Lily Collins Biography

Actress, Writer (1989–)
Lily Collins is a British-American actress who has starred in films such as 'The Blind Side,' 'Mirror Mirror' and Netflix's 'To the Bone.'

Who Is Lily Collins?

Born in Surrey, England in 1989, Lily Collins was raised in Los Angeles and became an actress at a young age. After taking some small roles in television, Collins made her film debut in the sports drama The Blind Side in 2009. Her head-turning role came a few years later when she played Snow White in Mirror Mirror (2012). Collins went on to star in other films such as the indie rom-com Stuck in Love (2012), the big-budget fantasy flick The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), and the controversial Netflix drama To the Bone, which tackles the subject of anorexia. Collins' father is musician Phil Collins.

Lily Collins Photo

Lily Collins arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. 

Who Is Lily Collins' Mother?

Collins' mother is Jill Tavelman, an American socialite who, for a time, headed the non-profit organization, the Beverly Hills Women's Club.


Before hitting the big screen, Collins did some television work, appearing in the BBC series Growing Pains as a toddler. Many years later in 2009, she earned a guest starring role on 90210, which lasted two seasons.

'The Blind Side' 

That same year, Collins' film debut was playing daughter to Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw's characters in The Blind Side (2009), a sports drama based on the real-life story of Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher, who was adopted by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. 

'Priest,' 'Mirror Mirror'

The actress continued honing her craft in all things scary, starring in the sci-fi horror flick Priest (2011), opposite Paul Bettany, and the psychological thriller Abduction (2011), which starred Taylor Lautner. But the film that set her career in motion was her lead role as Snow White in the dark fantasy adventure Mirror Mirror (2012), which included the star power of Julia Roberts who plays her evil stepmother based on the Brothers Grimm tale. 

'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'

But Collins made time to work on lighter projects by starring in rom coms like Stuck in Love (2012), The English Teacher (2013), and Love Rosie (2014). She also appeared in the film adaptation of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013) as Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments franchise, but the film was poorly received by critics and audiences. In 2016 Collins starred in Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply as beauty queen Marla Mabrey but it, too, failed to make an impression.

'To the Bone,' 'Okja'

Turning to newer platforms in 2016, Collins signed on with Amazon to play a role in The Last Tycoon, which was inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel by the same name. She also played the main role in Netflix's To the Bone, as a college dropout who struggles with anorexia. As part of an all-star ensemble cast, she appeared in another Netflix film, Okja (2017), which co-starred Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano.


Like model Cara Delevingne, Collins' eyebrows have their own following — in fact, their own Twitter account. But believe it or not, the actress grew up feeling rather insecure about her natural framing accessories, which are now the envy of beauty mavens and fashionistas alike. 

Despite admittedly plucking away at them in her youth in order to fit in, Collins said her mother gave her good advice.

"You need to accept the quirky things that make you different and what make you beautiful," Lily recalled of her mom's words of wisdom. "It's the things that make you stand out that make you unique." 

Early Life and Education

Lily Collins was born in England in Surrey county on March 18, 1989. Her famous father is musician Phil Collins and her mother is American socialite Jill Tavelman. The couple married in 1984 but separated in 1994 — the start of what became a bitter public divorce, which was finalized two years later.

When Lily was five, her mother moved them to Los Angeles and she saw much less of her father, causing tension in their relationship. However, in an interview with the Guardian in 2012, Collins chose to keep the matter private. "I know the truth and I know how it was for me, and I know how much I love my family – and that's all that really matters," she said. 

Collins has three half siblings — all male — and one stepsister from her father's other marriages.

After graduating from the prestigious preparatory school Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, Collins received her broadcast journalism degree at the University of Southern California, which she put to good use as a host of Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President during the 2008 presidential election.


During her teen years, Collins was known for contributing various essays and articles for publications like Seventeen, the Los Angeles Times and Teen Vogue.


Despite her reticence in previous years about her relationship with her father, Collins opened up in her memoir, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, which was released in 2017.

“Because my dad was often gone, I never wanted to do anything that would make him stay away even longer,” she writes in Unfiltered. “I became extra careful about what I said and how I said it, afraid he’d think I was angry or didn’t love him. And the truth is, I was angry. I missed him and wanted him there.”

In Unfiltered, Collins also discusses her struggles with her body image, difficult relationships with ex boyfriends and inspiring lessons she's learned from her life thus far.

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