Lily Collins | Biography, Films, & Facts (2024)

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In full:
Lily Jane Collins
March 18, 1989, Guildford, England (age 35)
Notable Family Members:
father Phil Collins

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Lily Collins (born March 18, 1989, Guildford, England) is a British-American actress and model known for her performance as the lead in Netflix’s popular romantic-comedy series Emily in Paris (2020– ). She also starred in movies such as The Blind Side (2009) and Love, Rosie (2014).

Collins was born to American Jill Tavelman and English singer-songwriter Phil Collins, who was the lead singer of the rock band Genesis. Collins’s first acting role came when she was just two years old, on the short-lived BBC sitcom Growing Pains (1992–93). She moved to Los Angeles at the age of five following her parents’ divorce. When Collins was a teenager, she had an interest in journalism and wrote for popular magazines such as Teen Vogue, Seventeen, and Elle Girl. She covered the U.S. presidential campaign for Nickelodeon in 2008.

Collins’ film acting debut came when she appeared in the sports drama The Blind Side (2009), which had Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw in leading roles. In the movie, Collins played an aspiring football star’s adoptive sister. The Blind Side was commercially successful, grossing more than $250 million at the box office. Her next film, Priest (2011), was a critical and commercial failure, but Collins’ performance was praised. She next starred in Abduction (2011) opposite Taylor Lautner, whose character seeks to uncover his origins after finding a photo of him as a baby on a website for missing persons.

Collins earned mainstream attention from the film Mirror, Mirror (2012), a loose adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, in which she starred as Snow White with Julia Roberts as her evil stepmother. This was the first film in which Collins displayed her vocal talents, singing the song “I Believe in Love.”

Collins’ next film, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), was based on Cassandra Clare’s hit young adult series. She starred as the lead, Clary Fray, who discovers that she is a descendant of a long line of warriors who protect the world from demons. The film was poorly received, and a sequel that was slated for release in 2014 was canceled. Collins’ performance, however, earned her a Teen Choice Award nomination. In 2014 Collins starred in Love, Rosie, a romantic comedy featuring a friends-to-lovers plotline. She then starred in Rules Don’t Apply (2016), playing the role of an aspiring actress. The film was unsuccessful, but Collins earned her first Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a comedy or musical.

In 2016 Collins played a woman with anorexia nervosa in the Netflix drama To the Bone. Her character is accepted into a group home, where she learns to manage her condition. The movie received both acclaim and criticism. Many felt that it glamorized eating disorders and should have come with trigger warnings for impressionable viewers. In response, Collins opened up about her own battles with anorexia, discussing the struggles she had been through in her teens and early twenties. The following year, she released a collection of essays, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, detailing her struggles with eating disorders and growing up in the spotlight.

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Collins’ next film project was Okja (2017), another Netflix drama, in which she starred with Jake Gyllenhaal. The drama was directed by acclaimed director Bong Joon-Ho, and she played a member of an activist group that seeks to expose a money-hungry corporation. Following this, she starred in the BBC miniseries adaptation of Les Misérables (2018–19) as Fantine, a young woman whose lover abandons her. Collins then starred in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019), opposite Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy, as Bundy’s long-term girlfriend who cannot accept his true nature.

In 2020 Collins played the lead in Emily in Paris, a Netflix series featuring an American woman who goes to work abroad in Paris. For her performance, Collins was nominated in 2021 for a Golden Globe for best performance by an actress in a television musical or comedy series. The show received criticism, however, for what some thought was Emily’s lack of character development. Additionally, there was controversy over the show’s nomination for the Golden Globe for best television musical or comedy series after a Los Angeles Times report alleged that a sizable part of the voting body had been flown to Paris by the show’s original developer, Paramount Network, prior to the ceremony. Nevertheless, in 2022 the show was renewed for a fourth season.

Collins has stated that she prefers to keep her personal life private, especially as a result of the media coverage of her parents’ divorce when she was young. She married the American writer and director Charlie McDowell in 2021.

Tara Ramanathan

Lily Collins | Biography, Films, & Facts (2024)
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