Lily Jane Collins (born 18 March 1989) is an English-American actress, model, and writer. The daughter of English musician Phil Collins, and an American mother, Jill Tavelman, she was born in Surrey and moved to Los Angeles as a child. Her first screen role was at the age of two in the BBC series Growing Pains. She went on to study broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California, and as a teenager, wrote for Seventeen magazine, Teen Vogue, and The Los Angeles Times. She was named International Model of the Year by Spain's Glamour magazine after being selected by Chanel to wear one of their dresses at the Hotel de Crillon in 2007. In 2008, she was named Newest Red Carpet Correspondent and One to Watch by Young Hollywood.
She has had leading roles in films such as the sci-fi action-horror film Priest (2011) and the psychological action-thriller Abduction (2011), and the fantasy Mirror Mirror (2012) in the role of Snow White. In 2013, she received wider recognition after taking on the role of Clary Fray in the fantasy The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, for which she was nominated for the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress – Action and an MTV Movie Award. She is also known for her roles in independent films, such as the romantic comedy-drama Stuck in Love (2012), the romantic comedy The English Teacher (2013), and the romantic comedy-drama Love, Rosie (2014). In 2016, she won the New Hollywood Film Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role as Marla Mabrey in Rules Don't Apply. In 2017, her performance as a young adult with anorexia in the Netflix drama To the Bone was praised, with Collins herself having overcome an eating disorder in the years before the film, and she and director Marti Noxon were honored at Project Heal for the film.
Collins is also a published author, with her first book, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, being released in 2017 to critical praise.
Lily Jane Collins was born on 18 March 1989 in Guildford, Surrey, the daughter of English musician Phil Collins and his second wife, Jill Tavelman, an American who is the former president of the Beverly Hills Women's Club. Her maternal grandfather was a Canadian-Jewish immigrant who for many years owned a men's clothing store in Beverly Hills, California. After her parents' divorce in 1996, when she was seven, Collins moved to Los Angeles with her mother. She graduated from Harvard-Westlake School and attended the University of Southern California, majoring in broadcast journalism. She was presented as a debutante at the Bal des débutantes in Paris in 2007. Collins is the half-sister of musician Simon Collins and actress Joely Collins from her father's first marriage, and she has two other younger half-brothers from her father's third marriage. As a teenager, Collins suffered from an eating disorder that she later revealed in her book, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me.
Collins began acting at the age of two in the BBC series Growing Pains. As a teenager, Collins wrote a column, "NY Confidential", for the British magazine Elle Girl. She has also written for Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and the Los Angeles Times. She was selected by Chanel to wear one of their gowns at the 2007 Bal des débutantes at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, which was featured on season three of the reality television series The Hills. She was picked by Spain's Glamour magazine in 2008 as its International Model of the Year, and appeared on the magazine's cover in August 2009. Collins covered the 2008 US presidential election as a host on the Nickelodeon series Kids Pick the President. She won a 2008 Young Hollywood Award for Newest Red Carpet Correspondent.
In 2009, Collins appeared in two episodes of the teen drama series 90210, including the first season's finale. Collins was one of 20 women named by Maxim magazine as one of the Hottest Daughters of Rock Stars in 2009. In 2009, Collins co-starred in the film The Blind Side as Collins Tuohy, the daughter of Sandra Bullock's character Leigh Anne Tuohy. In 2011, she played the warrior priest's daughter Lucy in the thriller Priest, opposite Paul Bettany. MTV Networks' NextMovie.com named her one of the Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011. She co-starred in the 2011 action film Abduction with Taylor Lautner.
The following year, Collins played Snow White in Mirror Mirror, an adaptation of the fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, co-starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen Clementianna. Robbie Collin from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph wrote of Collins: "She has an adorable, sensational, almost perfect face for cinema; think Audrey Hepburn with the eyebrows of Liam Gallagher. Her smile is the platonic ideal of cheeky." She made her singing debut in the film, performing an English re-written cover of "I Believe (in Love)". Also in 2012, Collins portrayed Samantha in Stuck in Love, starring alongside Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman, and Greg Kinnear. Collins was initially cast as the lead in the 2013 remake of Evil Dead, but dropped out due to a scheduling issue.
Collins then starred as Clary Fray in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a film adaptation of the first book in The New York Times best-selling The Mortal Instruments novels, written by Cassandra Clare. In October 2013, Collins appeared in the music video for "City of Angels" by Thirty Seconds to Mars.
2014 - present
In 2014, Collins starred as Rosie Dunne in the film adaptation of Love, Rosie, alongside Sam Claflin, written by Cecelia Ahern. Collins then had a leading role as aspiring actress Marla Mabrey, alongside Alden Ehrenreich, in the romantic comedy-drama Rules Don't Apply (2016), from filmmaker Warren Beatty, who also starred as billionaire Howard Hughes. When the film was released in November, it received mixed reviews and only grossed $3.9 million against its $25 million budget. Despite this, for her role as Marla Mabrey, Collins received her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical at the 74th Golden Globe Awards.
In 2016, Collins was part of a pilot produced for The Last Tycoon, loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's last book The Last Tycoon. She played Cecelia Brady, daughter of Pat Brady, who was played by Kelsey Grammer. Amazon picked up the pilot to series on 27 July 2016 but later cancelled their plans for a second season in September in 2017.
In March 2016, Collins joined the anorexia drama film To the Bone in the lead role, written and directed by Marti Noxon. The film follows Ellen or Eli, a 20 year old woman suffering from anorexia nervosa. It premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2017, as a contender in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. It was released worldwide on Netflix on July 14, 2017. When the film was first released on Netflix there was some controversy about whether the film would be triggering for those with eating disorders. This controversy was also influenced by another Netflix original show 13 Reasons Why after it was accused of glamouring suicide. Despite the taboo topic of the movie, Collins depiction of Ellen by described as "exemplary work from Lily Collins in the central role". Justin Chang of Los Angeles Times wrote that "In a different film, Ellen’s sharp tongue might have made her an insufferable fount of wisecracking negativity, but Collins’ performance is subtler than that, and the script gives her ample opportunity to reveal the character's more complicated, vulnerable edges."
Collins was also cast in the Netflix drama film Okja directed by Bong Joon-ho, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton. The film competed for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and received a four minute standing ovation after its premiere. It was released on Netflix on June 28, 2017.
On August 30, 2017 Collins was cast to co-star with Nicholas Hoult as Edith Tolkien, love and later wife of Tolkien, who was also the inspiration for Lúthien in The Silmarillion. They began filming in October and wrapped in December. The film is set to be released on May 10 2019.
On October 2017, it was announced that she would be joining Zac Efron in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile directed by Joe Berlinger. She plays Elizabeth Kloepfer, Ted Bundy's long time girlfriend who struggles to accept that her partner was a serial killer. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2019.
It was announced in April 2018 that Collins would be starring in Hope Dickson Leach’s ‘The Cradle’, along side Jack O'Connell
In 2017 it was revealed that Les Misérables would be adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by Tom Shankland into a BBC mini series starring, Dominic West, David Oyelowo, and Lily Collins. Collins would star as Fantine, a young woman in Paris that becomes pregnant by a rich student who later abandons them, forcing her to look after their child, Cosette, on her own. They began filming the series in February 2018 in Belgium and Northern France.
Critics and fans praised Collins' performance as Fantine, Alexandra Pollard of The Independent praised her performance, writing "she plays the tragic Fantine with steeliness and grace", and described it as "magnificent." Another critic stated that "Lily Collins does not sing her anguished soul out when she is abandoned by her lover. So much so, she impressed me from the get-go with her emotionally rich performance and has successfully overridden Hathaway’s nightmarish version". Fans of the show were left "traumatised" by one of the more gruesome scenes of the show but were quick to single out Collins' "powerful performance" in the episode as she portrayed the fall of Fantine.
Collins stated in 2013 that she does not like to discuss the interest in her relationships publicly due to witnessing the difficulties caused by the media coverage of her parents' divorce.
Collins is an outspoken anti-bullying advocate and is serving as a Celebrity Ambassador to anti-bullying organization Bystander Revolution, founded by author MacKenzie Bezos.