At just 23 years old, Emma Holzer is an old soul who shares spitfire tendencies with her grandmother, Jane Holzer, the famed Andy Warhol muse.
But that’s where the similarities end.
“She’s her own self,” Jane says. “People try to compare us. I mean—okay, fine—we’re both blondes and we’ve acted. But she’s smarter than me. I see a big future for her, and I think she’s going to be a huge movie star. She’s still a human being though, and she’s really sweet and cares about people and she’s kind. That’s what makes me so proud of her.”
Like her grandmother before her, Emma is a multi-hyphenate, offering a triple-threat of talents in singing, acting, and modeling. She grew up in Manhattan, but spent winters in Palm Beach because her mother, Ashley, is an equestrian dressage rider who frequented the Wellington circuit. While her mother was competing, Emma often spent time with her grandmother, “Janey,” as Emma calls her.
Emma knew her grandmother was friends with Andy Warhol, and that the artist once filmed her father, Rusty’s, birthday. But she didn’t realize Janey was one of his muses until she was a teenager.
“I was probably around 13 when I looked into the screen tests she did with him,” Emma says. “It’s weird. I know she was one of his muses, but to me she will always be Janey, always be Grandma.”
As a young girl, Emma recalls living in her grandmother’s home on 65th Street in Manhattan when her family’s home was being renovated. When she looked up from her dinner, she’d see Warhols and Jean-Michel Basquiats on the walls. At first, she says, she didn’t know how special these pieces were. But as she learned more about them, it developed her eye for art and her own creative sensibility.
“Being surrounded by that will inspire and shape you,” she says. “It was a bolster for my own artistry.”
That artistry is about to explode on-screen: Emma is slated to appear in an adventure thriller called Nine Bullets with Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Sam Worthington (Avatar). And she will be featured in the upcoming comedy, The Re-Education of Molly Singer, with Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland) and Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl).
She is also taking her singing to the next level, working with music executive Charlie Walk who is known for turning up-and-coming performers into household names. Songs like “The Sun” and “Overtime” came from this collaboration and show Emma’s promise as an Ariana Grande–style belter of danceable pop tunes.
“I like to make music about the songs I needed when I was younger,” Emma says. “‘The Sun’ is definitely one of those songs. It’s about shining bright and not really caring what other people have to say about it. If shining bright makes people uncomfortable then that’s their problem. The sun doesn’t dim its shine, so why should I dim mine?”
Emma is just as passionate about caring for the Earth as she is about building her career—and she’s fed up with those who turn a deaf ear to the signals the planet is sending.
“It breaks my heart to see the destruction of the planet happening right before my eyes,” she says. “Ultimately, the Earth is our mother. It doesn’t need us, but we need it. It’s funny to me how the way we treat Earth is the way we treat women in our society. We exploit her and use her for profit and gain, but don’t take care of her. You look at climate change now, and we’re having record tornadoes, tsunamis, and hurricanes, and people are saying it’s not true. It’s like telling a woman she’s irrational and unreal for speaking up. We tell her to be quiet and everything will be fine.”
But it’s not fine. And Emma wants to take action.
“I love the planet,” she says. “It has given me everything, and I want to give it everything in return. I want to take care of our home so that I can leave behind an Earth that my kids and their kids can live on and appreciate. I want to spread love and light where I can and fight back against things that are wrong.”
Emma posts about ways to help the environment on Instagram (@emmaholzer) and embraces sustainable fashion when and where she can. One of her favorite sustainable lines is the local brand J. Logan Home, which turns vintage scarves from fashion houses like Prada, Gucci, and Hermès into beautiful shirts and home accessories.
“There’s no reason why you can’t protect the environment and look great doing it,” she says. “This is a problem that is so much deeper than a lot of us may realize. Its roots are based in culture and the country. This country hasn’t been around that long and we’ve caused this much destruction this quickly. We need to look at our culture and rewrite the book so we can change things on a grassroots level.”
Emma plans to use her career and clout to help make those changes. “One day, as my singing and acting career gets bigger, I want to use my platform to take bigger action, or start a company, or become a big contributor to a company that can take action,” she says.
For now, though, she’s working to build her buzz, mostly dividing her time between New York and Los Angeles for work, with plenty of visits to Palm Beach in between to relax and spend time with Janey.
“I’ve grown to appreciate Palm Beach more as I’ve gotten older,” she says. “I love that you can drive 30 minutes and be able to ride horses. I love that the weather is great, and the ocean is so warm and beautiful. I just love how relaxed life feels out here. It’s very calm and serene.”
And, of course, the sun shines brightly, just like she does.