Emily Ard smirks at the camera with a spider on her hand.

SLUG Style: Emily Ard

Art and Fashion

A mother of 16 spiders, Emily Ard explores the darker side of fashion through her love of Halloween and heavy metal. Keep up with her spooky looks and unique pets on her Instagram @emyafterdark_.

Every month, SLUG Style features a distinct member of the community and asks them why they do what they do. Exploring more than just clothing, SLUG Style is an attempt to feature the people who give Salt Lake City flavor through personality and panache.

What are your stylistic influences? This could be a band, idol, decade, fictional character—anything.

Definitely Elvira, she’s always been my number one. 

What are your hobbies? What is an interest that you have that no one would realize to ask you about?

Emily Ard sits next to pinball machines with a framed spider in front of her.
Ard cites Elvira: Mistress of the Dark as her biggest style influence. Photo: John Taylor.

I guess everyone that knows me knows about the spiders—that’s probably my main hobby. My other hobbies include collecting Pokémon cards and teaching my niece the ways of Pokémon.

Have you been dressing in a goth/alternative style since you were young, or was there a certain time you started getting into it?

I don’t consider myself a goth, but I remember as a kid I was always obsessed with being scary. The first time I was all decked out looking spooky was for one of my dance recitals for Thriller—I did a zombie look with blood all over. I felt awesome and it kind of just stayed like that. I like blood and looking scary!

Could you give us a brief rundown of the pets you own? Do you have a favorite and if so, why?

I’ll start with my favorite: Maddy, my red heeler pup is my best friend and the best dog I’ve ever had. I also have two bearded dragons who are MY BOYS! I used to have 16 tarantulas, but one recently passed away. 

Do you feel like your relationship with your pets has any impact on your style? If so, how?

Oh definitely, it kind of falls back into being the “scary one.” Most people I know are terrified of spiders, and when I tell them how many I own they look at me like I’m a psychopath! 

Are you always “on” or would someone see you at the grocery store, for example, with less elements of your style?

Most people that see me at my local gas station—where I get my daily Hot Cheetos—probably wouldn’t even know that I was spooky, besides my Halloween pajamas and pumpkin slippers. I dress so lazy, people will only see me in my prime when I’m at a show, or sometimes at work.

I can see that Halloween has a big influence on your style. What about that appeals to you?

Emily Ard poses with an array of props and a plush spider.
Ard adores Halloween, and not just because her birthday is in October. Photo: John Taylor.

That’s a good question—I’ve been obsessed with Halloween for as long as I can remember. It helps that October is also my birth month! Everything about Halloween makes me happy and when I remind someone of Halloween, it’s a huge compliment.

Classic horror flicks also seem to be a passion of yours. Are there any in particular that have inspired your style?

Elvira. As soon as I saw her, I knew I wanted to either be her or be with her. Van Helsing was a big one for me as well. I love vampire brides! I always wanted to have that enchanting and scary look. The Evil Dead movies also take a huge chunk of this; I actually used to do special effects makeup and went to school in Chicago for it! Evil Dead made me want to make gross stuff and make my own blood.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those be? 

Weird, caring and passionate.

How has your personal style evolved over time?

I got way better with my eyebrow game! They used to be big and insane. Now, with years of practice, they’ve gotten better. 

Read more SLUG Style features:
SLUG Style: Kat Aleman

SLUG Style: Amanda Madden