When Emma was only six-months-old, she had been introduced into the world of swimming by her father, Neil Gilbert. Since then, Emma dedicated most of her free time training and competing for her swim team, and had won countless trophies for it. Out of all three girls, Emma grew up in a more stable environment as her father is a business man in development. Her mother, Lisa Gilbert, was once a junior lifeguard and currently collects crystal figurines of swans. Because her father’s job allows him to affiliate with Harrison Bennett's marriage affairs, Emma and her brother, Elliot Gilbert, grew up along-side with Zane Bennett, Harrison’s son, since she was three years old. Despite their childhood companionship, Emma and Zane grew weary of each other as they grew older. Because their parents are still close friends, the two of them continued to be friendly towards the other on some occasions. But that was just on the surface. Dig a little deeper and it gets ugly!
Despite growing up in a more wealthier lifestyle than her friends, Emma lacks the personality of a snob addict. Unlike her popular classmate, Miriam Kent, Emma and her brother were taught to be respectful and truthful to one another. Used to her perfect family lifestyle, Emma admits feeling guilty whenever she had to lie to her brother or her parents. Unlike her friend, Cleo Sertori, Emma shares a close relationship with her younger brother, Elliot, and often times she would try to comfort and reassure him whenever he’s unhappy. Although several times, they still got on each other nerves every once in a while.
Sometime during her childhood, Emma met Cleo and the two of them became close friends ever since to the point where Emma is aware of Cleo's bad singing. Because of her yearly intense training for her competitive swimming team, Emma had only attended Cleo’s first few childhood birthday parties, last being her sixth. After years of friendship, she wasn’t aware that Cleo’s birthday parties had remained the same childish party, courtesy of Cleo's father.
Emma has a confident and responsible, if somewhat controlling, personality. She can be a bit of a worry wort. She is very organized. She is often bossy and irritating and very up-tight. Living in a perfect family lifestyle, she developed a need to be a perfectionist. She enjoys being the most organized of the girls and can’t help but encourage others to do the same. As well as being a driven individual, Emma once dedicated her free time in training for her regional swimming competition. Although she resigned after turning into a mermaid because it precludes her from swimming, Emma retains a bit of her driven personality.
She does seem to be more empathic than her friend, Rikki Chadwick when it comes to understanding other people’s feelings and daily problems. She tends to express many concerns for her friends and would even go out of her way to try and do the impossible for them, even trying her best to restore Louise Chatham’s decaying boat. Although Emma is often the most conscientious and considerate of the three girls, at times she can be pedantic and controlling, once even suggesting that she considers chewing a prescribed number of times before swallowing as a normal practice.
Emma also displays a responsible trait where she tends to wake up early for work before the café opens and stays late after closing as we found out in the episode Cleo vs. Charlotte . Being the responsible one, she constantly reminds her brother and friends to do their work and is often paranoid when things aren’t organized. This tends to drive those around her insane at times when she stressed about it too often.
Often times, she doesn’t listen to what other people say and assumes the situation for the worse. When push comes to shove, she would often show-off and proves to others that she can be more or just as skilled as they are in certain events. In “Riding For a Fall”, she attempts to show off her new-found knowledge about riding horses to Ash, but her plan only backfired. In "Emma Rebel", she attempts to become a rebellious girl, just like Rikki, to show that she can be fun to be around. She fails to do this when she decides to have a party while her parents are away. Once the party gets out of hand with the help of Rikki she gets it to stop and admits this isn't they way for her. But in the same episode she shows true honesty when she confesses about the party to her parents who assumed Rikki had thrown while they were away for the weekend. Her ideas for organization and control sometimes brings her into conflict with Rikki, who is Emma's polar opposite.
Often times, Emma would disagree and argue with Rikki, who is her polar opposite. While in contrast to Rikki’s rebellious and care-free personality, Emma is controlling and organized. Because of their opposite personalities and different ideals, Emma and Rikki often argue and have various conflicts, leaving Cleo stuck in the middle of their fight.
Emma has golden blonde hair and pale blue eyes. Her skin is quite fair and smooth. She usually has her hair tied up in a pony tail in her human form, but at times she is seen letting it down. As a mermaid, her hair is let down and she has an orange-scaled tail with a matching orange-scaled top. In episode "Red Herring" , Emma decided to change her hair color, but Cleo accidentally dyes it completely red. Since her hair's color changed when she was a mermaid, her normal hair returns when she is human. In the end, she decides to change it back to her old color. In season 1 and the beginning of season 2, Emma wears a colorful Hawaiian-styled shirt as her JuiceNet Café uniform with a small white apron over her trousers. When Ash became the café’s new supervisor, she wore a blue and red polo shirt with a small embroider picture of a pineapple with a matching hat. Emma later convinced Ash to let them ditch the hat, but they kept the top. Her clothes have a lot of blue and white based on her powers on turning water to ice. Her favorite colors are blue and white based on her clothing.
One day, Cleo was helping Emma train for her regional swimming competition by timing her. While Cleo later left for home, Emma continued to train some more. Later on during her walk home, Emma ran into Cleo again but this time she was riding in Zane’s zodiac boat with the new girl, Rikki. Cleo and Rikki invited her for a ride with Rikki suggesting that they go out into the ocean for some fun and Emma expressing her concern. With the carefree Rikki steering the boat out into the sea and miles offshore, the girls soon found out that they are now out of fuel in the middle of the ocean. With little choice, the three girls paddled their way to the closest land they could find: Mako Island.
Once ashore the deserted island, Emma and her friends pondered on how they should call for help. Being the most prepared one in the group, Emma brought out her cell phone but only to find that it couldn’t get a signal. Emma suggested that they should head inland towards a higher altitude in hopes of getting a signal for a call. As they ventured in deeper into the jungle-infested island, the three girls soon came across a clearing where a river stream turns into a waterfall over several boulders. While Emma and Rikki were able to jump over to the small waterfall, Cleo became hesitant and without a warning, fell into a hole. The other two followed her and continued to pursue a way out of the underground cave.
Several hours later, the three of them ended up at the end of the tunnel and found the moon cave with a pool at the bottom of the island’s dormant volcano. Emma realizes that the Moon Pool is connected to the ocean and may be their only way out, dove in to find out. Confirming her find, she and Rikki convinced the hesitant Cleo to escape with them. When all three of them entered the pool, the full moon became aligned with the moon pool, causing it to bubble and glow a mystic blue glow and emitting small orbs of magical light particles into the air. Oblivious to what was happening to them, the girls ventured out into open sea where they were rescued by the local water-police.
Around twelve hours later, Emma went to the ocean for a morning swim. After ten seconds in the ocean water, Emma was shocked to feel that she no long has human legs but instead, she sprouted an orange mermaid tail. She later confirms that she wasn’t the only one who became a mermaid as the same thing had happened to Cleo and Rikki.
Despite not being under the influence of the full moon, Emma once again developed a craving for raw fish and seafood in the episode "Fish Fever". While helping with the search for a coral for Cleo’s new fish tank, Emma accidentally cut herself on a strange, rainbow-colored coral. Unknown to the girls, the poisonous coral can affect a mermaid tremendously. At first, it caused her to be overexcited, but the more the poison seeps into Emma’s system, the more ravenous she gets. The poison also caused tremendous mutation in a mermaid’s physical system. For Emma, her usual orange scales slowly turns white, her hands more webbed, her fingernails into claws, her skin more monstrous, her neck sprouts a set of gills, her hair started to go green and her eyes turned yellow. She was later cured when Lewis sprayed an antidote on her developed by Laurie.
Emma and the other girls possess the magical ability to transform into a mermaid ten seconds after touching water. She wasn't able to transform into a mermaid until an estimate of twelve hours after jumping into the Moon Pool at Mako Island during a full moon. She turns back into a human a few minutes after she is out of the water and when the water on her has fully dried. Once her body is completely dry, her human form reverts back to what she appeared to be before her mermaid transformation. As a mermaid, Emma and the others have the ability to swim at super speed of 600km/h, hold their breath for more than fifteen minutes, and possibly dive at a depth lower than any ordinary human being.
Emma is the second mermaid to discover her individual powers over water: the ability to freeze water, normally called Hydro-Cryokinesis. Her ability can cause things to become brittle enough for her to break, such as an electronic lock. She can freeze an entire person and put them into stasis lock or render them immobile by freezing only their wet suits. With Cleo’s power, Emma can create ice sculptures or ice-orbs, but it would eventually melt or shatter. At first, it implies that she could only freeze things with water over it. But several times in season one, Emma was able to freeze, cool, and lock objects with her powers without the aids of water. This could imply that she can freeze the small water molecules around those dry objects.
In the second season premiere "Control", a special full moon along with a rare planetary alignment greatly strengthens and increases her powers to much more powerful levels. Emma’s new mermaid power is full-blown "cryokinesis"; the power to create, generate, manipulate and control ice, snow, sleet and hail at will and also control clouds. It allows her to freeze any object without water, even freezing an entire room. When in combination with Cleo and Rikki's advanced powers, she can create unusually strong electric storms and levitate a person into the air! Emma and the other girls possess the magical ability to transform into a mermaid ten seconds after touching water. She wasn't able to transform into a mermaid until an estimate of twelve hours after jumping into the Moon Pool at Mako Island during a full moon. She turns back into a human a few minutes after she is out of the water and when the water on her has fully dried. Once her body is completely dry, her human form reverts back to what she appeared to be before her mermaid transformation. As a mermaid, Emma and the others have the ability to swim at super speed of 600km/h, hold their breath for more than fifteen minutes, and possibly dive at a depth lower than any ordinary human being.
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