Following a 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance, GEN Z has found its newest leading lady in Lily McInerny. The actress, and latest photographic muse for Hedi Slimane, has been captured (and styled!) for CELINE’s ongoing “Portrait Of” series by the house’s Artistic Director.

With the release of the portraits, and following the recent announcement of Lily’s upcoming new film project titled Bonjour Tristesse (where she’ll star alongside Chloë Sevigny), V’s Digital Editor Kevin Ponce caught up with Lily to talk about what it was like being included in the series, her on-set experiences of the new movie, and her exciting summer plans ahead.

Discover the full interview with Lily, below.

Photography Hedi Slimane | Courtesy of CELINE

V Magazine: How does it feel to be part of CELINE’s “Portrait of…” series by Hedi Slimane? What was it like working with Hedi on-set?

Lily McInerny: Very special and somewhat surreal. Hedi Slimane’s work, in photography and design, has been a huge inspiration to me well before I started working with the brand, and I feel incredibly fortunate to work with someone I’ve admired for so long. Stepping onto the set was a little daunting but mostly exciting! I have so much reverence for the work of everyone behind CELINE, as an actor it’s a fascinating opportunity to traverse between the film and fashion world. Hedi keeps a very intimate set, focused yet light. A highlight is when his dog Elvis makes a cameo. Hedi has a very precise vision and is meticulous in his approach, involved in every element of the image from direction to styling, hair, and makeup. It was incredible to see him work and I’ve never felt more beautiful and myself than when photographed by Hedi.

V: With your growing relationship with the brand, what would you say is a key factor that makes the brand so special? How do you feel when you put on CELINE pieces?

Photography Hedi Slimane | Courtesy of CELINE

LM: Their timelessness and effortlessness is what makes them so wearable and iconically cool – I collect vintage clothing and find that CELINE pieces perfectly complement my wardrobe. After seeing their latest collection I’m convinced Hedi can read minds – It’s so perfectly in-theme with the early 60’s influences of Bonjour Tristesse. The mini-hemlines, the chunky pearls, I want everything.

V: The last time we saw you was when you got ready with MINI V (now GEN V) for the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards (wearing CELINE of course!) for your Best Breakthrough Performance nomination. What is one favorite memory from the film Palm Trees and Power Lines? Has the nomination impacted your approach to acting and the roles you consider taking on?

LM: My favorite memories from the set are also some of the most challenging – on Palm Trees I discovered I’m most fulfilled creatively when leaving my comfort zone and, in doing so, redefining my (perceived) limitations as an actor. I love doing things that scare me, doing them over and over again until they’re no longer scary, then finding new fears to conquer. That’s kind of set the precedent for my career, to continue to embrace discomfort.

V: We have to ask: what was it like working with the iconic Chloë Sevigny for your upcoming film, Bonjour Tristesse?

Photography Hedi Slimane | Courtesy of CELINE

LM: Just as cool as you’d imagine. I’ve always looked up to Chloe. She’s kind of the blueprint. Like, so iconic that it was a little distracting at first, but we really quickly fell into a groove and acting together is one of the highlights of my career. She’s so perfect in the role – I was able to channel a lot of my personal admiration for Chloe into our characters’ relationship. I’d still have pinch-me moments whenever I got a glimpse of us together on the monitor.

V: This year marks ‘Bonjour Tristesse’’s 70th anniversary, and it is considered one of the bestsellers in French publishing history. With the book being a classic in feminist literature, what were some of your initial reactions when hearing about the film project? Did you get a chance to read the book prior to partaking in the film? Any thoughts on it?

LM: I’m embarrassed I hadn’t read the book until finding out about the role. It’s now my favorite book, and not just because I’m biased. I’ve told everyone I know to get a copy. I read everything but the final few chapters before shooting. I saved the most climactic scenes to read as we were shooting them. I wanted to capture the feelings of reading it for the first time in my performance. I referred to it constantly throughout shooting, it made me feel closer to Cecile and to Francoise Sagan.

Photography Hedi Slimane | Courtesy of CELINE

V: Now with the anticipated release of the film, what are you most excited about with that release? How are you hoping audiences will react to it?

LM: I hope it appeals to fans of the book while being appreciated as an individual work of art. I’m most excited for people to experience Durga Chew-Bose’s brilliance as a screenwriter and director. She is incredibly sensitive, passionate, specific, and decisive in her direction. She, along with [Babe Nation] producers Katie Bird Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott, assembled an exceptionally talented team. I hope audiences are able to experience the same passion, joy, humor, and heartbreak that went into making it.

V: With summer in full effect, what do you have planned for the months ahead? Any fun travel plans?

LM: I’m moving out of my apartment of 4 years and putting my things into storage at the end of the month. I’m getting a one-way ticket to Europe and will figure out my itinerary as I go! New York will always be home but I’m looking forward to exploring. I have a couple of projects in the works that I’m excited to come home to.

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