Photo : Lily is wearing a knit sequins dress with a long scarf by Chanel.

Also a model who spends her free time writing, English actress Lily Collins will head to Cannes this year for her film Okja, directed by Bong Joon-Ho and presented in the festival’s official selection. In the film, she plays a young activist who squares off against Tilda Swinton to stand up and fight for animal rights…

Tell us about yourself, where you come from…

I was born in England and moved to Los Angeles when I was 5.  I very much consider both places as my home, but feel more European at heart.

This year you will star in the highly anticipated Okja – directed by Bong Joon-Ho and opposite Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano – selected for the Cannes Film Festival… Is it the first time you will be going to Cannes? What does that represent for you?

It’s a huge moment for me I’ll never forget and an incredible honor to be included in a film like this with such a stunning cast and crew. I’m excited for people to see the film and for the conversations that it may spark.

Lily is wearing a Chanel embroidery large sleeves top and white pointy lace-up shoes, Second hand sweatpants © Doug Inglish

There has been a lot of criticism lately about the fact that a Netflix production was selected for Cannes… What do you think about it?

I’m just so thrilled to be going to Cannes. It’s an incredible movie and an honor to be included.

Okja tells the story of a girl who tries everything to prevent a powerful multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – an animal. Tell us more about the role you interpret…

I play a character named Red who is part of the Animal Liberation Front. She and 4 other members try to stop the company from taking Okja and to stop what the company is doing to its pigs.    

How was the filming? How did Bong Joon-Ho direct you and what were the challenges of this production?

Filming in South Korea was one of the most fascinating memorable experiences I’ve had. It was so foreign to me, having never traveled there. But the more time I spent immersed in our film’s world and exploring the city, the greater I began to understand it. Director Bong was such a great spirit to have on set every day. His knowledge of the characters and the story was so incredibly helpful because he knew exactly where each of us was emotionally in every moment. He was so collaborative with us when we added ideas of our own. There was a lot of CGI which was an interesting challenge but one we all quickly got used to, as well as large shots including hundreds of extras and stunt work. It was an incredibly fast-paced film and we had to make sure to keep up, which we did. I felt like I was living another life over there and it definitely came across in the film. How lucky that I am able to immerse myself so deeply in another culture for my job.

Lily is wearing a Chanel embroidery dress © Doug Inglish

This film is more relevant than ever when you think about the way companies and industries have a negative impact on our planet. I feel like it could be considered as another wake-up call…

This film is definitely politically and environmentally provocative. But that can very often be necessary in order for positive change to happen. It was a very special experience to play an animal liberation fighter and be part of such an important movement and message in the film.

Fashion is also a sensitive topic. What’s your opinion?

Fashion has always been such a beautiful way for me to express myself. From a young age, I used it to tell stories and play. It’s a completely subjective art form and judgment really has no place in it. Fashion can be the ultimate experiment through which you discover yourself.

Lily is wearing a Chanel V neck dress with a second hand blue t-shirt © Doug Inglish

You were Barrie’s brand ambassador and have been photographed by Karl Lagerfeld… How was it to work with him?

Karl is an absolute genius. A true artist. He is a pleasure to collaborate with and so fascinating to watch. Sometimes he comes up with ideas in the moment out of some random inspiration and then he goes for it. His images always capture me in a new way and it’s an honor to be selected by him to represent anything he is part of and passionate about.

In the opposite images we can see you wearing Chanel. What do you think about the brand and the image of femininity it reflects?  

I have admired Chanel as a brand since I was a little girl. Karl has made the brand his own, while always maintaining Coco’s classic timeless essence but also continuing to make it fresh and young… My grandmother was a ballerina and used to always wear Chanel ballet flats, purses, and jewelry, so there is a strong family connection for me… Sophisticated chic and yet so fresh and ever-changing.

Lily is wearing a Chanel knit sequins dress with a long scarf © Doug Inglish

If you could give our readers some advice and inspiration…

Never take being told no as “no, this isn’t for you.” Take it as “No, not right now.” Sometimes things just happen slower than we want them to, but it doesn’t mean they won’t end up working out… Everything happens for a reason.


Interview by Anna Ceravolo.


Jan 02, 2018
MORE: , , , | No Responses

Leave a comment

Scroll to Top