Emilie Abrams: My defense mechanisms are...to forget to bring my gloves, everyday. And also to stay in bed and watch “Homeland” and get my roommates to join me.
Street: What do you do for UNI?
EA: For two years I supervised a cooking crew at Sayre High School. Every week we would have a little class about nutrition, why you want to eat fruits and vegetables, why you don’t want to have a KFC massive chicken bucket after school everyday. And now, I’m assistant to the director of youth development, so I’m organizing events for them, like big fundraisers.
Street: How was it working with Philly high school kids?
EA: It takes a while, because you’re coming from such a different background. You’re pretty much the one white person in that classroom, which was really uncomfortable. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I found that if I’m super upfront with them, and just try to be myself as much as possible, they learn to trust you and to respect you.
Street: What’s your favorite meal that you ever cooked with UNI?
EA: It was a pesto pasta salad. It was a way to sneak in a ton of vegetables in this delicious basil–y, garlic–y pesto thing. And the kids just ate it up. And I ate it up. [Check out this and more UNI recipes at 34st.com]
Street: What’s it like to be in Elmo?
EA: I went to an all girls school for seven years, middle school and high school in London. I pretty much swore to myself that I would never put myself in that sort of environment again. They’re just really quirky, cool people who always have something crazy to say, and add something different.
Street: You grew up in London, so how’d you end up with no accent?
EA: I change my accents all the time. I can do different accents. We can do the rest of the interview in different accents! [Ed. note: she did! Scroll down for the video.]
I got into this awkward situation where I would speak in British–English at school and then I would go home and speak in French–English. And then one time when I had a friend from school come over to my house, I was like, “Which accent do I speak in?” My friend was like, “Emilie, why do you sound so weird? What’s going on?”
Street: Fill in the blank, there are two kinds of people at Penn...
EA: There are people who take the elevator for one floor in Van Pelt, and there are those who... don’t.
Street: If you could live anywhere on the planet, where would it be and why?
EA: OK, short answer? I want to live, at some point, in as many places as I can for a short while. Pretty much if you ask me this in a day I would have a different answer.
Street: If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be and why?
EA: This sounds pretty weird given that I could have a drink with anyone, but I really wish I could have met all of my great–grandmothers. That’s four people, they each were pretty incredible in the context of my family.
Street: When was the last time you cried?
EA: It was last night. I was watching “Homeland.” And I cry in any, pretty much any, film and most TV shows. I let it flow.
Street: Tell us about your first kiss.
EA: It was some highly confused guy clearly...at a New Year’s Eve party in the beginning of high school. He somehow, like, lurched at me, and made contact with my mouth. And I proceeded to run into the bathroom and wash out my mouth.
Street: What’s your spirit animal?
EA: I love water, so some sort of a pretty, hyperactive fish?
Street: So Dory?
EA: Dory! This is not the first time that someone has said that.
Emilie Abrams isn’t your typical sorority girl, but when we asked her to play the part, she gave us way more than we bargained for…
Want more Emilie? Check her out at UNI's "Eats and Beats" at Mantua Haverford Community Center on 3/29.
But really, save the date for Eats and Beats, an organic, five-course (!!) meal prepared by UNI Youth Interns on March 29. Emilie will be there.
Mantua Haverford Community Center, 631 N. 39th St.