If you ask someone about Emily Kohler, they might describe her three ways — theater lover, constantly positive and a doughnut artist.
The 26-year-old Elizabethtown woman often can be found on stage at the Hardin County Playhouse or Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center. And, while most people are asleep, she’s creating doughnut art at Amazin Glazin Donuts in Elizabethtown.
When she started at the doughnut shop in 2017, she noticed decorators experimenting with colors. Then she was assigned to decorating duty and decided to create some designs.
“The more I do it, the more interesting they get,” she said.
Hohler has decorated doughnuts with roses and holiday themes such as elves.
When she hears people say they like her designs, it warms her heart.
“It’s something I get to come do every day and I enjoy doing and designing,” Kohler said.
Food is one of many ways she expresses her art.
“Theater gives me life,” she said.
She’s performed in church plays as a child and when her family moved to Elizabethtown from LaRue County she became involved in Youth Theatre of Hardin County.
She auditioned for “Bye Bye Birdie” after her senior year.
“I thought this is it, I have to do this forever,” she said.
Since 2010 she’s lost count of how many shows she’s been a part of, on stage and doing tech work behind the scenes.
“I love being out there acting, making people happy and seeing their reactions to things,” she said.
Kohler said part of it is knowing audiences laughed or cried because her work made them genuinely feel.
“On the other hand, if you are a tech you are backstage helping the actors do what they need to do and supporting them,” she said. “It’s such a cool feeling to do each of them.”
Theater has enriched her life in many ways.
“The people I’ve met are some of the closet friends I have,” Taylor said. “Some of the ideals I hold close I’ve learned from the theater and it’s helped shape me into the person I am.”
One of her favorite roles was in the Playhouse production of “Crimes of the Heart.” But it also proved her tendency to be accident prone. She cut her hand with a knife live on stage during a scene and just kept going.
Further proof lies in the story behind her nickname, Staples. She fell off the stage at The PAC because she wasn’t looking where she was going. Fortunately, the pit was only a four-foot drop. She hit her head on a music stand resulting in six staples in her head.
“So they started calling me Staples,” she said and she’s been known by that for about seven years.
PAC Technical Director Aaron Taylor was at The PAC the day she got her nickname.
“Even when she was lying face down in a pool of her own blood, she was more concerned with keeping everyone else calm,” he said. “She is a delight to direct and brings professionalism and enthusiasm to every project she’s involved with.”
Taylor’s worked with her on several projects.
“I have never met a more giving, innocent beautiful human being than Staples,” he said. “She is like every Care Bear rolled in to one and is one of those rarities your meet, a wholly altruistic person.”
Other favorite roles for Kohler were characters in “The 39 Steps,” directed by Taylor, and Chava in “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“Emily Kohler is like my other daughter,” fellow actor Ron Blair said. “She’s my Little Bird, which originated with her playing my daughter Chava in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.”
He said there isn’t a project he wouldn’t ask her to join.
Blair also is proud of the work she does making doughnuts.
“I often see people bringing Amazin’ Glazin’ Donuts into work and I’m proud to tell them I know the person who made their doughnuts and I can guarantee they were made with love,” he said. “It sounds dumb, but it’s true, Emily’s love and light is evident in every life she touches and everything she makes.”
Blair said Kohler is someone who “emanates an infections light of positivity.”
“It’s astounding, really, how her energy enlivens those around her in any environment she’s in,” he said. “There is no one like Emily Kohler, but she inspires so many people to try to be a better person through her example and she makes me the proudest Papa every day.”
Kohler feels in some ways, her positivity is a conscious choice.
She said she’s been positive since she was a child and noticed people liked that about her. When others are happy, she’s happy, Kohler said, which helps maintain her positive attitude.
“I can be this because it’s something that comes naturally to me and I can choose to be it because it’s an easy choice,” she said.
Sometimes she runs into people who are difficult to be positive around, but she still chooses to try.
“I’m going to be positive and let that be me and let you be you and that’s all I can control,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to remind yourself of that.”