Love is a powerful emotion. An emotion that we all connect with differently but find equally indispensable for the well-being of our minds and souls. Throughout history we’ve seen love create masterpieces from literary works (thank you, Shakespeare), to deep-felt musical lyrics (Unchained Melody), and countless works of art. We’ve also seen love be the subject of wars and controversies straight out of Hollywood scenes, and then there’s the infectious romanticism we gush over from iconic and famous couples throughout history that have captured our hearts with the power of their bonds (and style!). Truth is, we just can’t help falling in love.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we chatted up our newlywed friends Emmett Skyy and Julia Dunstall whose instinctive style, creative prowess, and laissez-faire attitude we swoon over. Not to mention, the beautiful editorial they shot in the desert complete with their Ranch Road Boots in celebration of their vows by music photographer Katarina Benzova.
Emmett is from Louisiana, an incredible musician with a soulful sound who exudes a je ne se quoi rock and roll coolness that seems borrowed from Lenny Kravitz but very much his own, “bayou” as he calls it. Julia from Canada, is a supermodel by definition who has graced the runways of some of the biggest high-fashion designers, endless fashion editorials and magazine covers well before the age of social media. Her understated style and tenor is nostalgic and musing, reminiscent of the days of Kate Moss. It’s without wonder that these two have come together and it is that magnetism that makes us all fall in love with L-O-V-E itself.
To get to know them a little better, we asked them about what drew them to each other, their favorite subjects, their interests and individual artistic endeavors, what’s next for them, where our mutually shared love and appreciation for western stems from, and naturally, for some style advice—check out how they like to wear their favorite pair of Ranch Road Boots at the end.
Read the interview below.
All images courtesy of Emmett Skyy, Julia Dunstall. Shot by Katarina Benzova.
LIGHTNING ROUND QUESTIONS:
What would you say is “the most” cowboy / cowgirl thing about you?
EMMETT: Wearing my hats.
JULIA: My cowgirl roots! I grew up on the farm.
EMMETT: Giddy, up!
JULIA: The phrase “Ace in the Hole” and this quote: “I ain’t afraid to love a man.. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.” Annie Oakley
In my boots I feel_____________.
EMMETT: Rock & Roll.
Favorite thing about him, favorite thing about her:
EMMETT: My favorite thing about her is her wittiness and sarcasm.
JULIA: His sense of humor.
EMMETT: Dancing skills.
JULIA: My accents/impressions.
Describe your style in one word.
Hopeless romantic or realist:
EMMETT: Hopeless romantic, all day!
JULIA: Hopeless romantic.
Favorite subjects to talk about together:
EMMETT: Music, art, travel.
JULIA: Music, history, and travel.
Favorite quarantine activities together?
EMMETT: Board games and watching movies.
JULIA: Card games & cooking & dance-offs.
Favorite couple(s) throughout history?
EMMETT: Emmett & Cheryl Spooner (Parents). Also, John Lennon & Yoko Ono.
JULIA: Romeo & Juliet and Bonnie & Clyde.
Favorite lyric or song about love?
EMMETT: “Let’s Get It On” Marvin Gaye.
What gravitated you to each other? Tell us about how you met?
EMMETT: I met Julia at a show I was headlining in Venice, CA. She was there with her boyfriend at the time and we met briefly after the show. I was dating someone as well and months went by and we both were single again. We got in touch and have been inseparable ever since. I was extremely drawn to her soul and timeless beauty.
JULIA: I was instantly drawn to Emmett’s voice and beautiful song lyrics. We met briefly at a backyard show he was headlining in Venice. Months later I messaged him about his music and that began an incredible phone conversation, that led to us meeting up and very quickly becoming inseparable!
Emmett, you’re an artist, as a musician what inspires you everyday as you work on your craft? What are some of your greatest influences?
EMMETT: Love, spirituality & nature inspires me on the daily. My greatest influences are the classic songwriters and artists of the 60’s. Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Hendrix and the Beatles. I love their passion for the art of style and they were true storytellers.
Emmett, you have this super cool rock-n-roll “bayou” sound and look. How has your upbringing and Louisiana roots played a role in your look and artistry?
EMMETT: My parents owned a fashion boutique when I was very young. They were very stylish and my mum wore beautiful and unique looking hats. I would travel with them to the market to pick out clothes to sell. Being around clothes made me eager to explore art. I also grew up in a very musical gospel church where everyone could sing or play an instrument. This combination sparked my attention to dive into different styles of music and later I was introduced to rock and roll.
Julia, to say you are a model is an understatement. You’ve graced major high-fashion runways, magazine covers, etc. What has that journey been like for you? What’s it like to be a model at that stage? What do you think about fashion culture today?
JULIA: Wow, yeah. It has been a life changing ever evolving journey. I went from the farm to the overwhelming streets of NY and was thrown straight into the thick of things quite quickly so I had a lot to learn and zero time to do it in! Those first few years in the high-fashion world were fast paced and demanding. It was being available everyday of the whole year, insane travel schedules, figuring out finances and business, and how to cultivate lasting work relationships. You have to quickly decide and figure out who you are, your boundaries, how to present yourself and how to handle countless rejection. I struggled a lot, made sooo many mistakes, bad decisions, sacrificed family and relationships for years. But then experienced so much growth through travel, and collaboration with incredibly talented artists and having to be completely independent.
I think fashion culture today just has too quick of a turn around. I miss the beauty of old ads and editorials when a photographer and the team had time to tell a story. It’s just a completely different world than it was a few years ago.
Julia, you’re from Alberta, Canada. What do you love most about “home”? How has your upbringing influenced you?
JULIA: I love the wide open spaces of home, the vast alfalfa & canola fields in bloom, the endless stretches of farmland and sky, and spending time with my family. Being home and with them fills me [with] a calm I rarely experience anywhere else. I think my upbringing has always kept me grounded, focused on the things in life that aren’t fleeting like money and fame.
You guys are both super cool and stylish. Share some style advice. How do you both approach “fashion”?
EMMETT: My style advice is to always be yourself and to be authentic. I approach fashion with telling stories with what I’m wearing.
JULIA: I’ll always gravitate to some great fitting jeans and worn-in vintage tee. With the amount of traveling we do I like to keep my clothes on the simple, comfortable side. Then I add the flare with statement belts, hats, scarves, killer boots and usually lots of jewelry. I think fashion is your expression of the inspiration and experiences you absorb throughout life, it morphs and grows day to day as you do.
You both gravitate towards artistry. Do you guys collaborate? As a couple, how do you both connect and leverage your passions to create “art”?
EMMETT: Yes, we both love expressing ourselves from a creative perspective. We collaborated on one shoot together and plan to do some film shoots together. We connect through story-telling, something that people can relate to and see a reflection of themselves through our souls.
Photography seems to be something that you both connect with as a couple? Is that true? Any favorite mediums or styles, photographers?
EMMETT: Yes, we definitely connect with photography as a couple. We see it as art. Black & White photography, and most of all, our favorite is shooting with film.
JULIA: Absolutely! We love collaborating on photo projects together. I’ve always been most drawn to black and white photos. Portrait and street photography, and of course I grew to love and appreciate skilled fashion photography. Some favorite photographers are Diane Arbus and William Klein.
What would you say is your favorite thing about western culture? Like us, it seems you both have an appreciation for it. How do you channel your inner “cowgirl” / “cowboy”?
EMMETT: My favorite thing about western culture is the attitude of living and the respect of traditions and heritage. I think of my ancestors and that pulls out my inner cowboy.
JULIA: I just have so much respect for the hard lives lived by cowboys and cowgirls, the long hours, grueling work and dedication it takes to live that life. I appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that most western wear holds. I channel my inner cowgirl by slapping on my favorite boots and jeans and throwing my hair into some braids!
You guys seem to do a lot of road trips. What’s your favorite thing about travel? Any favorite under the radar places or stories to share?
JULIA: We love us a road trip! My favorite thing about travel is diving deep and experiencing the culture of each place and the people who live there. Everyone has such incredible stories to share. I always try to only hang with locals and never make any solids plans! I went backpacking through South America for eight months a few years ago, and in Chile in particular, the magical island of Chiloe stole my heart.
You guys just got married, and are expecting! Congrats. We love the photography you guys shot together. Tell us about the magic of that day and the art that came by it.
EMMETT: Thank you very much! It happened organically. I had an idea to shoot something in the desert so I reached out to my dear friend Kat Benzova who tours and photographs Aerosmith, and Guns & Roses. Then I reached out to my friend who owns a ranch in Malibu, CA, and the rest was history. The magic was given to us on a silver platter.
What are you guys most excited about as your life together unfolds? Any big plans?
EMMETT: We are excited about exploring the world together. We are planning to spend more time in New Orleans.
Today, we see and approach relationships a lot differently than the generations before us. What would you say is a big misconception in relationships today? Do you have any fun or not so fun lessons about “coupling” that you’d share?
EMMETT: I think the misconception in being in a relationship is that you lose your individual freedom and that’s not always the case. We practice by checking in on each other’s hearts, to make sure we’re on track with things. It takes time to get to know someone. It’s all about communication and allowing the energy to flow freely. The only lesson I’ve learned is to never go to sleep upset with your partner. Try hashing things out before bed. I find it to be a healthy approach.
JULIA: That you need to find someone that “checks all the boxes”. I hear that so often and I’m so confused by it. Who wants someone who fits into a seemingly perfect little mold that you yourself create? Relationships are about learning each other, exploring, experiencing and growing together. No one wants to or is going to remain unchanged. I think a relationship grows and matures as both people continue to contribute new ideas, new wisdom, encouraging and challenging each other, challenges that you conquer together. And, communication. Communication is something I find challenging and makes a world of difference, but I also still have a lot to learn.
What’s next for you - not just as a couple, but individually in your respective crafts?
EMMETT: I’ll be working on a country rock record soon.
JULIA: I plan on continuing my modeling career but plan to focusing more on working with smaller brands I can collaborate with and contribute more to when possible.
#APATHWORNWELL is about celebrating the unique and diverse paths we each walk. What keeps you authentic and what do you hope to inspire and leave behind?
EMMETT: Spirituality and spending time with family is what keeps me grounded and authentic. There’s no faking around with family. Family always keeps it real. Love is my motto and always will be. That’s what I want to leave behind. To let love overcome hate and adversity.
JULIA: My family and friends keep me authentic, grounded, and in check! I hope to always inspire a passion for travel and a love of people. I want to leave my son (and possible other kids!) with hearts of kindness, passion, truth, and adventure.
Last but not least, tell us how you curate your “Ranch Road” look. What are your favorite ways to wear your boots?