boerne boutique, Ella Blue, paired with clogs fit for a busy day. Her dress was the perfect transition piece from a coffee date to a photo-shoot. In the Texas heat, she not only looked amazing, but stayed cool. I opted for a braided crop top and flowy white skirt from my latest trip to La Cantera. I can’t seem to make it out of my favorite outdoor mall without snagging a bag, or two, or three!
While chatting with Emma, it became clear nothing about her was surface level. Through and through, she was true beauty; sweeter than sugar. Over the past year, the 21 year-old had carefully created the first ever deaf music festival, Good Vibrations. The festival stemmed from her non-profit Aid the Silent. She has raised over $150k to support the event and had even implemented her detective skills to encourage companies to sponsor her event. Giggling, she recanted the time she knocked on the Las Vegas hotel room door where she knew a company Vice President was staying. Flanked with her mom at her side, she managed to smile her way into a sponsorship. She explains, “my mom and I are crazy in the best way!”
She learned to play music at 14 through the vibrations resonating off a piano dancing up her arms. After learning to play the piano, she then added the guitar, however with this instrument, she feels it in her heart. With time, she learned to sing. Instead of feeling the sound in her chest, she was able to learn how to control her pitch based on the feeling she had in her head! While she joked about still asking for help to check her sound, she has the voice of an angel. To hear her singing check out “Love Hears: In the Silence.”
A few years ago, Emma generated #showyouraids which was a movement to fundraise for young girls. The campaign to show off hearing aids spread across the country and eventually the world! Good Vibrations became an extension of her efforts to bridge the gap dividing deaf and hearing communities. The event embraced the deaf as guests of honor. It welcomed everyone to experience music like never before. The event married the rhythm with visual depictions of sounds such as a light-up dance floor, pulsing LED beach balls and backpacks that vibrated with the beat. Everyone was able to roam freely and not be pushed off into the shadows, isolated in a corner with an interpreter. Emma talked about how dreamy it was to see deaf children experience music for the first time and break out of the silence to dance.
Finishing up our coffee we decided to begin our photo-shoot. We had the pleasure of meandering through the recently renovated Witte Museum in childlike wonder. We marveled at the Dinosaur exhibit, interacted with a multitude of technologies and twirled around the temporary whales display. The Witte gave us a chance to step away from the heat but still enjoy the sunny day in its floor to ceiling windows.
Today Emma is working as Miss San Antonio for her second time. She is the first deaf Miss San Antonio as well as the first one to have founded a true non-profit. Because of her job as a public figure, her non-profit has skyrocketed. She aims to advocate for members of the deaf community and act as a role model and lobbyist for others in a world void of deaf leaders. In late June, Emma will be traveling to Dallas to compete for the Miss Texas crown, taking a step closer to her dreams. The thing that stuck with me after my time with Emma was not just her shear kindness but that love is a language all can hear.
Emma’s White Floral Dress: Ella Blue
Emma’s Yellow Floral Jumper: Target
Christine’s Blue Crop Top: Anthropologie
Christine’s White Skirt and Striped Dress: Top Shop | Nordstrom
Photoshoot Location: Witte Museum