Emily the Strange: From Quirky T-Shirt Character to Pop Culture Icon

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In the 1990s, Emily became a mascot for goth teens, her likeness turning up on t-shirts, bags and other accessories. That wasn't by design. "The fact of the matter was, she had really pale skin because I only had one color ink and paper is white," says Rob Reger, who created the character. "It was never my intention to make her a goth girl, per say, although she is a lover of all things dark."

As time passed, Emily's appeal has gone far beyond the kids wearing black nail polish and Bauhaus t-shirts. At Saturday evening's party, there were a lot of young girls in attendance, ordinary kids who are probably too young to feel an allegiance to any particular subculture. They're into Emily as well.

"Emily has a very clean timeless look. Even I have the same hair as Emily," explains Jessica Gruner, who writes Emily the Strange novels. "There is something in her that new generations and new trends can project onto her."

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Miami New Times staff