Lily James on her early 30s: I’ll always be a ‘searching’ person… ‘I still feel like a child’


Lily James covers the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK to promote her starring role in the remake of Rebecca. The cover editorial is nice enough – kind of uninspired to see an “English rose” in shades of dusty rose, but so be it. This was done and published before Lily’s affair with Dominic West was outed, and it happened after her fling (or whatever) with Chris Evans. Bazaar even states at one point that Lily isn’t talking about Chris. Hm. Anyway, post West affair, these quotes hit different. Some highlights:

On Rebecca: “Exploring the different extremes of womanhood shown by Rebecca, Danvers and Mrs de Winter is so exciting. And I think it remains such a bewitching story because it preys on all our fears, insecurities and sense of longing. Imagine living in the shadow of your lover’s past – it’s sort of terrifying and erotic.”

She admits she has obsessive and self-critical tendencies: She continually puts herself through the experience of watching and admiring other actors’ performances of parts she is playing. “That was an easy headspace to find myself in– I can slip quite easily into negative self-loathing,” she acknowledges. At other times, she found the character’s timidity and paranoia highly frustrating. “It was like a brick wall that I was always bashing my head against,” she says. Later, she adds frankly: “I am actually really glad it’s all over.”

On lockdown: “Lockdown forces you to confront things about yourself, and part of stopping was realising that repeating yourself is the death of creativity. I just know that I want to try to stretch myself and become another person… I hope that’s what next year will bring.”

She’s not happy & sunny all the time: “Your pain, your happiness, your grief are all part of who you are. This idea that we should always be happy is probably setting us back: often in life, we don’t take our pain seriously, as a way of coping, but it’s obviously there and you have to examine it.”

On being 31: “Lots of girlfriends said to me, ‘Oh, you feel so much relief in your thirties, you know who you are.’ I thought I was there, but then realised I’m actually not. I think I’ll probably always be quite a “searching” person… I can’t picture getting to a point where I’ll feel like, “Oh, I’ve grown.” I still feel like a child.”

The one mention of Chris Evans: As for her love life, James’ outlook has changed. She won’t discuss whether or not she is dating the Captain America star Chris Evans, but she will say that if she could give her younger self any advice, it would include instructions not to lose sleep over matters of the heart. “Don’t be obsessed by boys! Hang out with your girl mates. And don’t take everything so seriously – be kind to yourself.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

Her thoughts on happiness are really good, actually. I’ve said before that I like Lily but I usually find her deep as a puddle, but maybe that’s just because she comes across as a light, sunny, happy person. But no one is happy and sunny all the time, every day and maybe that’s a facade she’s learning to drop. As for being obsessed with boys… hm. There’s also this video which features some interesting quotes about affairs, mistakes, etc.

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Covers courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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34 Responses to “Lily James on her early 30s: I’ll always be a ‘searching’ person… ‘I still feel like a child’”

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  1. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    “Imagine living in the shadow of your lover’s past – it’s sort of terrifying and erotic.”
    Is that why she’s been messing around with other people’s marriages, then?

    • Valiantly Varnished says:


    • Kitten says:

      “I want to try to stretch myself and become another person.”

      Not gonna lie, this made me spit tea all over myself, and I damn near choked laughing.

      This comment did not age well and is incredibly snark-inviting in the context of current affairs, pun intentional.

    • Amaria says:

      This and the “becoming another person” comment… All of this smells of some weird Single White Female sh*t. Is she a wannabe glamorous version od LeAnn Rimes?

  2. Mia4s says:

    How about sticking to “searching” for some single men Lily? Just a suggestion. 😬

  3. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Yeah she’s still obsessed with boys…just OTHER PEOPLE’S boys. 😂😂

  4. boobra says:

    i am still perplexed as to who this actress is..Seriously. i had to read her Wiki because i was confusing her with Lily Collins, Lily Allen, Lily Rose Depp, Evangeline Lily…heck even harry potter’s mum, Lily Evans.

    still haven’t seen her in anything notable..

    • Cee says:

      She’s Cousin Rose in Downton Abbey and played Cinderella in Disney’s Live Action film.
      She was also in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! but I haven’t seen that.

      • Gina says:

        I couldn’t stand her in Cinderella. Her mouth was open during whole movie! She ruined the fairy tale for me. I had to re-watch Cinderella with Whitney Houston and Disney animation from 1950 in order to recover.
        She doesn’t seem too bright to me, and not just because her bad (to my taste at least) acting.

    • Jo73c says:

      Even though I’ve read her name ten times this week, I still kind of think she’s Lily Collins

    • Mumbles says:

      She’s forgettable. She was in Downton Abbey and so blah, or maybe I’m just annoyed because her character was there to replace Sybil, who was the only one worth anything in that family.

    • Deering24 says:

      Thank you. I thought she was Lily Collins when the Rebecca project was first announced. Her only role that stands out was Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—and I still thought she was Lily Collins there. 🤣

  5. Harper says:

    She’s beautifully styled in Rebecca and good in the role. However, there were so many problems with the adaptation that made me want to throttle the screenwriter and the director. Rebecca is all about insecurity and misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions and the director should have resisted the urge to put horror/nightmare elements into the movie. There must be a director out there who can remake this without offending the novel’s spirit.

  6. BnLurkN4eva says:

    All the British actress who seems to make it big, or somewhat big in America look alike to me. Thandie Newton, Kiera Knightly, Lilly James, Naomi Harris, Kate Beckingsale, Daisy Ridley, They all have very similar looks and kind of reminds me of each other. The minute I see a new British actress introduced to American audience I can predict if she’s going to be popular by her similarities to those I mentioned.

    • Case says:

      Keira Knightly and Daisy Ridley do resemble each other. I’d also throw Emma Watson and Jenna Coleman in there as having a very similar look to them.

    • Kitten says:

      Bite your tongue, BnLurkN4eva. Newton puts them all to shame. She’s the bomb.

    • Mumbles says:

      Don’t forget Felicity Jones and Imogen Poots.

    • Slowdown says:

      OMG that is so true it’s disturbing. They all look like excitable, naive nymphettes to boost.
      Big exceptions: Olivia Coleman, Dame Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Blunt.

  7. margedebarge says:

    I get that it wasn’t cool for her to fool around with a married man but the vitriol is just gross. Let’s maybe save it for the man who actually broke his wedding vows?

    • Vote Science says:

      The story isn’t about Dominic West, who everyone agrees is a complete scumbag. If she wants to play stupid games, she gets to win stupid prizes.

    • Onemoretime says:

      Not a married man but married men as in more than one.

  8. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    On the Bazaar cover, She looks like a vacant Ruth Wilson (Dominic West’s co-star in The Affair).

  9. Jaded says:

    “I’ll always be a searching person”…ya Lily, searching for your next marriage to homewreck.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    As long as she’s focused on searching, being self-critical and obsessive, or trying to not think about boys, she’ll always be an underage brat. Maturity involves much more than introspection. It’s a very real and almost tangible realization you’re but a speck of sand somewhere along a global beach, and growth comes when helping family, friends, neighbors, communities, etc. Her ego still rules the nest. Yawn.

  11. Bc says:

    Wow the title just called to me because i was literally thinking this like ten minutes ago. My 34th bday is coming up and maybe its because im single and childfree, but i literally just thought to myself like, whats the difference between now and my childhood? Other than i dont play outside anymore and now i pay bills and appear responsible? And does anyone else feel this way or their experience different because they have families or just dont have my personality? Ive waited for that light to come on, that marks adulthood, but it hasnt. I feel no different than i felt at 12. I feel like for me, im on this long line of the same age. Im not complaining. Its possibly the best way to be. I dont know any different. I do wonder what its like for others.

    • Case says:

      I definitely think the concept of adulthood is a bit of a lie. Yes, we have responsibilities and bills and relationships to tend to, but I think many people are still as unsure as they were when they were young. There is no switch that turns on and you suddenly feel grown up. Didn’t happen for me when I graduated college, bought a home, traveled alone, etc.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I guess you’ve never had your partner cheat on you. It’s a terrible feeling and I certainly resented BOTH of them. While my partner definitely is the one who actually betrayed me and takes the majority of the blame, his mistress knew all about me and hated me and deliberately chose to be in the affair knowing it would hurt me. She was awful. If someone knows the affair is going to hurt another woman, they bear responsibility for their own choices.

  13. Nods says:

    I used to like her a lot and thought Dominic West was fine in films but now I can’t watch them. It’s like an involuntary thing! The father-daughter dirty weekend in Rome – ugh! Armie Hammer I always thought was sleazy and weird so even if the rumours were true it doesn’t really change things; I still don’t like watching him. I think Lily has poor impulse control and was probably trying to get over Matt Smith with all this messiness. She was very upset at his rumoured cheating and put up a really random National Cheetahs (she was petting some cheetahs) post on her IG around the time of the rumours.

  14. Bobbie says:

    I’m pushing 50 and I still feel like a child! Irresponsibility forever!

  15. StrawberryBlonde says:

    Hell I am 38, almost 39, married to an almost 41 year old and we have jobs, have a house, pay our bills etc…but still often feel like “kids.” The difference is that now we have so many responsibilities that it’s hard to be as carefree as you are when are a kid. I remember when I was 33 and single with no kid feeling like not much had changed since childhood/teenager-hood.