Things You Didn't Know About Lily Collins

Lily Collins has been making waves across the globe with her new Netflix series Emily In Paris, in which she plays an arguably oblivious midwestern millennial sent to work in the City of Love. French critics already hate it. It seriously annoyed the Chicago pizza lobby (okay, really just one pizzeria, but still), and one U.K. critic even went as far as calling it a "car crash of a show." Honestly, it's kind of hard for any of us to root for the type of American who runs around Paris wearing berets and an Eiffel Tower keychain — especially in today's cultural climate — but that's part of what makes the series so addicting. In a hellish news cycle where California is burning with a record ferocity, Emily in Paris is the ultra-bingeable content we need to help us drift off to sleep.

Though you wouldn't know it from her titular character, Collins is anything but ringarde. The star has leagues more going for her than undeniably envious eyebrows and a famous father (yes, her dad is Phil Collins from Genesis). In fact, she's taken no shortcuts in her career as an actress-slash-model-slash-writer — from her big screen debut in 2009's The Blind Side to receiving a Golden Globe nomination for 2016's Rules Don't Apply. Here are some things you didn't know about the British-born star.

Phil Collins used to fax Lily Collins instead of calling her

Lily Collins' last name comes with a legacy — one that's so ingrained in pop-culture it's warranted viral videos, Family Guy spoofs, and No. 1 hits but she hasn't always gotten along with her famous father, Phil Collins. According to People, the pair had a strained relationship, stemming back to her parents' divorce and the Genesis drummer's alleged affair. At the time, Lily's mother, Jill Tavelman, told People that her daughter hadn't "seen her father for two months. She keeps weeping, 'I want my daddy.' Phil sends her faxes, but I know she'd rather hear his voice." Lily was just five years old.

Though the actress largely keeps her personal life private, she did open up about their relationship in her memoir Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, where she revealed that she once feared she was driving her father away.

"I became extra careful about what I said and how I said it, afraid he'd think I was angry or didn't love him. And the truth is, I was angry. I missed him and wanted him there," she wrote (via People), later addressing the musician directly, "I forgive you for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected. I forgive the mistakes you made." Today, the pair seems to have made peace. In the very least, she sends him viral videos, millennials' preferred form of affection.

Lily Collins is used to jumping continents

In Emily in Paris, Lily Collins played the outsider. Emily wasn't wealthy, but she was peddling luxury goods. She was living in Paris, but she couldn't speak French. Nearly every fiber of the character's being clashed with her Parisian boss, who'd skip meals in favor of cigarettes and would never be caught inhaling a croissant, much less a deep dish pizza.

Instead of changing herself to fit in, Emily managed to wedge who she already was into a workplace reluctant to accept a loud — and sometimes brash — American, and she succeeded. So did Collins, who drew from her past to nail her portrayal. In an episode of The Big Ticket podcast, the actress revealed that moving from the U.K. to the U.S. following her parents' divorce prepared her for the role.

"And although a child experience is very different than an adult, I did feel very much like a fish out of water when I walked into school that first day, having a uniform, not speaking the same, speaking English but sounding British," she said (via Variety). "And at that age, young kids are very blunt — 'You don't sound like me; you don't look like me!' You're just like, 'I just want to fit in and I just want to be embraced, and what do I do?'"

The Lily Collins Show could still happen

Though Lily Collins was auditioning for TV and film roles while she was still in school, the actress originally wanted to be a journalist. According to The Guardian, the star had big goals, hoping to become the "youngest-ever talk show host" — and she found success before most people even graduate high school. She sent out pitches and landed bylines in Teen Vogue and Elle Girl, where she became a correspondent before her 16th birthday. At age 18, she scored a gig with Nickelodeon as an on-air reporter covering the 2008 presidential election.

Collins ended up attending the University of Southern California, where she pursued a degree in broadcast journalism, but she dropped out as a sophomore because she landed a role in The Blind Side (you can't really reject an offer to appear alongside Sandra Bullock). This was her breakthrough, but she did jump back into writing to pen her memoir when she faced a lull in her acting career. "I hadn't booked anything film-wise for a while, and I was itching to do something," she told The Guardian. "The idea for the book had been at the back of my mind for a while, and I thought, well, maybe now's the time."

After that, Collins landed the lead in Netflix's To The Bone, and she's barely had a break since. As of this writing, her memoir Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me has a nearly four-star rating on GoodReads.

Normie friends keep Lily Collins in check

As someone who grew up in a famous family, Lily Collins understands the importance of keeping her inner circle close. Aside from her friendship with Emily In Paris co-star Ashley Park, the actress' tightest bonds stem all the way back to before she found Hollywood success. It's a rare sight in a town that's fame-focused, but a breath of fresh air when she needs an arm to lean on that isn't adorned in a rented, multi-million euro watch.

In an interview with Byrdie, Collins revealed that her inner circle of largely non-famous friends helps keep her grounded, whether she's feeling insecure or needs a major reality check. "I'm super, super close with my mom," she said. "She's first and foremost the closest person to me that inspires me. And my girlfriends who I've known since high school and college, who've known me since the beginning— they're really inspiring, powerful women that I'm friends with for a reason. They uplift me, they make me feel great, they call me out on my sh*t when I need to be called out on it—in the most loving way possible—and they hold me accountable, which, to me, is what you need from a friend."

When you're the kind of person who regularly makes an appearance at the Met Gala and counts Chris Evans as an ex, it's probably hard to keep things in perspective, otherwise.

Lily Collins battled an eating disorder

Lily Collins' role in Netflix's To The Bone, where she delivered a gutting portrayal of an eating disorder patient in recovery, wasn't just powerful. It hit wildly close to home. In her memoir, the star revealed that she developed anorexia when she was just 16 years old — and it's something she struggled with throughout her early 20s.

At 16, Collins felt lost amid family drama, as well as her struggle to juggle school, a modeling career, a social life, and auditions. Eventually, the pressure took its toll, and she started "starving herself, exercising obsessively, and became addicted to diet pills and laxatives," per The Guardian, which excerpted Collins' memoir. "I couldn't handle the pain and confusion surrounding my dad's divorce, and I was having a hard time balancing being a teenager with pursuing two different grown-up careers — both of which I'd chosen myself, but which also focused heavily on how I looked," she wrote.

Today, Collins is healthier and happier — but first, she had to change her entire perspective. "I used to see healthy as this image of what I thought perfect looked like-the perfect muscle definition, etc. But healthy now is how strong I feel," she told Shape in 2017. "Today I love my shape. My body is the shape it is because it holds my heart."

Lily Collins is a survivor of emotional abuse

Lily Collins' dating history is like a who's who of Hollywood's most eligible bachelors. This allegedly includes Nick Jonas, Chris Evans, and her Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile co-star Zac Efron, who was her rumored boyfriend back in 2013 after the pair was spotted holding hands at Disneyland. They clearly remained friendly judging by the PDA in their semi-recent press appearances.

Before Collins settled down with fiancé Charlie McDowell, she didn't only kiss princes. The star collected some frogs along the way, though she's never named names. In an interview with Glamour, Collins revealed that she was previously in an emotionally abusive relationship — which she also touched upon in her memoir — and it taught her "the value of really staying strong." 

"It was very much the whole time like, 'shh, shh,' if I had an opinion, it was, 'shh.' Or if I spoke up a little bit, because I was passionate about something, it was, 'shh,'" she told the mag, adding, "It was just very confusing to me because I felt very little and very small. I wasn't even listened to; it was just an automatic shh. That stuck with me."

What role turned Lily Collins' life into a ghost story?

Lily Collins' 2019 Ted Bundy biopic, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, is truly what it claims to be. Despite its inexplicably poor Rotten Tomatoes rating, the Netflix film is so wildly disturbing that it's enough to make anyone shiver — including the ghosts of the more than 30 girls and women who were murdered by the famed serial killer. Unless, of course, you don't believe in that sort of thing — but Collins definitely does.

In an interview with The Guardian, the actress nonchalantly revealed that her life became a live action ghost story as she geared up for the role of Liz Kendall, the serial killer's longtime girlfriend, during the Christmas holiday season. Around that time, she'd wake up every single night at 3:05 am. "I started being woken up by flashes of images, like the aftermath of a struggle," she revealed. After a quick Google, Collins learned that "3am is the time when the veil between the realms is the thinnest and one can be visited." That's when she started believing she was being visited by the women Bundy murdered.

"I didn't feel scared — I felt supported. I felt like people were saying: 'We're here listening. We're here to support. Thank you for telling the story,'" she said. Next up: Collins makes an appearance on Celebrity Ghost Stories.

Emily Cooper has Lily Collins to thank for her look

Let's be honest: Lily Collins was delectably bold in Emily In Paris, but the real star was her wardrobe. Where does a girl living in a tiny apartment hide so many jackets? How much did they cost to ship from Chicago to France? Wool is weighty.

We may have many unanswered questions about the actress' show-stopping on-screen looks, but we'd expect nothing less from costume designer Patricia Field, who's best known for literally changing the entire face of fashion in the late '90s and early '00s with Sex and the City. This time around, she got some help from Collins, who had absolutely no idea she was actually picking out her own costumes like a haphazard Amazon wish list.

In an interview with Glamour, Collins revealed that Field first sent her PDF files of clothes, asking her to circle the things she liked best. When she arrived in Paris, she was shocked to find everything she had picked out. "I said, 'Why is all this here?' And she's said, 'Well, you said you liked it and I trust your judgment!'" she said. "I was like, 'Oh my God!' I was being asked of things like, the costumes, and then it was followed through."

One final question: which one of them is responsible for the bag charm? Ringarde!

Emily In Paris was Lily Collins' first gig as a producer

Lily Collins is a multi-talent. Just about the only thing she hasn't tried is jumping into the family business and recording an album, but we're almost positive she'd be successful at that too (see: her Bollywood-inspired moment in Mirror, Mirror). Though she told The Hollywood Reporter that a music career isn't completely out of the cards, she's trying something else first. With Emily In Paris, the star became a first-time producer. Yup, Lily Collins is officially a boss babe.

Speaking with Glamour, the actress revealed that creator Darren Star, who also created Sex and the City, and legendary costume designer Patricia Field helped her find her voice as a producer. "It felt like an opportunity for me to really lean into asking for help, advice and trying to be nurtured on set in a way that I would hopefully have a great experience and want to do it more," she said. "There's something about feeling empowered to have your voice."

Though Collins doesn't have any other production projects slated for the future, as of this writing, with the success of Emily In Paris, you never know what's next.

Lily Collins' fiancé, Charlie McDowell, was love at first sight

In July 2019, Lily Collins and writer-slash-director Charlie McDowell sparked dating rumors when they were spotted in Los Angeles "walking arm in arm," according to Metro UK. A little more than a year later — just a week ahead of Emily In Paris' premiere — McDowell popped the question while the couple was on a road trip in New Mexico. Of course, Collins' answer was a resounding "yes" and she promptly showed off what Page Six described as a "custom, one-of-a-kind rose-cut diamond" on Instagram.

While the engagement took a little more than a year to come to fruition, Collins knew that McDowell was the one from the very first moment their eyes met. During an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, the actress revealed, "I was very surprised as to when and where it would happen. But it was kind of one of those situations where I knew the second that I met him, that I wanted to be his wife one day, and so it was just a matter of when, really."

According to Business Insider, Collins' ring is worth as much as $100,000. The star described it as her "new favorite accessory" — and honestly, it'd be ours, too.

Lily Collins at home = quinoa cookies and Hans Zimmer

As the offspring of one of the music industry's most legendary performers, Lily Collins has a deep love of music — but she doesn't listen to what you'd think. Nor is her downtime a series of lavish parties and awards shows (think: the Golden Globes or Met Gala). Basically, she's having none of that rock star lifestyle, opting instead, for something a little more low key.

In an interview with Byrdie, the actress revealed that she loves to bake — particularly quinoa chocolate chip cookies, a gluten-free recipe she swears is "so good." For her, it's a "therapeutic experience," and rather than pop on some of her dad's old jams, Collins unwinds to movie scores, which help her double down on the calm. 

"I know that sounds weird, but during the holidays, I will literally put on the Love Actually movie score, because some of those Hans Zimmer orchestral pieces are so amazing, and I love that movie so much. With the orchestral stuff, it doesn't have any words, you're just focusing on how the music makes you feel," she said, adding, "You're not being told how to feel, you're just living in the moment. I've found that to be extra therapeutic."

Honestly, we've never even considered that you can listen to movie scores outside of watching the film until this very moment.

Lily Collins' latest project involved some sleepless nights

There's a reason Lily Collins needs to listen to film scores to relax. The girl is in non-stop motion. While working on Emily In Paris, she barely had time to sleep because she basically over-committed. Well, technically it's not an over-commitment if you follow through, but she was tired — really tired.

In an interview with The Big Ticket podcast, Collins revealed that she started rehearsing for the biographical drama Mank before she wrapped Emily In Paris, which posed quite a problem considering one job required her to be in Los Angeles and the other required her to be in France. She flew back to L.A. twice in the midst of filming her Netflix series, but she couldn't even take a day off because she was in every scene.

"I would fly on a Saturday morning, get to LA on Saturday morning, go to rehearsals all of Saturday with [Mank Director] David [Fincher], and Sunday morning get back on a plane, fly through the night, get off the plane, sleep for four hours, and go into work on Emily at 5 am," she said, adding, "I'll go from Emily in Paris to Lily in LA, and I'll get off the plane zonked out of my mind and go into rehearsals with David and jump back on the plane. It was a crazy whirlwind."

Yikes, we need a nap just thinking about it.