‘Emily in Paris’: What Lily Collins Loves Most About Her Character

The Netflix series Emily in Paris follows the driven marketing executive and accidental social media influencer Emily Cooper (Lily Collins). Collins was excited to play a millennial who uproots her life to take on her dream role in France. But there’s something Collins loved even more about playing Emily Cooper. 


Some people found ‘Emily in Paris’ to be tone deaf

Emily in Paris comes from Darren Star, the creator of Sex and the City and Beverly Hills 90210. While the Netflix series has all of the glamour fans might expect from Star, for many, Emily in Paris lacks culture and diversity. 

From Emily’s inability to speak French to her sub-par understanding of the culture, many viewers took issue with Collin’s character. But for her, playing Emily meant something different entirely.

Working with Darren Star was a dream for Lily Collins 

“For me, [Emily in Paris was about] the magic that Darren’s shows bring to [the] screen,” Collins explained during a Paleyfest NY 2020 panel. As a fan of Star’s previous work, Collins was delighted by the prospect of working with him. 

In portraying Emily Cooper, Collins was able to fulfill her wishes as an actor. “I grew up watching [the shows] Darren [has] created,” she added. n her opinion, Emily in Paris was unlike anything else Star had done.

Collins was delighted to work with Star. But there was something else about Emily’s character arc that excited Collins even more. 

Lily Collins likes that Emily Cooper isn’t a cliché role 

For Collins, playing Emily Cooper is about more than getting to wear high fashion or pretending to live a glamorous Parisian lifestyle. 

Collins was excited about becoming a “character who doesn’t have this cliché transformation when she goes to Paris.” Instead of changing to fit into an environment, whether it be her new workplace or Parisian culture in general, Emily does the opposite — she remains Emily Cooper.

Lily Collins and Lucas Bravo in 'Emily In Paris' | Stephanie Branchu / Netflix
Lily Collins and Lucas Bravo in ‘Emily In Paris’ | Stephanie Branchu / Netflix

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“It’s not like you have this transformation scene where she goes from being Emily to being this new Parisian version in order to be embraced,” Collins explained, continuing: 

She stays who she is, and goes through these new experiences, and grows as a young woman. And she’s in on the joke a lot of the time.

[Emily is] enthusiastic and passionate, and work driven. And [she] just loves life and sees the positive side of people. That’s something that I feel like we all need more of in our lives. Embracing the idea that you don’t have to change to be embraced. You can be yourself and allow others to influence you.

And you can learn from others, and teach people things yourself. But you don’t need to change who you are in order to be accepted.

Lily Collins hopes fans embrace themselves the way Emily Cooper would 

If viewers take anything away from Emily in Paris, Collins hope is that people will understand they don’t have to change to be welcomed into a community. While many people are hung up on the tropes Star presents within Emily in Paris, Collins’s purpose is to spread the idea that being embraced for authenticity doesn’t require change.