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Actress Lily Collins is having a moment. Her 2020 breakout series Emily In Paris firmly established the actress as an international star. The show became a major pop culture phenomenon, and Collins garnered much of the attention. In the past, her famous father tended to be the main talking point around her. Now that she’s found success on her own, though, she doesn’t appear interested in distancing herself from her family. Recently, Lily Collins dished on why she didn’t want to change her famous last name. Keep reading to learn more.

Collins is a second generation actress and celebrity

Lily Collins last name
Lily Collins | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Collins was born in 1989 to her parents, Phil Collins and Jill Tavelman. Her father was the drummer for Genesis, and a solo pop artist best known for the iconic 1981 single “In the Air Tonight.” It’s one of those inescapable songs that has lingered in culture in cycles, most recently because of a viral YouTube reaction video.

Tavelman was never quite what could be described as “iconic.” But her stint as an actress is a more direct through line to her daughter’s chosen profession. While she was not in the public eye much outside of her relationship with her pop star ex-husband, she was prominent in the acting community as the president of the prestigious Beverly Hills Women’s Club.

Lily Collins recently explained why she decided to keep her famous last name

Lily Collins slowly broke into acting as a child. She showed an early knack for the craft, but that wasn’t enough. For years, according to an interview with Glamour U.K., she was under pressure from casting directors to stand out.

“I was told by quite a few people, ‘Well, what makes you special? There’s so many different siblings and family members and people out there,” the Emily in Paris star said.

Eventually, as she stuck to the serious grind of acting, she earned her place. But Lily Collins didn’t do that by burying her family name, as some actors opted to do in order to be taken seriously. Instead, she decided to be open about her family connection — unabashedly so.

“I’m so incredibly proud of what my surname represents, for what my dad’s done,” Collins said. “And I’m an incredibly proud daughter.”

Collins’ breakout role in ‘Emily in Paris’ established her as a big name on her own


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After years of being a working child actress in film and television, Collins found her biggest break yet in 2009. As Sandra Bullock’s daughter in The Blind Side, she had a meaty role in a major drama. That proved she was the kind of actor worth building projects around, leading to a wave of work in films like Mirror Mirror, Rules Don’t Apply and Love, Rosie.

In 2017 she took a breather to put together a book of personal essays. Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me was a striking confessional in which Collins was open about her eating disorder and her difficult childhood relationship with her dad. The difficult, heavy subject matter might explain why she chose to take the lead role in Emily in Paris.

The character is incredibly cheery, sometimes to the point that viewers call it out as a bit too much. It’s an aspect of her that Collins herself calls out regularly in interviews. It’s also exactly what attracted her to the role and why she admires the character, according to Today.

After calling Emily a character with “annoying” qualities, Collins elaborated, “To have someone be optimistic, bright, and bubbly — it’s sad to think that people would look and go, ‘That’s a lot.’ They’re such beautiful qualities.”

Having worked through whatever drove her to write Unfiltered, Collins is clearly ready to embrace the lighter side of life.