The mutant genome has a sense of humor sometimes. How else can one describe a woman who literally can turn herself into a diamond, cold yet beautiful, as well as manipulate the thoughts of everyone around her but never give her the empathy to truly reach out to someone?
In many respects, Emma Frost is what Charles Xavier could have turned into (minus the career as a stripper and prostitute in exchange for the patronage of the richest men in the world). The telepathic child of a loveless but affluent household, both Xavier and Emma realized they could use their powers to achieve their wildest ambitions.
Emma was almost strong enough to resist the temptation.
In truth, Emma's sex may have played a role in her corruption as she realized very early on how causally she was objectified and how her powers weren't enough to achieve all of her needs. The buxom blonde sexpot is a creation of hair dye, cosmetics, plastic surgery, and tailors designed to control. It's also as artificial as much of her demeanor--carefully controlled and built around saying the perfect thing to achieve the result she needs.
Emma Frost sacrificed her dignity to achieve power in the Hellfire Club and forge whatever alliances she could--including making use of her sexuality in a manner the male members were rarely required to.
Emma Frost did not find her true calling, however, until the Hellfire Club came up with the idea of creating the Hellions. While the Hellfire Club contained some die-hard human supremacists like Edward Buckman and Steve Lang, it was firmly in the control of its mutant members by this time. Sebastian Shaw envisioned creating a "hidden elite" to rule the world with their powers while the majority of mutant-kind (as well as humanity) was kept under their control via Hellfire Club-operated Sentinels.Though, as the cinematic X-men: First Class illustrated, Emma Frost was not required to do so often. Emma Frost always sold the fantasy of her first and it was the rare Hellfire Club member who caught her eye. Everyone else remembered what she wanted and nothing more, much like Mastermind.
Indeed, a few of the more misogynist members of the club found themselves ruining their careers or losing their fortunes mysteriously--much to the amusement of Sebastian Shaw and Selene. Emma's just sad Norman Osbourne and Vandal Savage's minds were too different to do the same to.
Emma Frost found herself more at home in the school room than she ever did in the boardroom or the Hellfire Club's parlors. The Hellions loved their Headmistress and she loved them in return. She even found herself respecting Xavier's Institute as a friendly rival, unlike the other members of the Inner Circle who wanted to kill them all.Notably, Sebastian Shaw's plan almost worked and was one of the most subtle schemes for world-domination in history. It's a good thing he was thwarted, though, because the Sentinels eventually would have achieved sentience and overridden Shaw's safeguards against hunting allied mutants.
Unfortunately, one cannot walk with the Devil and not get burned. The Hellfire Club invited Trevor Fitzroy to join its membership in exchange for knowledge of the future. Trevor murdered all of her students so he could use their life-force to bring his criminal associates from the future.
Emma Frost was devastated by this action. Previously, her schemes had only hurt either faceless drones or people she utterly despised. Her Hellions were individuals she knew intimately and which gave her the respect she'd always craved. Emma had not only failed to protect them but she'd practically put them up on the chopping block by teaching them to obey the Inner Circle without question.
Emma Frost has been atoning for this action ever since, first as a teacher of Generation X and later as a full-fledged X-man. Around the X-men, Emma learned to drop some of her cold exterior and reveal the person she might have been without life making her its personal punching bag. Said person is still snarky as hell but few have ever had cause to doubt her good intentions. Ironically, the most consistent doubter has been Kitty Pryde who remembers Emma's Hellions and Hellfire Academy considerably less rosily.To make matters worse, it's quite probable the Hellfire Club arranged the Hellion's mass execution as Emma hadn't provided them the hardened killers and psychopaths they wanted.
Emma Frost's membership in the X-men has also been controversial in other sections of the superhero world. Wonder Woman remembers Emma Frost as a frequent villain in her early rogue's gallery and finds her personally distasteful (even if she now accepts her redemption is sincere). Batman despises any form of mental manipulation and believes Emma Frost hasn't so much changed as switched sides. Lex Luthor and she have also collaborated several times since Emma's switch as Emma believes him to be the sort of person she can manipulate.
Emma Frost has recently ended her long-term relationship with Scott Summers, though time will tell if they rekindle it. Emma has also discovered Cadmus cloned her (secretly on behalf of Lex Luthor), creating the Stepford Cookoos. Two of the quintuplets have since died, leaving a hive-minded trio that look to her as their mother.Something which amuses Luthor to no end.
Note: As a 9th level Intelligence, Lex Luthor is immune to Miss Frost's telepathic control.
Hell, the Purple Man can't effect him.
Emma Frost also has a number of superheroes she has had a former relationship with including Namor, Banshee, and others. Hilariously, she dated Bruce Wayne for a time and was unable to get past his Martian Manhunter-installed mental shields to suspect he was anything more than the vapid playboy he pretended to be.
Emma Frost's heart is in the right place but she's fully capable of taking "questionable" action to achieve her goals. The Rogues of Central City, Deathstroke, and Taskmaster are all on her rolodex after all and none of them care about her present allegiance as long as they get paid.She might choke on her own outrage if she ever found out the truth. Especially since Batman used the opportunity to find the information necessary to shut down the Hellfire Club's attempted takeover of Gotham City.