Spotlight On: Producer, Podcaster, Designer + Actor Emily Ruhl

Emily RuhlPhoto Credit: Martina Tolot Moroder

We’re coming in haute today with Emily Ruhl, a model, actress, producer, writer, and director known as the face of many cosmetic companies including Smashbox, KKW Beauty, and MAC, who made her acting debut opposite Nicholas Hoult in Drake Doremus’ feature film Newness, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; she also made a cameo appearance in Troian Bellisario’s short film, Life on Mars.

In 2021 Emily made her producing, directorial, and writing debut with Blue Moon. She is currently developing her first TV series, 13th Stepping, which is being produced by her production company, Public School Pictures. She also hosts the Public School Pictures Podcast, where she chats with the cast or crew behind Public School Pictures’ projects. Her company recently launched a 14-piece merchandise collection and introduced the non-profit Back To School program, which will herald the next generation of filmmakers by providing students with opportunities and exposure to the industry. This is her story.

Emily RuhlPhoto Credit: Martina Tolot MoroderCan you tell me how your production company Public School Pictures came to be formed?

After making my first short film, Blue Moon, I realized that I wanted to feel what I felt on set over and over again. It was magic. Starting a production company has allowed me to do that. I get to be a part of making movies over and over again.

What is the most rewarding thing you have found about the independent film space?

The independent film space is full of incredible artists willing to make bold choices and take big chances.

You started in the industry first as a model and then as an actress before moving behind the camera. How has the transition been? What has surprised you about the development stage of the filmmaking process?

The transition from my previous careers has been a rather natural one. Every model wants to act. Every actor wants to direct. Every director wants to produce. That’s how I’ve ended up here. What has surprised me about the development stage of filmmaking is the amount of people involved. It’s remarkable and definitely a team sport.

What do you want people to take away from your body of work?

I hope there’s a project for everyone and that through watching the films, they’ve been exposed to a world they’ve never imagined before.

Who was someone you connected with strongly on set? What did they teach you?

Jim Cummings directed me in Public School Pictures’ Pretty Sad. He is incredibly prepared and has shown me what is possible when you know exactly what you want.

Do you have any advice you’d give to your younger self knowing what you know now?

Learn by doing.

Emily RuhlPhoto Credit: Martina Tolot Moroder

Tell me more about your podcast and your clothing line.

On the Public School Pictures Podcast, I discuss all things independent filmmaking with the above and below the line talent that we work with. I found that it’s a great way to share information without a paywall. The podcast is available on Spotify. We also have a 14-piece merchandise collection available at I had a really great time collaborating with our graphic designer on all of the pieces.

What do you have coming up next?

I’m currently engaged in several exciting projects across different formats and genres. Public School Pictures’ slate reflects our commitment to diverse storytelling and supporting emerging talents. Here are some of the projects we’re working on:

13 Stepping (original TV series): This is a passion project for me as I’m not only producing but also writing and starring in the series. It explores themes of growth, relationships, and self-discovery. The series aims to offer a fresh and authentic perspective on modern life.

Pretty Sad (original short film): We’re collaborating with director Jim Cummings on this upcoming short film. Jim is known for his distinct storytelling style, and we’re excited to bring his vision to life under the Public School Pictures banner.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Friendships and family. They are the most fulfilling aspects of life.

Emily RuhlPhoto Credit: Martina Tolot Moroder