Would her Instagram really go viral? Can I get more information on the hot French chef? Answers to all that and more

By Sophie Dodd
October 07, 2020 01:40 PM
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CAROLE BETHUEL/NETFLIX © 2020

"Paris is always a good idea," quipped Emily Cooper.

Or perhaps that was Audrey Hepburn, but it’s a shock that the cliché-loving ingénue (played by Lily Collins) at the center of Netflix’s new series Emily in Paris manages not to utter the famous phrase in the premiere episode, which hit the streaming platform on Friday, Oct. 2. 

Emily in Paris follows an eager twenty-something Chicago native and social media guru on her all-expenses-paid journey to Paris (excusez moi?) after her company acquires a smaller French luxury marketing firm. The titular Emily, who speaks no French, arrives on the scene armed with an Eiffel Tower bag charm and corporate commandments about workplace propriety, determined to lend her “American perspective” in a Caps Lock voice. (“Why are you shouting?” her co-worker Luc asks during their first meeting.) 

The series, created by Sex and the City’s Darren Star, has sparked a mostly lighthearted debate online about the clichés it portrays and the made-for-TV nature of Emily’s charmed life, including her outlandishly spacious apartment masquerading as a chambre de bonne (a.k.a. a maid’s room, which is typically around 100 square-feet), which brings to mind Carrie Bradshaw’s sprawling New York City one-bedroom. 

As I managed to squirm my way through the first episode (admittedly, it does get better from there), I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this show a direct attack on me? When I studied abroad in Paris in 2014, I kept a blog called Sophie à Paris, and I made a lot of the same faux pas that Emily does (i.e. grandly informing everyone that I was “très excitée” to be doing just about anything in Paris, which unfortunately translates to “very aroused”). 

In addition to the renewed fear of “Was I that bad?” I also kept coming back to a few other, more pressing questions: Who is this hot French chef and where has he been hiding? How on earth did Emily’s hashtag-laden Instagram achieve any semblance of popularity in this day and age? And how soon can I book a flight to Paris? (Le sigh.)

First Things First: Who’s Who in the Cast?

Lily Collins

As Emily, Collins plays into a number of American-in-Paris stereotypes, seeing the city in only the most romantic light — except for when she’s stepping in "merde." Most recently, the newly engaged Collins — who is also a producer on the series — starred opposite Zac Efron in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.  

Ashley Park

Park — who is best known for playing Gretchen Weiners in the Broadway adaptation of Mean Girls — stars as Mindy, a Chinese heiress to her dad’s Zipper King fortune who has self-exiled to Paris to work as a nanny after embarrassing herself on the Chinese version of American Idol. A bright spot in the show from the very beginning, she quickly takes Emily under her wing, playing the role of brash best friend. 

Lucas Bravo 

Bravo to the casting director that brought this handsome French chef onto our screens during these dark days. Gabriel, played by Lucas Bravo, is Emily’s unbearably hot neighbor who offers her his shower when hers goes on the fritz, and becomes both a confidant and crush. Acting in France since 2013, this is the first role that’s brought Bravo to the attention of an international (and extremely excité) audience. 

Camille Razat

Razat’s turn as the startlingly beautiful and kind Camille, a Parisienne who remains somehow oblivious to her boyfriend Gabriel’s palpable sexual tension with her new BFF Emily, marks her breakout role for American audiences. Previously, she made a cameo in 2018’s The 15:17 to Paris and starred in French mini-series Disparue.

Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu

The Call My Agent! star makes a splash as Sylvie, Emily’s haughty and expertly dressed boss who is determined to refute every suggestion her new American colleague makes. Acting since the early 1980s, Leroy-Beaulieu has 69 acting credits to her name, according to IMDB, and has starred in a number of French films and TV series over the years, most recently in the show Mirage

William Abadie 

Abadie plays Antoine Lambert, “the nose” of a luxury fragrance empire represented by Emily’s firm Savoir. Previously, Abadie has appeared in a slew of American TV series, from Gossip Girl to Homeland (not to mention a cameo as a Prada salesperson on SATC!).  

Bruno Gouery 

As Luc, Emily’s oddball coworker, Gouery offers some of the funniest and sharpest lines in the series, from calling her out about not speaking French to teaching her a thing or two about, er, the Eiffel Tower. Gouery has appeared on the big and small screens in France over the years, perhaps most notably with recurring roles in recent series like Super Jimmy and President Alphonse.

Samuel Arnold

Another of Emily’s coworkers, Arnold’s character Julien sparkles with sass and a playful affection for La Plouc (their initial “term of endearment” for Emily, which translates as “the hick.”) According to IMDB, he’s been acting since 2016, and most recently appeared on an episode of French TV series Plantane.

OK, But I Need More Info on Lucas Bravo

You mean the internet’s new boyfriend? Monsieur Bravo is single, according to Popsugar Australia, and if I were to take a stab at what his dating profile would look like, it would go a little something like this: 

Lucas Bravo/Instagram

A photo of him with costar Ashley Park, who became his close "amie" while filming the show and later hosted him on his trip to New York last winter. 

At least one shot of him at Burning Man, or any of the other festivals he’s made appearances at over the years — Coachella, AfrikaBurn — you name it, he’s been. 

A portrait of him with long, luscious locks, because we love a man with versatility.

A clip of him modeling: Maybe this one as a sexy chauffeur in a Chanel campaign?

And when it comes to filling out prompts, I can imagine that quoting his recent interview with The Cut would capture his playful side: “I’m glad that now I can wear it on my sleeves and tell the world that I’m a fan of Sex and the City. When I was younger and I was binge-watching it, all my guy friends were like, ‘Why are you watching this? You shouldn’t be watching.’ And I would tell them, ‘You know, there’s so much information. You should educate yourself.’ I even took the Sex and the City tour when I went to New York.” The pièce de résistance? “I think I’m more of an Aidan than a Samantha or a Miranda. I’m a woodworker,” he told the outlet. *Swoons* 

Where Can I Get Emily’s Retro Phone Case? 

Emily In Paris/Instagram; Amazon

Rest assured that, you, too, can fool people into thinking you’re a professional photographer while sneakily snapping iPhone photos of other peoples’ food. As a rising influencer, Emily’s phone is never far, and her Tumblr-approved case makes its way into most scenes. 

While the case itself belonged to none other than the show’s famed costume designer Patricia Field, there are plenty of comparable versions floating around online. Below, a sample of similar styles that are available on Amazon: 

How on Earth Did Her Instagram Go Viral?

OK, I get it, she’s a social media wunderkind who goes viral, apparently by being retweeted (note: not regrammed) by none other than the President of France’s wife, Brigitte Macron. A likely story! But as someone who also posted incredibly basic photos of croissants and the Eiffel Tower while living in Paris, I can vouch that going from roughly 50 to 25,000 followers in a matter of weeks is hardly feasible.

Also, a small study on her engagement: When Gabriel sees the photo of Emily and Camille in bed together, it has only 108 likes at the time he sees it. In fact, the most likes she appears to receive is around 750, on the photos (videos? Instagram Live?) of her and Mindy drunkenly playing tourists. Overall, her “influencer” status feels very questionable — plus, her cheesy hashtags (#CheeseburgerinParadise and #Smokinbods come to mind) feel extremely 2014. #SorryNotSorry.

Will There Be a Second Season? 

Mon Dieu, I hope so! For all the problematic clichés that the series showcases, I still absolutely must know what happens, especially between Gabriel, Emily and Camille. Will their love triangle turn into a ménage à trois? I can’t stand the suspense! 

While the series has yet to be officially renewed by Netflix, creator Darren Star has expressed interest and ideas about the next season — as has Lily Collins.

"In season 2, she's going to be more of a part of the fabric of the world she's living in. She'll be more of a resident of the city," Star told OprahMag.com. "She'll have her feet on the ground a little more. She's making a life there."

Meanwhile, Collins told Vanity Fair, "I would love nothing more than to be able to go back to Paris and do [a new season].” (I mean… same.)