Emily Ruhl became a model after she was scouted at the young age of 13. Now, she’s 25 and more than ready to start directing her own life — and her own movies. She’s starting with “Blue Moon,” her debut short film about a love story between two women that unfolds over the course of a single night.
Since Ruhl never went to college, she figured this was a worthy cause for her unused college fund.
“I self-funded using my college fund that I never used because I never went to university, and I just one day realized that I had this capital just kind of sitting there. Like, I should do something with it. And the same way that education is meant to give you a career, I was like, I think that this will give me a career and will be like a really expensive business card,” she told MovieMaker.
She learned how costly film shoots can be when making “Blue Moon,” is set in balmy Los Angeles and stars Olivia Berris and Audra Rae Thornton, whose real-life friendship lent itself to their onscreen chemistry.
“When it’s self-funded, you’re also very aware of every dollar, and I knew that I wanted to make more than one project so I didn’t want to blow you know my entire wad, so to speak, on the first one,” she said.
“On the first day of shooting, we missed the sunset, and that was a really important moment. So then I needed to pay for our third day of shooting, and I was lucky that my cinematographer could stay in town an extra day and that I could have everybody an extra day. So that was a challenge.”
The making of “Blue Moon” was a crash course in the art moviemaking for Ruhl, almost like fitting years of film school in the span of three days. She also co-wrote and produced the film’s theme song, “HER,” which you can listen to on Spotify here.
“I’d never done this before, so I didn’t really know what to look for in the people that I hired. And now I have a very clear idea. I had an amazing post supervisor who’s now the producer on all of my projects, but before, I didn’t know what to look for, and I didn’t handpick every single person,” she said. “Now, there’s like a certain work ethic and attitude that I want for everybody on set.”
With all of her experience in the fashion world — she’s modeled in Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Seventeen Magazine, Nylon, the list goes on — Ruhl has grown a thick skin in the face of rejection. It’s something she’s been able to use in Hollywood, too.
“Modeling does take talent, it is an art form. But when you’re cast, you know, it’s very much at face value. They don’t really know what you can do yet. So I think now there’s almost a relief,” she said. “As a director, like, at least they’re rejecting me because of a skill set that I can make better, whereas I look like how I look like, you know? And it’s almost a less personal of a rejection, in a way.”
After years of go-sees and photoshoots, Ruhl got into acting “by accident,” she said — she booked a part in Like Crazy director Drake Doremus’s Newness starring Nicholas Hoult and Laia Costa on only her second-ever acting audition. But during the pandemic, the thought of doing more auditions lost its appeal.
“I just kind of decided,” she said, “that I wanted to take my life into my own hands and not wait on somebody to pick me for my life to change.”
Watch the trailer for Blue Moon here.
Main Image: Olivia Berris and Audra Rae Thornton in “Blue Moon.”