French actress Camille Razat chats about Emily In Paris, fashion and why photoshop can be problematic
She surprised us with her impassioned take on the unreal beauty standards set by the digital world, even as she wows the world with her fashion sense at the Cannes Film Festival
When French actress Camille Razat walked on the red carpet by the French Riviera at the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival recently, she looked nothing short of a vision in her Balmain gathered dress. Her arty hair updo, with dramatic ringlets was also a show-stealer.
The L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador had quickly become a fan favourite when Emily In Paris was released on Netflix late last year. She played the role of the American protagonist’s (Emily, played by Lily Collins) French friend (also incidentally called Camille) in the now Emmy-nominated show.
On the sets
The quiet dignity of her character and fashion sense oozing Parisienne chic became quite talked about. The French-born diva reveals she is excited to be back on the sets for season two of the Lily Collins-starrer created by American writer Darren Star. She says, “It is exciting! In season two fans are going to see more of Camille’s character, and she has so many layers to her. It has also been exciting to meet the whole crew because we have not been together for almost two years now. And, it was great to see them again.” Emily in Paris, though immensely popular and watched by 58 million households worldwide according to Netflix, garnered a rather mixed response. However, the warm and affable Camille was unanimously liked. But criticism apart, one can agree that the show came at a time when COVID-19 made staying at home the norm and most people were left yearning for a light-hearted escape which Emily in Paris sought to provide. The 27-year-old French-born actress says, “We are aware that it is not the real Paris, but we want it to be a dream. We wanted the series to be on the bright and joyful side. We all know Sex in the City and we know it is not (all) New York as well. But it worked because people dreamt about it. I hope everyone in India liked watching it.”
Her style was distinctly different from the American protagonist, and it was almost a language through which she conveyed herself on the show. The effortlessness of her couture and laidback blonde locks was a perfect match. It was the understated French elegance comprising black dresses, boots and even a pinstripe jacket that made her quite the style sensation once the show was released. Her minimalist and monochrome sensibilities, often accentuated by a scarf, worked wonders at complementing the chic character she was playing. We ask her if she relates to her character’s style at all, to which she answers, “I feel it’s not very far from Camille’s character. I have been working closely with Marylin Fitoussi, who is the costume designer on set. And I think we have the same taste. She lets me put pieces together; some of the clothes are from my own wardrobe. I like the perfect leather jackets and stuff like that; it is something that I have in my closet. Maybe in real life, I am a little bit more rock and roll. I would say a little more grunge. But that’s not too far from the character’s styling.” She counts supermodel Kate Moss and Princess Diana as her style inspirations, “Kate is a huge inspiration. And, Princess Diana had a sense of fashion that is rare,” shares the true-blue fashionista.
For the job
When she walked the red carpet for the beauty brand, a job she says she is proud of doing, she wanted to make a case for their initiatives Stand Up Against Street Harassment and Lights On Women Award, she says, “On the Stand Up platform, you have training that you can do which equips women to be prepared on how to react depending on the situation, I think it is so clever, and so well built.” Also, for the latter award to honour emerging female filmmakers, she feels it’s a welcome initiative as it is a challenge to work on a short movie. The beauty brand in association with the Short Films competition of the Cannes Festival 2021 started this. At the recently concluded event, the award went to Aleksandra Odic from Germany, for her film Frida. Camille tells us, “I know that it is very hard to make a short movie. It is great that they can also use this platform to help young women follow their dreams and produce the movies these women want to make.”
Break the norm
We delve into a discussion about what constitutes the idea of beauty for the model, actress and beauty brand representative. She tells us that there are some blatant downsides to the airbrushed images that one is continuously subjected to on social media. She also tells us what can be done differently. “There are two sides to that. It’s cool that you can use your platform in every way you want. It’s good to be free. But the other side is when you see just beauty and these stereotypes of beauty all day; it can make you feel worse. So, you have to be careful and be honest with people,” she asserts.
She thinks it is important that social media marks an image that is retouched or photoshopped so that the viewers are aware that it is not real and don’t end up setting up unattainable standards. “For example, I think Instagram should highlight, (and they are beginning to do that) when a photo is retouched. They should put it on a picture, that this picture is not entirely real and has been photoshopped. I think that will solve really big problems that young people or young women can have, including myself. I might post a picture that might be a little bit retouched, either because it is a brand requirement or because I just feel like trying a filter, maybe the Paris filter and Instagram should look at labelling that as retouched. For me, even filters sometimes appear retouched. But in the world of Instagram, sometimes pictures we see have no wrinkles at all, not even the smile wrinkles. So, I think they should label it and call them out if the picture is photoshopped,” says the 27-year-old, who thinks inclusivity and authenticity should be the order of the day. “I feel we must. We’re moving forward, which is great. But there’s still a lot of stuff to do. For example, for non-binary people, we must talk much more about them and represent them much more than what is done today,” concludes Camille.
Release of Season 2 of Emily In Paris TBA.