Miss FQ - - Contents -

Lily Collins on her new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy

You know Lily Collins for her hit films, su­per-fa­mous fa­ther and on-fleek brows, but in her brand new mem­oir, Un­fil­tered: No Shame, No Re­grets, Just Me, she re­veals sides of her­self we’ve never seen. Phoebe Watt gets the low-down from the ac­tor-slash-writer

Firstly, con­grat­u­la­tions on the launch of your de­but book! What can you tell us about the process of writ­ing it?

I started it in Jan­uary 2016 and fin­ished in the sum­mer, so it took about eight months. But as it dis­cusses a lot of my child­hood ex­pe­ri­ences, you could say I’ve been think­ing about it my whole life. I ended up work­ing on it all over the world on dif­fer­ent movie sets which was a chal­lenge, but I think it ben­e­fited my writ­ing in the end.

In the book you dis­close a lot about your life and the dark ex­pe­ri­ences you’ve been through, from abu­sive re­la­tion­ships and en­coun­ters with ad­dic­tion, to fa­mil­ial dys­func­tion and your bat­tle with eat­ing dis­or­ders. How did you nav­i­gate this sub­ject mat­ter as far as de­cid­ing how much to share?

I was slightly ap­pre­hen­sive, but ul­ti­mately these as­pects of my life are part of my jour­ney and what makes me, me. I have grown to bet­ter un­der­stand them and have no shame in what they’ve taught me. I hope that shar­ing these ex­pe­ri­ences en­ables other young women to start con­ver­sa­tions about things that are con­sid­ered taboo.

Is there any­thing you re­gret men­tion­ing? no shame, no re­grets. No. As my ti­tle says:

What gave you the mo­ti­va­tion and strength to be so gen­er­ous and open-hearted with your read­ers?

To be hon­est, the read­ers them­selves. They are such a sup­port­ive, em­pow­er­ing, en­cour­ag­ing com­mu­nity and have al­ways been so in­cred­i­bly brave in shar­ing their in­se­cu­ri­ties, sto­ries, and ex­pe­ri­ences. This was my way of joining in on the con­ver­sa­tion.

What has been the re­sponse to the book from those peo­ple clos­est to you?

I think it’s in­evitable that cer­tain chap­ters are harder to read than oth­ers, but I know that my fam­ily and friends are in­cred­i­bly proud of me for be­ing so open and hon­est. They have al­ways sup­ported me in my en­deav­ours and this is no dif­fer­ent.

Given your per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence of eat­ing dis­or­ders, play­ing a char­ac­ter with anorexia in the film To the Bone must have been tough. You touch on this in your book, but why was it im­por­tant to you, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally, to ac­cept this role? Eat­ing dis­or­ders have long been part of my

story but they don’t de­fine who I am. Do­ing To the Bone was an in­cred­i­ble way to face my demons head-on. Iron­i­cally I had writ­ten the chap­ter about [my eat­ing dis­or­der ex­pe­ri­ence] the week be­fore re­ceiv­ing the script, and I just knew it was the uni­verse’s way of telling me I needed to open up, be more hon­est with both my­self and the world, and truly move for­ward. It was an ab­so­lute bless­ing be­ing part of some­thing so pow­er­ful and im­por­tant. I was re­minded that we’re never alone in our strug­gles and ask­ing for help is never a weak­ness.

Who or what is your big­gest in­spi­ra­tion in life? My mum is my big­gest in­spi­ra­tion and best friend. She never ceases to amaze me. I ad­mire her pas­sion and strength so much and hope one day I am even half the woman, and mother, that she is.

In the chap­ter about your mum, you talk about trav­el­ling to­gether and how the con­stant ex­po­sure to dif­fer­ent so­ci­eties and cul­tures was a re­ally for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for you. What’s

the most eye-open­ing place you ever vis­ited? Trav­el­ling to Egypt and see­ing King Tut’s tomb, climb­ing the pyra­mids, and vis­it­ing the Sphinx was be­yond mem­o­rable. It was so dif­fer­ent from any­thing I’d ever seen, so ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the cul­ture there and fully im­mers­ing our­selves in our sur­round­ings was ut­terly mag­i­cal.

Be­fore your act­ing ca­reer took off, you were study­ing jour­nal­ism at univer­sity and con­tribut­ing to pub­li­ca­tions like Elle Girl UK,

Seven­teen and Teen Vogue. What made you choose act­ing over writ­ing, and is jour­nal­ism some­thing you see your­self ever go­ing

back to? I al­ways want to give 110% in what­ever I do, so there came a point when I had to fo­cus more on one [ca­reer path] in or­der to ad­vance and grow in that par­tic­u­lar field. I started book­ing films and my time be­came lim­ited, but I don’t see it as choos­ing one over the other; more putting one on the back burner. I’ll never lose my cu­rios­ity or pas­sion for meet­ing peo­ple, and I think it’s com­pletely pos­si­ble to both act and write. Af­ter all, I wrote this book while film­ing three dif­fer­ent projects! Now that you have one book un­der your belt, do you have plans for an­other? Per­haps a work of fic­tion, or a screen­play? I’d love to write a screen­play one day! Maybe I’ll even di­rect it. And fi­nally… you talk about some life-chang­ing choco­late chip quinoa cook­ies in your book. Any chance you can give us the recipe?! Haha, I’m more than happy to share the re­sults but for now, I think I’ll keep the recipe to my­self. Who knows, maybe a cook­book is in my fu­ture!

OUT NOW Un­fil­tered: No Shame, No Re­grets, Just Me by Lily Collins (Ebury Pub­lish­ing), $35.


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