Saving & rendering emojis from mysql

Is anyone having issues getting emojis from the mysql database?

They are rendering fine inside the database (I can see the emoji character), but when I get the data from the database and try to render it in my Yii 2 app, it shows up as a ?.

I have meta charset = utf8 in my head section.

Am I missing something?

If anyone else is having this issue, please check out this thread on StackOverflow that answers it: