Although right now he is on everyone’s lips for his starring role in Emily in Paris, the daughter of Phil Collins – who dedicated the song of Tarzan You’ll be in my heart– He’s been acting since he was a baby, literally. And even though graduated in Journalism and has written books and columns, is known for great roles in films such as The Blind Side, where he acted alongside Sandra Bullock, and Snow White, with Julia Roberts.
At the time of this interview he is filming the second season of Emily in Paris para Netflix, series that also produces, and has several projects about to release. The most anticipated? Windfall, the first feature film in which Lily Collins has worked with her now husband, Charlie McDowell: she as an actress and he as a director.
Involved activist against bullying and eating disorders, which she herself suffered in her adolescence and showed in the film Down to the bone, this half british half american actress is chosen to represent the rebellious spirit of the new collection of Cartier.
How did your career start?
My first foray into the industry was when I was 2 years old and living in England: I was on a television series called Growing Pains (the European version). I like to think that my love of acting started with plays and musicals growing up, but I waited until I was 16 to start auditioning professionally. I was 20 years old when I received the call that I was going to participate in my first film, The Blind Side.
What would you say inspired you to become an actress?
My love of storytelling: When I was little, whether I read or my parents read to me, I stepped into a world in my head where I could almost imagine a movie and wanted to take people with me on that journey. Acting is that, it is the ability to take someone on a trip to an unknown place and experience different types of emotions and stories. Playing different types of characters requires research, and in doing so, you learn a lot about yourself along the way. So the shooting process becomes therapeutic and meditative for me.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a person in constant evolution, always curious and passionate about learning and growing as a human being. I evolve with every job I accept and every new situation I find myself in. In the last year, I have found that I am more experience- and people-oriented and less object-bound.
Are you more rebellious or nobler?
I’m a bit of both. There are elements in me that are very dual, like I feel very American and very British. In a rebellious sense, I have been challenging my own thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes more in the last two years. At the same time, I am real because I stay true to who I am and maintain a certain moral compass.
Have you worn anything extravagant in your life, other than at the MET Gala?
That gala is always an opportunity to take risks. For one night, you live in a fairy tale about yourself. It allows me to wear amazing clothes, be it Cartier pieces or amazing works of art on the body that transform me into a kind of creature of fashion.
Do the characters you portray in film or television differ from your real personality?
The characters are based on your own personal experiences and sometimes you have those amazing moments meta in which your art and your life become one. When I read a script and choose the characters to play, it is important to find a way for that character to improve me as a human being and teach me things about myself.
Do you have a life motto?
“Everything happens for a reason.” When I was younger and was told so much “no” when I started in the industry, I had to adjust to the mindset that if not now, I will be at some point. So when things happen, I can step back and look at the big picture to realize that there are more important things at stake.
What will be the title of your biographical film?
I’m going to say “A work in progress” because I think that’s what we all are. But it could also be “This is me now”. I wrote a book a few years ago in which I talked about the things that I have learned so far, but there is going to be a lot more that I am going to learn next week, in a year, two years, ten years. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up from a dream and write down the title of the next book I’m going to write because I don’t want to forget it. I have a notes section that goes back a couple of years with just titles; some don’t make sense, but of others, I think, “Oh, that’s pretty good!”
What audiovisual projects do you have on the horizon?
I am preparing the filming of the second season of Emily in Paris, which makes me very excited. It was my first credit as a producer and I want to continue doing it; I have been able to work on Zoom, something always strange, but I want to continue with it.
2020 was a very difficult year. What impact has it had on your current situation?
I learned a lot about myself and about my capacity for growth as a person. When you find yourself in a situation where you are completely out of control, it really changes your priorities and what you thought was so important. Professionally, it has been interesting because Mank and Emily in Paris they premiered at the same time on Netflix and I had to do press tours from my living room, my kitchen or my room. I’m excited to get back to doing the things that I love and have missed, but I approach them with a new perspective.
Besides cinema, you are now an ambassador for Cartier. What was your reaction when you were asked to be the image of the new collection?
I was delighted. I have loved and appreciated this home for many years. This collection is bold, fierce and very different, but at the same time very Cartier. It brings a new twist to its tradition, but deep down it stays true to what it is. And this is how I see myself, so it was a great honor to be asked to be the face of a collection that is breaking down borders.
What does Cartier mean to you? Do you have any memories related to the firm?
Cartier is like a living language. My mother gave me the Panthre watch when I turned 18, which I always wear, and I vividly remember that she always wore a male model, so it is a precious thread that goes from my childhood until now, and that is woven in new ways. A couple of years ago I went to the Cartier workshop in Paris, where I was able to meet the artisans who transform precious stones into pieces of jewelry. Seeing that handicraft work and learning about its historical background was an incredible experience.
What is your favorite Cartier piece?
Probably the Panthre watch my mother gave me. It becomes part of your skin and molds itself to your wrist to the point that I almost forget it’s there. It is utilitarian but it is still a piece of jewelry.
In general, what do jewelry mean to you?
The jewels are an expression of oneself, something that constantly evolves with the emotions of each one. In addition, it is a precious complement to the personality.
What is your favorite piece from the Clash Unlimited collection and why?
The studded rings that slide between the fingers are fascinating. It is a totally new way of wearing jewelry. Cartier adds a small element of surprise to the collection. There is a real femininity, but with a certain air of hardness that emits an energy that makes me feel a certain way when I wear them.
And what does this collection mean to you?
The duality of being. There is a mix of femininity and masculinity that brings out different sides of your personality and adds an unexpected touch to a look or a feeling.
Does the rebellious femininity expressed in this collection correspond to your vision of femininity?
I recently learned that the panther was revolutionary when it was created because for a woman wearing it in her jewelry represented strength and freedom. Now women are fearlessly free and graceful. There is a degree of daring in this collection that is current but also representative of when the panther was created.
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Interview with Lily Collins: daughter of a rock star, journalist, writer and anorexia survivor, this is the actress of “Emily in Paris”