Shop UO UO Blog

An Interview with Emma and Emily from The Do Not Enter Diaries

Emma Orlow and Emily Cohn's ambitious project The Do Not Enter Diaries offers an intimate look at teenager's bedrooms through video interviews. From heavily organized desk spaces to beanie baby bear-lined walls, each teen bedroom showcases a uniquely decorated and personal space that will no doubt remind you of your own special teen bedroom. You can check out the site today for their latest teen bedroom post. Oh, and did I mention the site is entirely created, produced, and run all by teens? Teens rule, seriously. Here, we talk to Emily and Emma about the project, their bedrooms and the beauty of slightly embarrassing wall collage pictures. - Hazel

Where did the idea to first start to do interviews about teen bedrooms come from? 

Emily: One random morning in January I was watching different online video content, like StyleLikeU and Nowness, and I sort of just got to thinking about how I'm always more interested in videos that have to do with teens. Then I started to think about my all my friends and how I had just redone my room and I called Emma to talk about this project and she was really into it. I got my camera and went over to her house and the first video we did was her room. 

Emma: For me, my bedroom is the space where I do everything. So for us the reason why we chose to film teenage bedrooms as opposed to some other space of theirs is because we believe that it's the only space when you're a teenager that you have full jurisdiction over. We also wanted to show how your room can tell something about your interests. If we had chose to film a closet or something, when you're walking down the street people really do get to see your clothes and they get to see that side of you. But, nobody gets to see this private world that you've created for yourself in your bedroom.
 
What's your favorite part of your bedroom? 

Emma: My favorite part of my room is my bed. I don't use my desk for anything, it's mostly just a place where I draw art projects that I'm working on. Everything is on my bed; I use my computer there, I do my homework there, I write there. I also like it because it's in the center of my room where I can appreciate my collage walls and all the different little things in my room. 

Emily: My favorite part is my little window-sill that I made that I kind of dreamed of. My mom and I went to a flea market and we got these chairs and cut off the legs and mounted them up on my windowsill where I can sit and read. 


Have your bedrooms gone through any phases? I feel my bedroom has had very distinct phases over the years, like it grew with me as a teen. 

Emily: I think your bedroom does grow with you. I had to wait a really long time to change my room in any way so for the longest time I had this IKEA loft bed in my room. I've always had a gumball machine in my room. I just think it's funny that even though I changed my room a year and a half ago it still looks like it could be a 13 year old's room. I'm really nostalgic in general, for childhood stuff. My room has definitely gone through different phases and grown up with me. 

Emma: For me, my room has only gotten more and more filled and crazy-colored. My mom was asking me if I ever changed the collage on my wall and I said no because, I mean, there are occasionally pictures that I'm embarrassed by on the wall but I think it's sort of hallmark of being a teenager and getting to see different pictures on the wall that I picked out at different points in my life. Now I can look it at and see a collage of my teenage years. It's like, oh there's that phase that I went through that now I'm embarrassed by but I don't want to leave it behind. 

Emily: For most of the kids that we talk to that are going off to college, they never want their bedroom to change even if they don't plan to never live there again. You want to have your room to come back to. 

Emma: I don't think I'll take anything that it's in my teenage bedroom to college because I feel like when I graduate high school the room has been completed. Hopefully my mom never changes my room in any way. The best case scenario would be for her to turn it into a museum [laughs].The worst case scenario would be an exercise room. That would be horrific.


What's the strangest or more interesting thing someone has had in their bedroom diary so far? 

Emma: [One diarist] Langston was born in his bedroom which I find to be really interesting. I'm not sure if that represents him on a deeper level but I do find it a rarity to be born in your bedroom. 

Emily: We also had another girl that we filmed that just kept opening up her drawers and in every drawer there were like old toothbrushes, old notebooks, old magazines and she keeps all her clean clothes in a hamper and all her dirty clothes on the floor. 

If you could do a bedroom diary for any famous teenager, living or dead, who'd it be?

Emma: I would love to do Honey Boo Boo when she's a teenager. She's one of the most normal people and she always says whatever she's thinking. She also has so many siblings and animals in her house and she'd have a lot to say about her room. 

Emily: I don't think this will ever happen but I would love to interview Malia Obama about her experience with living in the White House would be amazing. I'd love to see whatever she left behind and she probably has all these people helping her in the first place, which was probably overwhelming. 

Emma: Those are definitely two polar opposites. 

Emily: Exactly! [laughs]