Lily Collins on nepotism: ‘Everybody in LA is a daughter of someone’

Lily Collins

Lily Collins covers the October issue of Marie Claire UK to promote Love, Rosie. I guess she’s trying to be a romcom queen after Mortal Instruments didn’t perform well. She’s cute, and she has a fetching English accent. As does Sam Claflin, her co-star. Suki Waterhouse makes her film debut in this movie. Suki plays the girl that comes between two friends who secretly love each other. Typical 20-something romcom.

I like what’s going on in this shoot. Lily has a new bob, and Marie Claire styled it to look slightly punky. She talks a lot about media perception and how her career is exploding (it’s not). She admits losing out on Gossip Girl and being upset about it. Lily still doesn’t believe nepotism had a hand in jump starting her film roles. I don’t blame her for feeling that way. We’d all be defensive on the subject in her position. Imagine going on a press tour and having everyone ask about “Sussudio.” Journos keep asking over and over again. Lily answers differently this time:

KStew & JLaw’s media reps: “It’s definitely not normal. There are preconceived ideas about them and the media wants to prove them wrong or find fault in them. They feel that, because they’ve known them since they were young, there is an ownership of their personal life. Jennifer and Kristen have done such a great job of navigating that; they’re witty, strong, funny, cool, young women. It’s really just nice to see that it’s possible to go through something like that and still be genuinely awesome people.”

Talking out against nepotism: “When I first met with agents I was asked, ‘Well, what makes you so special? Everybody in LA is a cousin or a daughter of someone.’ At the beginning, that was the most interesting thing about me. Now I’ve done eight films, it’s an afterthought. I get kids who say, ‘Oh, I love your movie, but my mum loves your dad.’ It’s really nice to be able to share that with him, but it doesn’t define who I am career-wise.”

The one that got away: “I tested for Gossip Girl. I wanted to be in it so badly, I thought at the time it was the end of the world. But now I think, ‘well I would have got pigeon-holed, have had to move to New York, leave high school and be signed away for six years. I wouldn’t have done the films I’ve done, and everything would have been so different.”

She didn’t know her dad was famous: “We’d be at dinner and people would come up for autographs and I thought, ‘Why do they want Dad’s?’ I remember one day I asked him the stupidest question: I’m like, ‘Did you ever do a music video?’. I had no idea.”

She’s single: “I’m working and enjoying finding out who I want to be. You can never rely fully on someone else to complete you. I think making somebody else your everything is adding way too much pressure; needing somebody to feel complete is a dangerous thing.”

[From Marie Claire UK]

Lily is perfectly civil in this interview. She’s probably had some media training after stories of a bratty ego circulated. She did seem a bit “above it all” on her last media tour, but she seems more grounded now.

Here’s the Love, Rosie trailer. It looks like a clichéd romcom.

Lily Collins

Photos courtesy of Marie Claire UK

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83 Responses to “Lily Collins on nepotism: ‘Everybody in LA is a daughter of someone’”

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  1. word says:

    Of course it’s about Nepotism. Otherwise, Hollywood would be filled with nothing but talented people who worked hard to get where they are and appreciate their success. I’d say only 10% of Hollywood fits that description.

    • SpookySpooks says:

      Yeah, it’s like 45% are someone’s kids who can’t act, 45% are very pretty people who can’t act, and only 10% are amazingly talented.

      Cecilia Ahern’s book, on which the movie is based, was a really cute read, I read it ages ago.

    • Mike says:

      Nepotism dominates in Hollywood just like every other walk of life where you get put in a privileged position. Ball boys at baseball games are usually the kids of players and managers and interns in D.C. are usually connected just like getting into Ivy League Schoools. It is a rigged game and if you are not part of the power crowd your chance of one of these jobs is like winning the lottery. It’s pathetic but I would probably help my child unfairly if I had the chance to also.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      I wouldn’t mind the nepotism if she was more than cute. That’s all she’s got going for her. Nepotism affects about 99% of Hollywood. Very few people just came and made it on their own. They knew someone, who introduced them to someone else, and so on. I mean, the only person I can think of who got in HW by himself is Brad Pitt. And Daniel Day-Lewis. Other than that? Liam Neeson met Helen Mirren. And so on…..

      But she doesn’t have talent, she’s not charismatic enough to make up for that lack of talent… could be ANYONE playing her role. Shoot–if they put Vanessa Hudgens in, I wouldn’t have even noticed.

      • itsetsyou says:

        @Virgilia Coriolanus, I don’t now much about Pitt’s journey in Hollywood, but I’d say he’s one of those who were “pretty but can’t act” for a very very long time until he mastered the acting. He really made it thanks to his looks only later in life making much better movies but no one can say he is in the same league as Daniel Day Lewis.

      • Jen2 says:

        @itsetsyou. I think her point is that Pitt had no family member (thus no nepotism for him) in Hollywood to introduce him to the right people. In fact, in one interview, his father said how proud he was of him doing it all on his own. Yes, it was his looks that opened the door, but he busted his butt to become the super star and Academy Award/Emmy Award winning producer he is today.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        I’m not saying he’s in the same league of acting as Daniel Day Lewis. I’m saying that, as far as I know, both of them came to HW, based on what they had with themselves–looks, talent. No family friend introduced them to such and such person, who just happened to know the head of such and such studio, or however it usually goes.

      • Cora says:

        Daniel Day-Lewis’s father was a Poet Laureate and his mother was an actress. Daniel came from an extremely privileged background with parents who were both successful in the arts. I do happen to think Daniel is one of the most talented actors of his generation, but he did have some help getting through the door.

      • LAK says:

        Daniel Day Lewis is the son of a very famous Poet (google Sir Cecil Day Lewis) who socialised with theatre and film crowd. His path was far easier than Liam Neeson who had no connections or money at all.

        In terms of hollywood people who are connected who make it in front of camera, percentage is actually very low.

        We tend to hear more about them purely because of their connections, but very few go further than that initial rush of publicity.

        As for Liam using Helen Mirren, that is unfair because everyone uses whatever connections they can make. That is true of everyone in hollywood and other industries.

      • Kate says:

        Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain. Chastain went to Julliard and she made it on her own.

        Adams was dirt poor and made it on her own.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        John Hamm is a non-connected success story. Yay for him. ;)

      • lucy2 says:

        I’d venture to guess it’s at least 50/50, people who made it on their own vs people who had a connection in the business. There are a LOT of people who had no family member to get their foot in the door.

        Meryl, Sandra, Kerry, Reese, Nicole Kidman, Cameron, Amy Adams, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, SJP, etc. And those are just the women off the top of my head.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Tiff-I thought of Hamm too!
        It took him so long to really break into it.

      • Alex says:

        @kate I thought Jessica Chastain too. And she got to go to Julliard because of Robin WIlliams. He provided the scholarship money for her to go. I remember being sad that she never got to personally thank him for that. Jlaw is another non-nepotism case although her career is new. Ironically she got inspired to make it in acting from her THG costar Josh Hutcherson because she read an article about him in a newspaper (they are both from kentucky). Funny how these connections happen.
        Another case would be Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. I remember reading stories about how no one wanted to do Good Will Hunting and how they lived together in a tiny place trying to get the movie made.

      • Pager90 says:

        I think Brad Pitt and Matthew Mchonaughey made it on their own and a lot of the African American and Latina actors,actresses had to kick those doors down hard to get work.

        But the thing about Brad I use to hear in the 1990′s early, was that he liked dating working actresses who were connected Hollywood daughters. Many of His girlfriends usually had a connection somewhere in Hollywood. Brad liked that for some reason, according to this person who knew one of his early managers. I thought about it and it seemed sort of true.

        **Juliet Lewis….her dad was supposedly some sort of Hollywood industry person.
        **Jennifer Anniston(Friends actress) …her father longtime Actor in television
        **Gwyneth Paltrow-mother actress Blythe Danner, Father Bruce Paltrow Director-Producer.
        **Angelina Jolie(Hollywood A list actress)…Father Jon Voight

        The person told me for the most part, Brads girlfriends were actresses with a family connection to the Industry , it seemed like it was what Brad usually ended up going for.
        But I’m not sure it helped his career, he was pretty much already well known as Brad Pitt during theses relationships.

        P.S. I think in one of the early interviews on Ben Affleck or Matt…didn’t one of their relatives have a connection to get One of them their early first acting jobs? I can’t remember the story now.

      • Bridget says:

        @Pager90: I’d suggest you take your friend with a grain of salt. Brad Pitt was a co-star dater, but the examples you used are really strange since 1) Juliette Lewis is successful in her own right (as in, not industry connected), and she and Pitt started dating before she really hit it big with Cape Fear, and 2) by the time Pitt hooked up with the other 3 ladies he was a MEGA star. He didn’t need any industry connections once he hit it big in the early to mid 90s, and I don’t know that Jennifer Aniston’s soap opera dad nor Angelina Jolie’s estranged dad really needed to open any doors for him.

      • Pager90 says:

        Bridget I suggest you do some research on Juliette Lewis, her father is a well know character actor in the industry.

        also did you read the full post.

        And I Quote “But I’m not sure it helped his career, he was pretty much already well known as Brad Pitt during theses relationships.” END QUOTE

        Also I never said it helped his career…I said the friend said Brad liked to date daughters of Hollywood and working actresses.

        Also did you ever bother to look up Juliet Lewis background?
        Juliet Lewis Father is a well known Character a Actor in the Industry.

        Geoffrey Lewis —–His filmography includes television shows such as Law & Order: Criminal Intent and My Name is Earl, as well as films such as Down in the Valley, alongside Edward Norton, The Butcher, alongside Eric Roberts, Maverick, alongside Mel Gibson, and When Every Day Was the Fourth of July alongside Dean Jones. He appeared in the episode, “Tithonus” on The X-Files.
        Child : Juliet Lewis
        Bridget next time do some research.
        One thing I don’t just spout I actually do research.

  2. Mel M says:

    I think she’s beautiful and wish her well. The movie looks decent but I haven’t been to the movies in ages.

  3. Francesca says:

    I like how interesting her face is. Strong brows, but otherwise delicate features.

  4. Jaderu says:

    I’ve never actually seen her in anything. Is she a good actress? I would think nepotism will open the door ( *cough* Suki *cough* ) but in the long run you have to prove yourself.
    I really like her haircut.

  5. Yuyka says:

    I don’t know, I like her. I was really indifferent to her because I haven’t seen any of her movies but I watched Mortal Instruments last week and she surprised me. She is very pretty and decent actress. Is really Phil Collins such a big star that it would help her career significantly? He’s not even an actor.

  6. Mia4S says:

    At best her father could introduce her to some people. An advantage sure but hardly unusual in many industries. The ones without talent or appeal hit the B movie scene pretty quickly (hey Rumour Willis!). That nepotism doesn’t really phase me.

    What drives me nuts? Cases like Will Smith where he produces these starring projects for his kids. Yuck!

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s how I feel about it – it opens doors, but you need to have the talent or they’ll close right up again. And I agree about Will Smith – if those kids are so talented, they’ll get roles or music success on their own. Handing everything to them will not teach them about the hard work and perseverance needed for that business, nor will it help them improve their skills.

      It’s odd that Lily is still asked about it in every interview, but other relatives of celebs aren’t.

  7. Lydia says:

    Lilly Collins, Dakota Johnson and Mamie Gummer owe their careers to their famous parents. None of them has a ounce of real talent, however.

  8. Midnightatthemuseum says:

    Um…Sam Claflin doesn’t need to whip out an English accent….he IS English.

  9. itsetsyou says:

    Rachael McAdams comes to mind when I think of seld-made actors.

  10. kt says:

    So. The movie looks pretty cute, I’ll definitely watch it illegally online. She’s pretty. I love phil collins because of tarzan soundtrack. That’s all the thoughts I can muster from her interview.

  11. bns says:

    It’s very rare that actors who benefit from nepotism are able to carve out their own identities. People like her, Zoe Kravitz, the Gummer girls, the Smith kids, and the Willis sisters will always be known as the daughter/son of.

  12. Leslie says:

    She is sort of pretty, but she can’t act. I saw her in the little bit of Abducted that I watched, and she was terrible. Only say her in the trailer of Mortal Instruments (or whatever it was called), and she was terrible. No acting skills whatever. Embarrassingly bad. I don’t understand why these spawns of famous people don’t take acting classes if they want to pursue acting. Another one who comes to mind is Emma Roberts.

  13. deezee says:

    Well she must have SOME talent. Her (half?) sister Joely Collins is an actress too but hasn’t been able to be as famous.

  14. Hiddlesgirl85 says:

    I think the terms Nepotism and Cronyism are being improperly interchanged in this thread. Nepotism applies to connections through connections. Cronyism applies to connections through friends or associates.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Yeah you’re right.

    • Hiddlesgirl85 says:

      Correction: Nepotism means connections through family.

    • xoxokaligrl says:

      the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

      the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.

      I believe people are using nepotism in the correct context, as we are not talking about positions of power or authority; however, the definitions are similar.

      • Hiddlesgirl85 says:

        @xoxokaligrl: Thanks, but the term “Nepotism” actually does refer to partiality to family (the term originated with the assignment of nephews to cardinal positions by Catholic popes and bishops), whereas “Cronyism” refers to partiality to an associate or friend. Source: Wikipedia.

        Not to be a stickler, but “family vs. friend” is the actually difference between the two words. Especially considereing the the etymology of “nepotism.”.

  15. Pager90 says:

    I think the nepotism died down a bit in the 1970′s with Al Pacinos, Robert Deniro, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand.

    I think Tom Cruise made it on his own. The guy is loaded with charisma.
    I think there are several big actresses today who owe their big break to Tom cruise though.

  16. Hally says:

    Lily doesn’t bother me too much. She’s pretty to look at, seems like a descent person, and I don’t feel like anyone is pushing her too hard to be a thing. It’s not like she’s stealing great roles from anyone. If it wasn’t her it would be another, similarly unspectacular actress with the parts. And Phil Collins is famous, sure, but how much pull does he have in movies? To the point that his kid would get leading roles? I’m sure he helped get her foot in the door, and admittededly sometimes that’s all it takes to stay in the game, but it’s not what keeps her career going.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Getting a foot in the door is huge in Hollywood. Do you have any idea of the sheer number of people trying to make it in Hollywood? It’s not like other places, not like other careers. There is no level playing field, being talented means nothing if you never get your break. And the breaks are simply handed to the likes of Ms. Collins to try out while the mood strikes her.

  17. Pager90 says:

    You’d be surprised how much pull Phil Collins would have. He has deep deep decades long friendships in Hollywood and if a door is asked to open it will open. I also believe that Phil Collins is a Academy Award Winner and a longtime member of the Academy ( as in the Academy which makes decisions on the Oscars) those industry people are deeply connected usually.
    I’ve noticed some of the. Hollywood or Industry offspring, may get a a big PR push but if they don’t have their Own drive and ambition, it goes no where after five or ten years and they fall off the radar.

  18. Zork says:

    She still is in denial that she’d be any other nobody if not for her father.

  19. Josefa says:

    Pft. Her dad definitely has helped her. A girl her age in Hollywood wouldn’t be forgiven the ammount of flops she’s had in starring roles. Talent aside, she simply isn’t marketable.

    Anyway, I agree with the author she’s being very civil and I understand why she wouldn’t openly shout this out loud to the world. A much more respectable stance than Emma Roberts’ or Ireland Baldwin’s.

  20. serena says:

    Seems like a cute movie I’d watch.