Lily Collins, 31, Says Her Emily In Paris Character Is Nearly 10 Years Younger: 'Fresh Out of College'
The 31-year-old actress opened up about her character in a recent interview with British Vogue, revealing that Emily is actually much younger than herself.
"I don’t believe we’ve ever given her a specific 'number' for her age, but I believe that she’s pretty fresh out of college. Maybe this is her first year after graduation. I want to say she’s like, 22-ish," Collins explained.
"She’s had enough experience at her company in Chicago to have earned the respect of her boss," the actress said of Emily, who moves last-minute to Paris for work in the pilot episode. "She’s a smart cookie and really innovative – and this is not her first rodeo doing what she does. She’s gone to school for this, and she’s completed internships."
But while Emily has plenty of work experience, she has some catching up to do when it comes to French culture.
"However, she’s not the person who traveled during college," the To the Bone star said. "She was really, really focused on her jobs in the Midwest, and I don’t think she’s been abroad."
"Basically, she’s always kind of been a big fish in a small pond – and then suddenly in Paris she’s a fish out of water. If she had gone to a different company in Chicago, she would have been taken seriously – but in Paris, she’s not prepared for the cultural shift that she experiences at Savoir. Her only real experience of Europe is through movies and TV."
Collins also shared with British Vogue that she can relate to many of Emily's humorous — and cringey —missteps.
"It’s funny, because a lot of the experiences are based off of things that have happened to friends of [creator] Darren [Star] – that classically American thing of going to another country and being really… alienated yet trying to embrace it," Collins said.
"When I got to Paris for filming, I actually had so many experiences like Emily – to the point that I asked the team, 'Are you planning this to try and give me more empathy for her? I already have empathy for her!' " Collins said. "I mean, the heating in my apartment broke for two weeks; I got the floor wrong in my building; my elevator stopped working … I even nearly stepped in dog poop. It’s a cliché, but it’s also a fundamentally human scenario."
"In the end, it’s all about Emily’s attitude; she just gets through it, and she does it with a little bit of humor."