Interview with Emily Oberg of Sporty and Rich
On her experience being the youngest person at Complex.
"I was the only one who didn’t go to school for journalism or media so there was a huge learning curve. Also because I was so young, I had no idea about office politics and how to act in a workplace so I definitely ran into problems and at times was way too emotional about the work. But I’m lucky that everyone on my team was so close, we were really like a family and they all helped me so much into becoming the person I am today. I’ll forever be grateful for that experience and I will always miss it/them."
On always being one of the only women & the changes the industry has undergone since starting at Complex in 2014.
"Yes there are definitely a lot more women in the space but I think that’s only due to the fact that streetwear has become so mainstream and now has mass appeal which it never did before when I was just starting out. I don’t feel as though there needs to be an evolution, I think if you want to change to happen, start with yourself and your immediate surroundings. Life is what you make it and you have a choice to either give up or keep going when you hit an obstacle. If you really want something, you can have it."
On influence. How she remains authentic and true to herself.
"I don’t have a manager or agent so I’m able to say no to a lot of things. I think the key is not totally selling out and risking your integrity or image or values for a check. I also make sure not to check social media too often because I find you can become too influenced by certain things and you can start to lose yourself that way.
I find the balance by always remembering who I am and why I do what I do. You need to have that purpose, that reason for why you are here on this earth, if you don’t have that, you are bound to feel lost and will be too easily influenced by what you see out there."
On the necessary straits for success at a young age.
"Being able to put my ego aside.
Being emotional, people will say this is a bad thing, but because I was always so emotional about the work, I always did it wholeheartedly and fought hard for the things I believed in.
Being nice to everyone I met. I always say you can tell so much about a person by how they treat interns or those who aren’t exactly at their “level”."
On finding a balance, the importance of self-care and future projects.
"It may seem like I’m constantly working but really I’m not. I’ve mastered how to work smart, not hard, I don’t need 8 hours in a day to do all the things I need to get done. I am efficient and because I know what I want, I can get something done in half the time it might take someone else. After I left New York, I was really burnt out and I decided I didn’t want my life to revolve around work. Stress is the number one health epidemic, so I do my best to avoid it at all costs. I want to enjoy my life, not spend it working and stressing about something that will not matter in a year or two from now. Life’s too short for all that.
The next project will be something in the world of wellness, health and wellbeing. There’s a reason I push these messages so hard with the brand. There is a greater end goal to all of it."
On what music she's listening to.
"I’m constantly working on curating the Sporty & Rich playlists that we have on the site so I listen to a lot of new music but my heart is with the past always. I love Sergio Mendes, Sade, Chet Baker, Phoenix, Stan Getz, Daft Punk. A good mix of a lot of different things. I stopped listening to rap a year ago because I just can’t bring myself to listen to any of what’s out there right now. I don’t know how people do it."
On her best advice for someone starting out.
"I would say, you have to know exactly what it is you want. You have to have a vision, a plan, an end goal.
I love this saying: “If you fail the plan, you plan to fail.”"
On social media.
"Sometimes social media gets in my head and scrolling at pictures of perfect-looking people with seemingly perfect lives can make you feel so shitty sometimes. But when that happens I know I need a break and need something better to do. I just use it to post now and less to scroll and look. It’s too damaging I think. I regret not living in the moment more. I always miss the past, not because the present isn’t as good, but it’s just different. Things change, your surroundings change, you change and sometimes you miss who you were at a certain point. I miss the naivety I had when I first moved to New York. I think I’m much more jaded now, but I’m working on that!"
On her favorite meal & favorite city.
"I love to eat, I eat more than anyone I know. When I go for dinner with my boyfriend, I always finish my food and his haha. My absolute favorite meal I’ve ever had is at Lilia in Williamsburg. Homemade focaccia with this green garlic butter, a gem lettuce salad, spicy baked clams, rigatoni pomodoro and the most amazing mafaldini pasta with pink peppercorns and then vanilla soft serve with sprinkles for dessert. Yum!!!"