Collins, 31, plays social media maven Emily Cooper in the Darren Star series, which debuted on the streaming giant earlier this month. Since it premiered, the show has kept viewers buzzing with questions about Emily’s background and how she was able to secure an impressive gig — and such incredible clothes — with a major international company. Now, Collins is spilling some behind-the-scenes secrets about her character, who she thinks is a “smart cookie” with a “make-it-work attitude.”
“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,” the To the Bone actress told British Vogue in a recent interview. “I want to say she’s like, 22-ish. She’s had enough experience at her company in Chicago to have earned the respect of her boss. … She’s gone to school for this, and she’s completed internships.”
While Emily’s professional qualifications were never a question, Collins admitted that French culture wasn’t her character’s forte, since she had only experienced the European lifestyle “through movies and TV.”
“She’s not the person who traveled during college. She was really, really focused on her jobs in the Midwest, and I don’t think she’s been abroad,” she added. “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.”
Shortly after Collins’ big reveal, fans of the Netflix series couldn’t help but voice their confusion. “Excuse me but Emily is supposed to be 22?! And get that job transfer to Paris fresh out of college? Alrighty then,” one teased via Twitter.
Another viewer pointed out a detail that pokes holes in Collins’ theory. “Emily has a MASTER’S DEGREE she is not 22!!!! Lily Collins plz,” they tweeted, as a separate social media user joked about the show’s “chaotic” energy.
Many fans have also drawn comparisons to another series created by Star, Sex and the City. The show, which also stemmed two films, constantly had fans questioning how Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) could afford her Manhattan apartment as a writer.
Emily in Paris might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Collins is proud to have had the opportunity to play a young woman who is “unapologetically herself.” The Blind Side actress, who confirmed her engagement to Charlie McDowell in September, thinks the series can teach an empowering lesson.
“She is a woman who is both romantic and work-driven – you don’t have to be one or the other,” Collins said of her character. “It’s refreshing to hear a woman say, ‘I love my job, it makes me happy.’ … She’s in a city that’s extremely foreign to her, and it’s tough – and, yeah, she could probably get on a plane and go home, but that’s just not who she is.”
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