Actress, author and philanthropist Lily Collins is camera shy—at least, in this instance for our Zoom interview. In the midst of packing and moving out of her Beverly Hills mansion, she hasn’t had a moment to spruce up. So, sadly, I won’t be able to see her on fleek brow game first-hand. But the Emily in Paris star has such a genuinely amiable nature, she feels like a girlfriend you catch up with ever so often over a glass of wine—all this within minutes of meeting her for the first time. IRL, Collins is quite unlike her Golden Globe-nominated character and her many cringey blunders in the abovementioned show—it’s unlikely you’ll ever find Collins committing French faux pas. The daughter of English music legend Phil Collins and American actress Jill Tavelman is thoroughly world-savvy. She grew up in the English countryside before moving to California with her mum after her parents’ divorce, spending summer days at Lake Geneva skiing with her dad.
Related article: Surprise! Lily Collins And Charlie McDowell Are Married
“Travelling is a huge part of who I am. Obviously, during this time, we haven’t been able to travel. But travelling and experiencing different cultures and getting outside my comfort zone [are things] that I welcome and really, really miss,” she says. A quick look at her resume is enough to convince that she means what she says and is not averse to pushing personal boundaries.
Since her breakthrough role alongside Sandra Bullock in the 2009 film The Blind Side, she has taken on a diverse list of projects that have seen her flexing her acting muscles in an array of character types, from a fairy-tale princess (Snow White in 2012’s Mirror Mirror) to the girlfriend of a serial killer (Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy in 2019’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) and the wife of English literature’s most beloved author (Tolkien, as played by Nicholas Hoult in the 2019 eponymous film).
“I have to read the script and feel like I’m going to learn something about myself through the character that I’m playing, even if we don’t have a lot in common,” she explains. “As long as you know that the journey of making it is going to be something that’s memorable and special in a [personal] growth type of way, then I think that’s a reason to do it.”
Related article: Lily Collins On The Viral Eruption Of Emily In Paris
A similar philosophy applies when she’s considering lending her name and star influence to non-acting projects—like being the face of Cartier’s new Clash [Un]limited campaign.
“With films, if a director has a clear vision of what he wants to accomplish, and you believe that he has the people around him to help accomplish that, you have the trust and faith to let go and feel nurtured and safe. And I feel like there’s a similarity there with Cartier,” she says of the partnership. “You know what you’re going to get because of the tradition of the brand. And [Cartier has] proven time and again just how special a brand [it is]; just how culturally iconic it is. [It’s like a] director of a film who’s going to guide you and ultimately create a project that you’re going to be proud to be a part of.”
Related article: Cartier’s Iconic Love Bracelet Now Comes In Necklace Form
Of course, it also helps if you’re a fan of the designs you’re fronting and Collins is a fan. As she says of the new range: “It’s bold, it’s fresh, it’s modern. It feels very vocal in that it speaks volumes without words. Because you look at a piece and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a piece of art that makes me feel fierce and strong and empowered by wearing it.’”
A capsule collection of limited-edition designs that push the rebel-chic vibes of the brand’s Clash de Cartier to the edge, Clash [Un]limited bears confident, oversize proportions that are highlighted through the stark contrast of onyx and diamonds, with a hint of amethyst thrown in for good measure. But it’s not just in the looks department that these pieces stand out. The pieces are paved with stones using the complex, prongless shagreen setting, while bracelets, bib necklaces and wristwatches offer reversibility with diamond studs on one side and onyx square nails on the other. Then there are the rings, which clasp your finger securely with their contours without a single ring band in sight.
“For me, the rings were so different because I’ve never seen rings that just fit in between and not [around] your fingers. To me, that was quite revolutionary and kind of redefining the norm— which is what you look for in pieces that you wear, whether it’s clothing or jewellery,” she adds. “They’re something that men and women can wear. It’s so nice to kind of have [them] be genderless in a sense. I think that that’s really special.”
Related article: How To Cop Your Favourite Looks From ‘Emily In Paris’
It seems Collins has been a true Cartier fan since her mum gifted her a Cartier watch for her 18th birthday. “I have so many memories associated with Cartier and pieces of Cartier from when I was younger—there’s so much symbolic value to its designs. Cartier is a brand that’s constantly evolving and it’s an institution that we look to, to set standards and to also push boundaries,” she says. “As someone who is constantly evolving and changing with every character that I play and [yet] still wants to stay true to who I am, that’s what Cartier represents to me.”
Seems that sparkle and shimmer tread closely in Collins’s life. “I know it’s random, but I love healing crystals; I’m very much about mindful meditation and exploring all types of healing processes—with reiki, crystals or anything like that.” From the glitter of diamonds to the shining power of crystals for the soul, Collins is all-round pretty dazzling, n’est-ce pas?
All jewellery worn throughout the shoot is from Cartier’s Clash [Un]limited collection.