Emma Heming Willis leads a charmed life, for sure. Married to Bruce Willis (yes, Mr. Die Hard), with whom she lives in Westchester, NY, she’s mom to two beautiful little girls (Mabel is 6 and Evelyn is 4). She’s also an entrepreneur, with an organic pregnancy skincare line, CocoBaba, that has launched in Europe and will do the same soon in the U.S. But while she’s aware her daughters are growing up in a privileged world, Emma was raised by a single mom who worked three jobs to support her family. She started modeling as a teenager, in part to help out. “My mom did whatever she could to make sure I was okay. It was clear she was stressed and had a lot of weight on her shoulders,” shares Emma. The young model’s career took off, with Emma appearing in magazines like Vogue and Elle, walking runways for labels like Chanel and Valentino, and eventually becoming the face of Dior Cosmetics.
Now, as a mom, she’s working to instill the strong values she learned from her own mother, even though her daughters are growing up in a different situation than she did. “My kids are not allowed to go and get whatever they want whenever they want. When we go to Target and Evelyn is like, ‘I want this stuffed animal’, it’s like ‘Your birthday is coming up in two months and we’ll get it then,’” says Emma. Here, this beautiful, down-to-earth mom-of-two shares more details of her life, including her business plans, her 5-minute beauty routine and “mom uniform”, and what Bruce is really like as a dad (spoiler alert: he only plays a tough guy on-screen!).
Clearly, we’re not all married to movie stars, but the idea of reinventing your career after getting married and having children is something so many moms go through. What has that experience been like for you?
I had been modeling for so long, and when I met Bruce, I was trying to figure out my next step. I actually feel like all my best ideas have happened while I was pregnant and after I was pregnant! I was using coconut oil and loved it and when Mabel was two months old I had this idea for CocoBaba. And that was the birth of this new career! Also, I always wanted to be a mom, and have two kids. When that time came I was so ready to fully embrace that. I had Mabel at 35 and Evelyn at 37.
I wanted the products to be safe and effective and women could use while pregnant. I was using coconut oil and it worked beautifully, and I knew I wanted to launch in Europe because they are very strict there on what can be used and what can’t.
Interesting…And how has having little ones affected your business growth?
When they were really little, I was able to keep CocoBaba growing slowly but steadily, and now that they’re in school, I can focus a little more on it. As women we do so much but I want to focus on the things that bring me joy—my family, making sure I’m healthy and feeling good. Then beneath that comes business.
Normally it’s a good high-waisted jean. I used to be able to do low-rise and that’s not happening anymore after two kids! I love a good t-shirt, cozy sweater and pair of easy boots. In the summer, it’s flowy dresses and jeans with a t-shirt and Converse sneakers. If I’m not comfortable, forget it.
Same here! And do you have a five-minute makeup routine?
I recently switched to Gucci Westman concealer and foundation sticks that I’m obsessed with. She has a creamy blush that I really like. I brush my brows with a clear gel from Anastasia. And any kind of lip balm, like an Honest lip gloss that’s not too shiny that I dab on for a little color. I have dark circles so I have to put on concealer.
Ha, I don’t know any mom of two without dark circles! I love how you dress your daughters like girls, not like little women. What are your go-to brands for them?
We keep it simple. I like H&M, Gap and Nordstrom. Peek Kids is great because their stuff just lasts so long. I want them to be kids and know it’s okay to get dirty. They have fun being able to pick out their own things and they have wacky taste…like that shirt with the weird clown on it.
My husband is like the fun time guy and I think he’s always been like that. He’s very tranquil and he goes through life with such ease. He’s amazing to me because I’m the complete opposite of that. I move a little faster than he does and I’m good at multitasking. I like that he likes to have fun. He’s the one out there making snowman, sledding and swimming. He’s fun and active, and I am too—I take them places—but he’s the rough and tumble dad. He doesn’t know how to discipline and that’s fine. I’ve developed that look—the one my mom gave me when I was getting out of hand. They’re wrapped around their daddy’s finger and I’m totally fine with it.
I saw on Instagram that you travel a lot but are an anxious flyer. What are your best tips for flying with kids?
I always make sure for them that their iPads are fully charged; I put educational games on there and movies. Then I have sticker books and coloring books. I try not to take [pass on my flying fear]. I want them to experience their lives and they can develop their fears around things that they have actual fear around. My fear of flying developed after September 11. It was a really traumatizing event on all levels.
The best part about it is that it functions really well. I hear horrible stories about women coming into a family and there’s an ex-wife with kids…and I’m fortunate…I know I’m lucky to come into a loving and open family from the beginning. My step kids are incredible and great big sisters to their little sisters. When I first met Bruce, his youngest daughter Tallulah was 12 and now she’s 25. Rumer is 30. Obviously now they’re women, and I can have these incredible conversations with them. Those relationship have really evolved over time. It’s not always picture perfect and easy but no family. For the most part it’s pretty golden and I’m lucky to have them in my life.
Photography Credit: Belathée