Prepare yourselves for the age of Lily Collins! If you’ve yet to discover the 24-year-old beauty — who appeared in “The Blind Side” and “Abduction” before landing the starring role of Snow White in 2012’s “Mirror, Mirror” — there’ll be no missing her in 2013. With a variety of projects just around the corner, from indie comedy “The English Teacher” and drama “Stuck in Love” to major franchise bait “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” plus a knack for fashion that’s sure to make her a mainstay at the top of the best-dressed list, there’s no denying Lily is poised for superstardom. The starlet chatted with Wonderwall about the best advice she’s received from her showbiz family (her dad is singer-songwriter Phil Collins), the inspiration for her chic style sense, her feelings on her now-iconic eyebrows, staying out of Hollywood drama, and more!
What’s your secret to staying off the Hollywood gossip radar?
I’m kind of a homebody. I love spending time with my friends, but a lot of my best friends are people I knew from school who aren’t in the business. … We enjoy going to amusement parks, to the movies, cooking, or going bowling. I’m more of a low-key person. Having grown up in an environment where your private life is so public, I learned a lot about how to keep it private if you really want to. … I’ve just never been one to go out in front of the cameras for any reason other than that I’m promoting something.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received from your dad?
To not forget who you are. Jobs come and go, but at the end of the day, you’re left with yourself. As long as you’re happy with yourself without work, then the work will always be great because you’ll be confident.
Have you gotten over how obsessed people are with your eyebrows?
It’s so funny! I remember in elementary school being very self-conscious of them because people would always make comments about them. So I always knew they were different. But all of a sudden, it’s a topic of conversation. I went to Tokyo to do press for ‘Mirror, Mirror,’ and these girls were pointing at their eyebrows saying, ‘Look! We have the Lily Collins eyebrow.’ They had drawn them in. I was like, ‘This is so strange!’ It was very sweet and a huge compliment. It taught me a lot about how something that can separate you so much and make you feel self-conscious growing up really is that thing that will make you stand out when you’re older. The things that are quirky and different about you are what make you special. … But I really don’t care if people don’t like them. They’re just a part of who I am.
What’s your upkeep routine?
I’ve been going to the same place for, like, over 10 or 12 years now, to the same woman. But I seem to go less and less because I’m either working and they’ll touch them up on the movie set, or I just literally touch them up by myself now because the natural thing seems to work for me. … I just kind of let them do their thing.
What fashion trends are you totally loving right now?
I’m into mixing floral prints with more edgy stuff like maybe a really cool leather jacket or leather pants, just mixing feminine and [masculine] looks together. … I’ve been trying to go a little bit edgier recently just because I think my personality is changing when it comes to fashion.
Do you have a fashion philosophy?
I’ve always loved Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn and women who were classy and ageless. My grandmother was very much like that. She was a ballerina, so she always had this grace about her. Then my mom was very punky and edgy when she was younger. So I’ve kind of got this eclectic mix of always wanting to look put-together and respectful, like going to the theater. I always have this mentality of being sophisticated and chic yet fresh and young — because I am 24, so I like to have fun. With ‘Mortal Instruments‘ coming out, it’s a bit sexier and edgier — and there’s leather. A new part of my personality might come out in the different fashion choices that I make as opposed to last year with ‘Mirror, Mirror‘ when it was more princessy. I just like to play around a lot and experiment and not limit myself — but never be tasteless. Always feeling like myself, but not letting the clothes wear me.
Speaking of “Mortal Instruments,” are you ready for a “Twilight” level of fan pandemonium? What’s your attitude going into it?
It’s been a little strange. I did a Q&A recently where there were like 500 people who showed up, and they were frantic. The fans were hyperventilating, and you’re going, ‘Why are you …? It’s just me! It’s not a big deal!’ It doesn’t feel warranted in a way because the movie hasn’t even come out yet. But the thing is that these fans are just such avid fans of the series, which I was before I was cast. As a fellow fan, I totally get the excitement. Then as the actor, I’m just like, ‘This is so weird!’ It’s a strange feeling. I think ‘Twilight’ is different because it was the first time that had ever happened. But the success that it brought for the franchise was amazing, so I can only hope that we have half of the success. … I hope that our fans really love what we’ve done as much as that.
What’s your exercise routine?
I exercise pretty much every day. I love to be active. … [For ‘Mortal Instruments’], we trained three months before the movie started and then every day before filming — even if it meant I had to get up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning.
Any current pop culture obsessions?
I watch ‘The Voice’ because I think the talent on that show is absolutely incredible. I’m so in awe of those people. I love anything from M83 to Rihanna to The XX to Tegan and Sara, dance and house music to Kelly Clarkson. I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to that, so I just love putting a playlist together and kind of rocking out to it. My guilty pleasure would be any show on Bravo. All those reality shows like ‘The Rachel Zoe Project,’ ‘The Real Housewives,’ and ‘Top Chef.’ I just want to cook all the time.
You worked with Julia Roberts in ‘Mirror, Mirror’ and now Julianne Moore in “The English Teacher.” What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from them?
I’ve been so fortunate so far to have amazing women as mentors. … [Julianne] just treats everyone the same. She brought an ice cream truck in for the whole crew just to thank them on, like, a random Friday. She’s so supportive of the whole process and the whole team and what goes into making a film. She handles everything with such grace. She’s just such an amazing woman, a great actor and just a great human.
You sang a bit in “Mirror, Mirror.” Is that something you’d like to pursue more seriously?
I’ve always said I’d love to do a musical movie. I started out doing musical theater and plays when I was younger, and I love singing and writing lyrics. But I think if I were ever to do an album — and that’s ‘if ever’ because I never say never to things — I would have to be completely dedicated to it. … For right now, acting is completely where my heart is.
Whose career path would you ideally love to emulate?
I love Audrey Hepburn, and I’m going to say someone else who’s so obvious: Meryl Streep. When I think of them, I think of natural beauty. I don’t just mean physical beauty — I mean their efforts and their generosity as human beings. Audrey Hepburn will always be timeless and will always be someone who carries this grace and elegance about her. It’s the same with Meryl. She hasn’t had work done. She’s just a natural person. … I met her once, and my heart stopped because she was just the nicest person.
Were you star struck when you met her?
Completely. I said to her, ‘It’s very rare that I have nothing to say, but I genuinely don’t know what to say to you right now because I just love you so much.’ But she was so sweet!