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G Goddess or someone who gave birth yesterday, Lily Collins is on pretty good form. “I’ve been waddling around with this massive baby bump, then I gave birth yesterday – and now I have a ten-year-old daughter,” she laughs. “It’s quite a relief when I get to go home at the end of the day and be 24 again.” Even in the actress’s alternate universe, this has been a bizarre couple of weeks. But filming her upcoming romantic comedy, Love, Rosie – based on Cecelia Ahern’s bestselling novel, Where Rainbows End – in Dublin hasn’t all been hard graft. “I went to a pub with the crew to watch the England versus Ireland match the other night and had my first pint of Guinness,” she says brightly. “I took one sip and…” she screws up her perfect, Audrey Hepburn-esque features, “well, let’s just say that it wasn’t for me. Still, at least I can say that I held a Guinness. It was something I had to do.” Pints of Guinness in gritty Irish pubs are probably as far from the Mirror Mirror star’s LA life as you can get. But having been born in Guildford, Surrey, the daughter of pop legend Phil Collins and his second wife, Jill Tavelman, Lily says she feels more at home in Europe than LA, where she’s lived since the age of five, following her parents’ divorce. “People ask if I feel more American or British. The truth is that I love the way of life, the humour and the fashion in Europe. I love the tea and the food. I feel at home when I’m back here: I feel like little Lily again.” ‘Little Lily’ seems an odd way to describe the arrestingly beautiful former model with the flawless skin and long chestnut hair, who first captivated audiences in 2009 film The Blind Side, before going on to star in Abduction two years later and Mirror Mirror, alongside Julia Roberts, in 2012. It will certainly prove inadequate in months to come, when she’s propelled to a whole new level of fame by her incarnation of Clary Fray in The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones – the film version of the first of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling adult fantasy novels – to be released later this month.

“I entered this business knowing

your private life can’t always remain private ”


G Goddess Dress Dolce & Gabbana; shoes; earrings Harry Winston



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s the cult, flame-haired ‘Shadowhunter’ heroine secretly protecting mortals from demons with her supernatural powers, Lily is set to follow in the footsteps of her close friends, Kristen Stewart (in the Twilight Saga) and Jennifer Lawrence (in the Hunger Games trilogy). Having first auditioned two years ago, she’s had plenty of time to grapple with the implications of this life-changing role (“Clary’s so feisty and determined and courageous and fun – such a good character to play.”). And as a fan of The Mortal Instruments from the age of six, she’s defensive about comparisons with other cult fantasy films. “Yes, there’s the common theme of self discovery, and there’s a love triangle, but what makes this film different is the mission Clary embarks on to get her mother back. You never feel that you’re locked into a fantasy world. There are these two men vying for her love, but she never forgets about her one mission.” Directors came and went, scripts were rewritten and release dates postponed, but the two constants in the project from the start were Lily and her co-star, Jamie Campbell Bower. “For a while it was just the two of us,” she explains. “Then came Robert [Sheehan].” Part of the fantasy film format seems to involve being sandwiched in between two unfeasibly goodlooking men, which can’t be unpleasant. “It’s funny,” she smiles, “because they’re so different. Robert is so enthusiastic and so Irish and Jamie is so British, edgy, witty and charming. The three of us were joking all the time.” Off set, Lily and Jamie were also falling in love. In recent months, pictures of the pair have filled gossip magazines. However, at the time of going to press, speculation was rife that they had split – although neither rep was available for comment. This isn’t the first time Lily has experienced intense press attention. “I had the experience with Kristen where there were paparazzi waiting outside a restaurant and we were followed afterwards, and I do think it’s such a crazy job to follow someone in order to get a picture. I get how much pictures are worth, but that is just so bizarre to me. I had something similar when I went to the doctor’s once. At that point I had only done two or three movies, but there were 15 people surrounding

“I never want

to lose my British feistiness”


Lily Collins

Photographs: Rex Features, WireImage, Allstar. Filming: Anthony Shurmer at Spring69

Q&A What’s great about playing Clary? Who’s the biggest on-set prankster? Who are your top literary heroines? Dress Dolce & Gabbana; earrings Harry Winston

What’s been your most glamorous red carpet moment?

G Goddess my car and I was freaking out. I found myself getting so stressed out that I had to force myself to put my seat belt on, because all I wanted to do was get out of there. I don’t know how some people do it where they’re pursued on freeways, but I have to remember to stay calm because that’s when really dangerous situations come up.” When I ask about her relationship with Bower, and the ensuing media furore, she shrugs: “You have to take things as they come. I’d love to play Clary again and again because I love her, and if what happens with Mortal Instruments is anything like what Jennifer and Kristen have gone through, then I think that’s just a by-product of doing something that I love. I entered into this business knowing your private life can’t always remain private.” Like Kristen and Jennifer, however, Lily has always refused to comment on that private life, whether it be a rumoured relationship with Taylor Lautner, whom she met while filming Abduction, or her alleged fling with Zac Efron. “I don’t feel the need to profess anything publicly or confirm something that in a normal situation you wouldn’t have to speak out about. If I’m out and I’m photographed with someone, then that is what it is. We took that chance and… whatever,” she tails off. “It is what it is.” Her discretion has nothing to do with media management and everything to do with her upbringing, she insists. As a child witnessing the very public fallout of her parents’ divorce (the press feasted on every acrimonious detail of their split, from the fax her father supposedly sent her mother, ending their 12-year marriage, to the alleged £17million pay-out), her prudence is understandable. “That’s always been my natural feeling. My family went through a lot of public situations and I saw that side of it from a very young age. My mum raised me to be normal, and I wanted to grow up and find out who I was and who I wanted to spend time with before anyone else did. Kristen and Jennifer have both done an amazing job of not letting their jobs keep them from being normal, despite being in abnormal situations, so it’s about making whatever ‘normal’ is for you work.” Actors are always intent on reminding us that there is nothing normal or romantic about love scenes – and Lily is no different:

“If I met Johnny Depp I wouldn’t know

what to do with myself”


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“Kissing scenes are super unsexy because everyone’s


Sweater Moschino Cheap And Chic; earrings Gillian Horsup at Grays Antiques


G Goddess “In terms of kissing, I promise you that it is super awkward,” she laughs, “and super unsexy because everyone’s staring.” In which case, why do so many actors fall for their co-stars? “People are cast because they have chemistry,” she haltingly explains, careful not to give too much away. “You’re spending 24-hour days together and it’s intense… plus you really get to know the best and worst sides of people – the rawest sides of people. You’re perfect for the role because you have that connection with each other and sometimes that translates into more.”


ily has a wiseness about her that belies her age and provenance. She may have grown up in a house where Sir Elton John popped over for tea, “but I never saw them as celebrities – just normal people with a lot of talent.” She had pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and ‘N Sync on her wall as a teenager, and although “it’s funny now to find myself in social situations with my former idols,” she’d never be lost for words – “unless maybe it was Johnny Depp,” she exhales sharply. “If I met him I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.” Rather than be ruined by her father’s fame or spiral into rebellion, being the daughter of rock star royalty seems to have made the actress more cautious. “Seeing fame from such close quarters did affect me,” she says slowly. “It didn’t put me off doing something that I wanted to do, but it made me determined to finish school first.” Although she started auditioning at 16, she didn’t land her first role until four years later. “I never wanted to get a job because someone had made a phone call for me. Nobody has ever made a phone call for me. Weirdly, I enjoyed being knocked back at the beginning. Being told ‘no’ so many times made being told ‘yes’ better.” As a model, her looks may have been lucrative, but in film auditions, that complexion can count against her. “I get told that I look too young a lot,” she smiles, aware that it’s what’s known as a ‘first world problem’. “I’m 24 but I can play 15. I want to play grungier, grittier, worn out women and sometimes people don’t have the time to see beyond what walks in the room.” Perhaps a few more Guinnesses would help? “Maybe they would,” she chuckles. Sometimes I’ll make myself tired beforehand so that I’ve got a little bit more going on with my face.” Rather than dismiss her modelling years, however, Lily appreciates what they taught her. “I learned all about lighting and what to do with my face. And I’ve always loved fashion.” When it comes to style, LA Lily is different to London Lily. “I love the


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Dress Valentino; shoes; earrings Gillian Horsup at Grays Antiques Hair: Kerry Warn for John Frieda at The Milton Agency Make-up: Polly Osmond at D+V Manicure: Nichola Joss at Premier


G Goddess casual, comfortable chic of LA,” she tells me. “But at the same time I get to dress up a lot more when I’m in London. There’s this funky, fresh, young vibe there and people can be very chic in either a very puttogether way or a grunge way. People are who they are and I like that.” Her mother has been her biggest influence when it comes to fashion. “When we lived in England, Mum was always shopping for vintage. She would mix vintage Yohji Yamamoto or Vivienne Westwood with more contemporary styles, and because of her my fashion is quite eclectic. Recently I’ve been wearing a pair of ripped denim overalls with cropped tops and ballet flats, but if I’m doing press I’ll wear leather pants, a tailored shirt, heels and a hat. A lipstick can inspire a whole look.” The cardinal rules for her? “Don’t ever look like you’re trying too hard. Don’t ever wear anything you don’t feel comfortable in, because then it’ll wear you. Don’t wear too many patterns or prints at once and,” she frowns, “well, I’m still dubious about the whole double denim thing.” Lily hardly ever shops in designer stores, preferring Topshop or Cos “and throwing all those things in with statement pieces.” But sometimes, if she feels she’s earned it, she’ll buy herself an expensive handbag. “I’ve been dying to find a blush-coloured bag for ages. Then the other day in Dublin I saw this amazing Prada bag in a department store. It took me a couple of hours to come to terms with the fact that this was it: this was the bag I’d been waiting for. I like having the odd splurge – and I know it’ll last me years and years, because I keep all my clothes and bags so sacred and clean.” Not that some of her teenage get-ups haven’t been firmly consigned to the back of the closet. “When I look back at some of the things I wore when I was younger,” she shudders, “I had these little leather jackets that I’d team with frilly dresses and white socks. I thought it was really cute, but actually I looked crazy. Then I went through this phase where I was obsessed with blue lipstick and used to crimp my hair. I can’t believe my mum let me walk out of the house that way.” She should never reject that side of herself, I warn: it’s her Britishness coming through. “It is,” she nods fervently. “It’s my British spunk and feistiness. And you know what? I never want to lose that.”

“Don’t ever

look like you are

trying too hard”

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones is out on August 21