My goal for this project was to showcase women who I admire and give them a moment to shine. I still had several more days that I needed to fill and was able to figure out some of the spots before Covid took its collective dump on all of us. However, the month wasn't going to be entirely filled. I decided to finish with me..I'm a female. I have a perspective. I am doing my best to raise strong women. I also have a 6 year old who loves photography and gives really great direction. Originally, I had all of my family members take photos each. Mia knocked it out of the park so, all photos except the last were taken by her and edited by me.


What is your name and how do we know each other?

Emily Van Gorder-Pantig. It's an internal knowing.

How old are you?

36 but I still feel 12.

What are you currently doing with yourself?

I am momming, wifing, photographing, singing, trying to keep my head on straighting.

Are you where you hoped you would be? If not/ Why? If so-what do you love about it and could you see yourself doing anything else?

Hmm..Yes and No. Yes in that I always wanted to be a mom. I wanted a family and to have 3 kids. I am happy to say I achieved that dream. Career wise- When I was very young up until my mid 20's, my dream was to be on Broadway and on television. While I haven't fully given up on that dream, my dreams have changed. I am in a completely different avenue of art with photography that I absolutely love and am passionate about. I am happy to say that I am constantly working and achieving the dream of being on TV :) but Broadway has taken a bit of a backseat. Again, I haven't fully given up on it yet...I saw an older gentleman win a Tony Award in his late 70's last, there's still plenty of time.

Women are becoming a resilient sound that cannot be silenced. What are you doing to contribute that sound?

I am doing my absolute best to raise 3 strong ladies with voices that will be heard. While I was raised to be silly and do what I love, it was within certain perimeters within what my elders considered to be "right" or "appropriate". I want my girls to do whatever they feel is best in their identities and that will positively effect the rest of the world and those that surround them.

What is something you learned from a younger age that has stuck with you?

Be polite. Be kind. Be respectful.

Who is an individual who made a profound impact on you and why?

Well, definitely everyone you've read about this month. And SO many more. There are several who come to mind who I wanted to interview but at this time, it just wasn't possible.

I'd have to say though-the one individual who has made the most impact on me and changed me for the absolute best is Neil, my husband. He has seen me at my worst and been with me at my best. He has made me the individual to whom I have been elevated and never would have imagined I could achieve being.

What is a weakness or something that exposes your vulnerability and what do you do to combat/embrace it in order to grow?

I don't think vulnerability is a negative thing but I have a tendency to trust easily and expect that everyone has my best interest in mind. I don't mean this in a selfish way-I guess that you could say, I am a definitely a little naive. Personally, I tend to put others first so automatically that's what my brain assumes everyone else is doing for me. I've tried to be a little more selfish as I've gotten older to prevent unnecessary heartache. Although, I still get hurt from time to time.

What is something that you want to accomplish and what are you doing to get to that place, if anything?

I want to have continual work when it comes to photography and my performing career. I want to photograph more weddings and once Corona comes to a slow, I can get back on track for what I was doing to improve that obstacle. As far as my acting is concerned, there is definitely an ebb and flow when it comes to auditions. I depend on the skills of my wonderful manager and network when I have the opportunity to be on set. I want to start singing more and I think Corona has given me the opportunity to work on that dusty craft. I also want to continue to be the best example of what a mom is for my 3 daughters. I rely on my partner for guidance and support when I am not feeling my best. He definitely fills the cracks and my cup.

And now..a few questions to lighten the mood...

Dogs or Cats?

1000% DOGS.

Cheeseburgers or Salad?

If you know me. You know my favorite meal is a cheeseburger. All day, every day. Although about two months ago, I stopped eating meat. So, I've found the Beyond Burger to be a wonderful alternative.

Beach or Mountains?

Oof. Well, I don't like the sand that the beach brings into my black van. But, I also don't like how I get car sick driving to the mountains. If I'm taking photos-Mountains. If I'm doing everyday life-Beach.

Sweet or Salty?

Both. At the same time.

Lose all of your old memories or never make new ones?

Never make new ones. Dementia and Alzheimer's runs in my family. That is very real fear of mine.

Disney..or is there any alternative?

DISNEY is Life. I love Disney. It started from when I was little. It continues to this day. I've gotten to sing off and on in the park for over a decade. My last gig was being a cowgirl ghost in Frontierland/Mark Twain for the 50th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion and it was probably one of the best moments in my singing/performance career.

What is a fun fact that someone may not know about you?

I was the first girl born in over 100 years to my dads side of the family/ My childhood dream was to work at Disneyland in the Electrical Parade as a Step Sister. (Which I got to do in the summer of 2006).

And the final two important questions...

What is a common misconception about you that people make based on your appearance? What is your truth and how do you personify strength?

When I am not smiling, I look upset because my lips naturally turn down. Ironically, I think that it goes along with how I am hard wired. I tend to always thing worst case scenario in all situations and I have a tendency to be VERY negative. I always think that things are my fault or I am the reason behind something going south. I don't want to let others down and always want the best case scenario in EVERY situation. I have a hard time making decisions/committing because I don't want to be held responsible if something doesn't go exactly how I want it to. I get down on myself and can be incredibly self-deprecating.

As I have gotten older, I have worked hard at committing to be more positive and be more firm in my decision making. That to me, is the definition of strength. Strength is self-confidence and being true to who you are.

You have inspired me. What about yourself do you hope to put out in order to inspire other young people?

It's taken me a long time to be more comfortable in my own skin. I sought therapy, did a lot of soul searching and had many long talks with individuals I trust to help better myself. Every so often, I have hard days. The demons can get loud but I am a long ways away from where I used to be. I want my girls to be themselves and to live happy and healthy lives.

(bottom photo in this 2 photo collage taken by Teagan)

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