Emma Rose Roberts (born February 10, 1991) is an American actress and singer. After making her film debut as Kristina Jung in the crime film Blow (2001), Roberts gained recognition for her lead role as Addie Singer on the Nickelodeon television series Unfabulous (2004–2007). She released her debut studio album Unfabulous and More in 2005. Roberts then appeared in numerous films, including Aquamarine (2006), Nancy Drew (2007), Wild Child (2008), Hotel for Dogs (2009), Valentine’s Day (2010), It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010), and The Art of Getting By (2011).
Looking for more mature roles, Roberts obtained starring roles in the films Lymelife (2009), 18.104.22.168. (2010), Scream 4 (2011), Adult World (2013), We’re the Millers (2013), Palo Alto (2013), The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015), and Nerve (2016). She starred in the lead role of Chanel Oberlin on the Fox horror-comedy series Scream Queens (2015–2016), and appeared in four seasons of the FX horror anthology series American Horror Story.
2013–present: American Horror Story and Scream Queens
On February 7, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Roberts had been cast to star in a pilot for Fox called Delirium, based on the Lauren Oliver novels. She portrayed Lena Haloway, the protagonist, but Fox decided not to pick up the show. The pilot episode was picked up by Hulu and was available to stream for a limited time beginning on June 20, 2014. Roberts then starred in the comedy film We’re the Millers, alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. It was released on August 7, 2013. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a financial success, grossing over $269 million against a budget of $37 million. She next appeared in season three of the FX horror anthology series American Horror Story, called American Horror Story: Coven, from late 2013 through January 2014. Roberts portrayed a self-involved party girl named Madison Montgomery, who also happens to be a telekinetic witch. She then portrayed Maggie Esmerelda, a con artist posing as a fortune teller, in American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Roberts played the lead role in Gia Coppola’s directorial debut, Palo Alto, based on James Franco’s short story collection of the same name. The film was released in May 2014 to generally positive reviews, with particular praise for Roberts’ performance. Tom Shone of The Guardian and Ian Freer of Empire both called her the “standout” of the film, with Freer praising her performance for being “heartbreaking as she suggests longings and anxieties without over-hyping it. Much like the film itself.” Roberts then starred alongside Palo Alto co-star Nat Wolff in Ashby, portraying the supporting role of Eloise. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015, and was released on September 25, in a limited release and through video on demand.
Roberts next appeared in the horror film The Blackcoat’s Daughter (also known by its original title February) alongside Kiernan Shipka. Directed by Osgood Perkins, the film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Roberts played the lead character Chanel Oberlin on Fox’s horror comedy series Scream Queens, alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and Lea Michele. The series was created by American Horror Story producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, with Glee producer Ian Brennan. The show was canceled after two seasons. In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting; in the video, Roberts and others told the stories of the people killed there. Roberts then starred alongside Dave Franco in Lionsgate’s adaptation of the young-adult novel Nerve. The film premiered at the SVA Theater on July 12, 2016.
In 2017, Roberts played Jess in the drama film Who We Are Now, released on September 9 at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Later, Roberts returned to American Horror Story, guest starring as newscast reporter Serena Belinda, in its seventh season, Cult, in the episode “11/9”. In March 2018, it was announced that Roberts is set to star in Anya’s Ghost, an upcoming supernatural comedy film based on the award-winning graphic novel of the same name, written by Vera Brosgol and published in 2011. From April to August 2018, Roberts starred in three films: In a Relationship, Billionaire Boys Club and Little Italy. She next appeared in American Horror Story: Apocalypse, where she portrayed Madison Montgomery, for a second time. On October 31, 2018, after reports about Roberts being cast as Kat Baker in the Netflix series Spinning Out, it was announced that she had exited the series due to scheduling conflicts.
In 2019, Roberts starred in the fantasy drama film Paradise Hills, as Uma. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26. On February 6, 2019, Ryan Murphy announced that Roberts will appear in the ninth season of American Horror Story.
In 2005, Roberts released a debut album titled Unfabulous and More. The album was released on September 27, 2005, through Columbia Records and Nick Records. It also served as the soundtrack to the television series Unfabulous, in which Roberts starred. The album peaked at number 46 and 10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums and Kid Albums charts, respectively. In September 2005, two singles were released from the album: “I Wanna Be” and “Dummy”. The album includes several original songs (among them “Dummy” and “I Wanna Be”, both of which were also released as music videos, “I Have Arrived” and “This Is Me”, which was co-written by Roberts), as well as some of Addie’s songs from the first season, including “Punch Rocker” and “New Shoes” (both from the episode “The Party”), “94 Weeks (Metal Mouth Freak)” (from “The Bar Mitzvah”) and “Mexican Wrestler” (which had previously appeared on Jill Sobule’s 2000 album Pink Pearl and in the episode “The 66th Day” from Unfabulous). During the same year, Roberts recorded “If I Had It My Way” for the soundtrack of the 2005 Disney film Ice Princess. In 2006, Roberts covered the song “Island in the Sun”, which was originally recorded by Weezer in 2001; she recorded the song for the Aquamarine soundtrack, a film in which she starred as one of the leads.
Roberts said in a 2007 interview: “Right now I am focusing on movies. I am getting ready to start a new movie this summer so that is taking a lot of my time. I think when I am a little bit older it is definitely something I’d like to pursue.” In another interview, she said: “My musical career is indefinitely on hold. I don’t like people who become like ‘actor slash singer.’ I think people should be one or the other because usually you’re not going to be great at both. You’re going to be better at one, so you might as well stick to the one you’re good at. I’m going for acting.”