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Emmanuel, possibly the most famous emu in the world, stared into the phone’s camera with his reddish-brown eyes. He seemed, at best, mildly curious.
“Hello, Mademoiselleosaki is on the phone,” said Taylor Blake, whose family owns the roughly 5-foot-8, 120-pound emu, as she called her black-feathered friend. “They would like you to make a comment.”
Emmanuel the Emu has become a Knuckle Bump Farms TikToks star. Taylor Blake, whose family owns the farm, helped facilitate Emmanuel’s interview. (Video: Annabelle Timsit/Mademoiselleosaki)
We wanted to know how Emmanuel felt about being a viral sensation. Millions of people have watched the giant bird strut into the frame of Blake’s TikTok videos, uninvited and oblivious to everything going on around them. In some cases, Emmanuel attacks the phone while he is recording, slamming the device into the ground, and constantly interrupting the social media content creator’s educational videos about animals and life on the farm.
In the videos, Blake, 29, can be heard scolding the emu, 7: “Emmanuel, don’t do it!” The merchandise is arriving, says Blake.
In their first joint interview, Emmanuel watched our Zoom call, then looked at Blake, then turned away from the screen. He declined to comment.
“Emmanuel is a down to earth guy,” Blake told The Post. “I really don’t think he cares. [about being famous].”
Blake says fame isn’t going to change Emmanuel: “I’ve talked to him about it several times, but he really hasn’t had much of a reaction. I think he’s just adjusting to this new life of fame.”
Emmanuel may not care about his new celebrity, but people on the internet do. TikTok videos posted to the account of Knuckle Bump Farms, Blake’s family farm in South Florida where she and Emmanuel live, have garnered tens of thousands of likes.
“I would watch this 24 hours a day,” wrote Scottish comedian Janey Godley when she shared the video on Twitter on Saturday.
One video, in which Blake calls Emmanuel by his full name, Emmanuel Todd Lopez, has been viewed more than 2 million times.
Emmanuel has become a symbol: Of challenge. of audacity “Become unruly. Be the Emmanuel you want to see in the world,” the author of a book tweeted.
And Blake herself is relatable to many on social media, representing those who are just trying to get things done amid the chaos of life. Some parents compared their futile attempts to talk a giant bird out of doing something, and helplessly watch as Emmanuel, as Blake puts it, chooses “violence” anyway, to trying to raise a small child. Some teachers said he reminded them of rebellious classrooms.
“This is from another world. It’s magical,” one Twitter user wrote. “I like how he tries to reason with animals, and they just don’t,” wrote another.
Blake, who has been raising Emmanuel on the farm since 2015, has been surprised and somewhat “overwhelmed” by the success of her Emmanuel videos. She puts it down to the fact that people need distraction and a reason to smile as the news cycle is dominated by the war in Ukraine, deadly heat waves and other grim stories.
Blake describes his videos as “fun, light-hearted content, where you don’t have to worry about politics, you don’t have to worry about all the terrible things that are happening in the world right now.”
Blake grew up near her grandparents’ farm and developed a deep love of animals as a child. She has been creating social media content professionally since 2013. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she moved to Knuckle Bump Farms with her girlfriend to help Blake’s elderly grandparents take care of their animals on time. complete.
He started posting videos with animals (cows, donkeys, ducks, and, yes, emus in the plural) in 2018. His reasoning: “The world is dark and animals make everyone happy. They’re fun, they’re entertaining.”
The first time Emmanuel interrupted her while she was filming a video on the farm, Blake was irritated and didn’t post it. About a month later, she was rewatching the video on her phone and thought the interruption was funny.
“I posted it without thinking about anything,” he said. He is “totally spiraling from there”.
Blake says that Emmanuel’s interruptions are not staged. He has a genuine “obsession with the camera” and an “obsession with me”. … No matter where he is … he always has to be by my side.”
Emmanuel doesn’t seem to feel the same way about the other emu on the farm, Ellen. She is his least favorite creature on the property, says Blake.
Instead, Emmanuel prefers the company of a donkey named Rose. Ellen also interrupted Blake’s TikToks to stare curiously at the phone, as did Princess, an affectionate deer, and Regina, a curious rhea. But no one has taken off online like Emmanuel.
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Knuckle Bump Farms specializes primarily in miniature cattle. Emmanuel and Ellen were adopted by Blake’s grandmother from another farm in 2015 and have been raised as pets ever since.
“They were about a foot and a half tall when they first arrived,” Blake said.
And while Blake shares the highlights on his family farm’s TikTok account, he says “what you see online is literally maybe 2 percent of the chaos that goes on” there.
Now, Blake hopes to take advantage of Emmanuel’s social media stardom to sell products bearing his face to benefit Knuckle Bump.
She also has long-term ambitions, perhaps even a TV series with the giant bird, she says. While wild emus tend to live five to 10 years, Blake says, in captivity, they can live 20. Some emus have even been known to live into their 60s. Emmanuel is in “good health,” says Blake.
“There’s a bright future for Knuckle Bump Farms and for Emmanuel and for all the other animals, and I can see this going a long, long way,” adds Blake. “I’m super excited to be on the ride with me.”