Ailsa Emmel is a mom to 25-year-old twins who currently lives in eastern North Carolina with her husband, a U.S. Marine on active duty. Born in NYC, she moved to FL as a teenager, and she herself is also a Veteran, who served in the U.S. Navy.
She has built a career as a nurse practitioner with a specialty in Midwifery, but her side gig—as a “lifestyle influencer who loves clothes”—is how she’s quickly gaining a following on social media. “I love to share what I am wearing and what I am loving. I use fashion to express and represent myself. I believe getting dressed even in a baggy pair of sweats makes the biggest difference in my overall mental state,” says Ailsa.
We asked Ailsa about growing her social media presence through her Instagram handle @_happygocurly, how her military background has contributed to her career and motherhood, and more.
What is your favorite part of building your “Happy Go Curly” brand?
I have the kindest community. I love teaching, sharing and empowering women through education. I love getting messages from women saying they are advocating for themselves or didn’t sit on something that has had them worried. Being on this platform has taught me it isn’t about the numbers; it is still about the individual connection and most of that happens behind the scenes in direct messages.
Where did the name Happy Go Curly come from?
This is a funny story. I was tired of having emmeltwins as my handle. It was a constant reminder that my daughters no longer lived with me. My husband, a friend of mine and my daughters started brainstorming. My girlfriend won. She felt like curly and happy suited me well.
What are your must-have pieces for colder weather?
- A good puffer that’s easy to travel with and folds up well. I have had this one for a couple of years and love it. I also use it as a pillow when I travel.
- A fancier coat because I want to be warm and still look presentable even if I am looking like a hot mess underneath.
- Chappywrap blanket– the absolute best blanket. I travel and sleep with one daily.
- Dudley Stephens Park Slope Fleece in Black
- Brooke Boots Yes, they are pricier, but they are so easy to style and super lightweight. I have a code for first time buyers: 15HGC
- A great cashmere sweater The initial cost is jolting, but I like how light they are and not super bulky while still keeping you warm. I usually size up one size for a little room.
What are some of your favorite brands you’ve worked with?
ABLE- Their mission gets me every time. I was super excited to have a jewelry collaboration this summer. I may also be rolling out a few of those items for the holidays.
Freda Salvador– When you get one of their shoes you understand the importance of taking care of your feet.
Dudley Stephens – always and forever they were one of my first big brands that I have been loyal to since 2018.
Dick’s Sporting Goods – It was a complete blast, and that campaign was for a year.
AllBirds– I literally pinched myself that David and I could work with them. He has loved and wears their sneakers, so it was an easy one.
Nike – This is a new one and I cannot wait to showcase more in the upcoming months.
Pet Ones – Walmart and Purina Plan for Dogs. I love being able to incorporate Theo, my Yorkie, in my content. He is a big part of my life and sharing him brings me and so many others joy too.
Dagne Dover – I love that they are women founded.
It is hard to narrow down any specific brand because I only choose to work with them if I will wear them authentically. There are so many that don’t make the cut. I am super selective and want to make sure they are items I would buy even if I wasn’t working with them. That is my rule and I stick to it.
You’re also a United States Navy veteran—thank you for your service. How has your military background helped you in your career, as a mother and perhaps now growing your creative platform?
My military career started when I left two years after high school. I was never guided on the steps to go to college. I am a first-generation college graduate, so I was watching everyone around me get acceptance letters. I wanted that too. I didn’t have money for college, so I enlisted in the Navy and earned one. I got an NROTC scholarship. I worked harder. I had that thirst and drive to succeed. I was on active duty during 9/11 and both of us being on active duty during war time was hard with young kids. We had to choose and one of us had to get out, because there was a possibility we could both be deployed at the same time. So, a few years later I got out and went to Midwifery school.
Now that you have me thinking I do see how my military background prepped me to work hard, play harder and recognize that it all works out in the end even when it doesn’t.
What’s next for you and Happy Go Curly?
I am hoping to work and increase my exposure. I want to help women and continue to empower them with not only my words, but also my actions. I want to show them that our opportunities are limitless. I am just taking it day by day while still working as a Midwife which is super important to me. I will never tire of helping women; that is my ultimate goal.