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Lily Collins Said She "Felt Passionate" About Diversity For Season 2 Of "Emily In Paris" After Facing Backlash For Its Lack Of Inclusivity

"I really wanted diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera to be something that we really put our focus on, in a lot of ways."

Posted on November 2, 2021, at 8:58 a.m. ET

Lily Collins has said that the second season of Emily in Paris, which is due to be released on Netflix next month, will have a focus on diversity and inclusivity after the show was previously criticized for its mostly white cast.

Netflix

The first season dropped back in October 2020 and quickly became one of Netflix's most-watched shows during a time when many were looking for an escape from the reality of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Netflix

But the show was almost immediately criticized for many things, not least for presenting an "extremely white" world and "portraying clichés" of Parisian people.

Netflix

The majority-white cast saw only two people of color appearing as supporting characters, and they themselves were criticized for appearing as "a prop to serve the main protagonist" rather than fully realized characters themselves. 

Emily in Paris was also met with lukewarm reviews, but was lambasted by French reviewers in particular. One of the show's stars, Lucas Bravo, appeared to agree with the criticism at the time, saying: "We're portraying clichés and we're portraying one single vision of Paris. Paris is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We have so many ways of thinking, so many different nationalities, so many different neighborhoods. A lifetime wouldn't be enough to know everything that's going on in Paris."

At the time, Lily responded to some of the backlash from French critics, telling Vogue Arabia: "As disheartening as it sometimes is to read these things, it's also a gift; you're being allowed to improve."

Now, in a recent interview with Elle UK as the second season prepares to fly out into the world, Lily has addressed the issue of diversity and inclusivity, explaining that she'd listened to people's opinions and used them to help shape the show.

Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images

She said: "For me as Emily, but also as a producer on [the show], after season one, hearing people's thoughts, concerns, questions, likes, dislikes, just feelings about it, there were certain things that spoke to the time that we're living in and what's right, and moral and correct and should be done."

"[That was] something that I felt passionate about," she continued. "[The producers] all believed in the same things. And I really wanted diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera to be something that we really put our focus on, in a lot of ways. Hiring new people in front of the camera, also giving new storylines to different characters, which was really important."

Perhaps in an attempt to understand Parisian life better, Lily also revealed that she'd based herself in Paris during the summer for filming, choosing to live in an apartment instead of a hotel.

"It was very empty when I first got there," she said, having arrived during COVID lockdowns. "And there weren't any Americans around because they weren't allowed. So that felt even more strange, because the only accents you would hear were French — which was also really lovely."

"I definitely got to know it better this time around, just because I wasn't taking a lot of public transport because of regulations for filming," Lily went on. "So I was walking a lot more."

The 32-year-old added that her husband, Charlie McDowell, "had marked places [to visit] all over Paris," and with the help of a mostly French crew, she was able to see another side to the city.

"We were constantly walking and exploring," she said. "And, you know, our crew is all French. And so is most of our cast, except for Ashley [Park, who plays Mindy] and I. So you get to experience another side of Paris with them."

You can read Lily's full interview with Elle UK here. Season 2 of Emily in Paris premieres on Netflix, Dec. 22.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.