Lily Collins was destined to grace beauty billboards and silver screens alike, a fact all too apparent with her breakthrough role in Mirror Mirror, the 2012 adaptation of the Snow White story in which the up-and-coming actress played the raven-haired, rosebud-lipped fairy-tale princess to perfection. To the surprise of nobody at all, Lily soon clinched another coveted role: Lancôme ambassadress.
Like Snow White, Lily carries off a ruby lip beautifully, setting it against her creamy skin like the proverbial cherry on top. If you’re one of her six-million-plus Instagram followers (@lilyjcollins), you’ll know that Lily regularly lashes on a deep red lipstick, such as Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Berry Noir, which she wore to this year’s Vanity Fair Oscars after-party, paired with an elegant wing of liner. The look was vintage Lily, because if you zoned in you noted that the cat-eye liner had been etched in outline only, tapping into the negative-space makeup trend. It was a refreshingly modern riff on Hollywood glamour, in the same way that Lily’s bushy brows give her Audrey Hepburn-esque allure a cool, contemporary tweak. “I love a classic cat eye and a bold lip,” says Lily. “But I really love seeing what new looks my makeup artists come up with every time I go to an event.” If you also Insta-stalk Lily’s favourite face-painter (@fionastiles) you’ll see many of those looks as they hit the red carpet, a stage on which Lily has long felt at ease, having made her social debut, aged 18, at Paris’s famed Bal des Débutantes.
Fast-forward ten years, and Lily has truly come into her own, proving herself to be much more than celebrity offspring.
Her father, of course, is English musician Phil Collins, although Lily has mostly lived with her American mother, in California. So she was bound to break into Hollywood, like the aspiring starlet she played in the romantic comedy Rules Don’t Apply (due for Australian release in April), a turn that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.
The usual rules indeed do not seem to apply to Lily, who is building up an impressively wide-ranging résumé. While Rules Don’t Apply also showcased her singing potential (thanks, Papa), Lily is currently concentrating on another gig: author. Her recently released book Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me was inspired by her Instagram interactions with fans. “Social media has allowed me to communicate with girls all over the world,” she notes. “It’s always been really important to me that they know I experience the same things that they do and face the same insecurities. It’s such a powerful tool to get to use in order to have conversations and reassure them that they’re never alone in their struggles.”
Cue her new book Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, in which Lily shares her past experiences with eating disorders. “Writing Unfiltered was the hardest thing I’ve done so far because it’s so unbelievably personal,” she says. “But the moment I finished it, I felt so powerful and proud.” Within the book, Lily pens an honest and open letter to her father forgiving him for being absent during her childhood.
Lily’s developing duties as a social mentor for young women have come naturally. Soon after starting her manuscript, she was offered the lead role in To The Bone, a movie about a girl’s battle with anorexia; Lily accepted the part on the condition that a nutritionist guide her weight loss and gain. “I choose roles because I feel it’s important for me to play young women who grow and learn about themselves,” Lily explains. “I think it’s important that they be strong-willed, passionate, inspiring, yet flawed in their own ways.” Having been snapped up by Netflix at the Sundance Film Festival, To The Bone is due for release later this year.
In the meantime, Lily plans to explore a variety of possible cinematic personas. “I’d love to do a comedy and a British period drama,” she says, noting “self-expression is the ultimate form of creativity.” No doubt she’ll also try on a few fashion-forward beauty roles… Watch this (negative) space.