Lily-Rose Depp on growing up in the spotlight: 'People have the impression they know who I am'

By Ally Dean

For any aspiring star, having Karl Lagerfeld anoint you as the new “It” girl would be a dream come true. But for Lily-Rose Depp, who was born in the spotlight – Dad is actor Johnny Depp and mom is singer and model Vanessa Paradis – life in the public eye was never the goal. “I’m not here to be known,” she tells Hello! “I’m just trying to live my dream of being an actress and things just fell into place.”


A photo of Lily-Rose Depp with Karl Lagerfeld
Lily-Rose poses with Karl Lagerfeld at the close of the Chanel S/S 2017 runway show.
Photo: © Getty Images

At the tender age of 17, Lily-Rose has two films set to come out late this year and was recently announced as the face of Chanel’s new fragrance, No. 5 L’Eau – a partnership that seems particularly fitting. “She used to come to the Chanel studio with her mother,“ head designer Karl recalled in an in­ter­view with British Vogue. “She was a very sweet child ... Lily-Rose is a young girl from a new generation with all the qualities of a star.”

With her wide-set eyes and laser-cut cheekbones, it’s no surprise Karl tapped Lily-Rose to serve as his inspiration. Here, she opens up about her rise to fame, why she abandoned social media and what drives her.

A photo of a perfume bottle, Chanel No 5 L'Eau
Chanel No 5 L’Eau, $168 for 100 ml, at Chanel beauty counters,

Congratulations on your new role with Chanel! Though we heard you’re apprehensive about life in the spotlight.

[In the new Chanel film] there’s this idea of paradoxes – you know me but you really don’t. That’s truly something I could say and an idea that spoke to me. Very early on, I had to learn to live in the public eye. I was also on social media at a young age, so people have the impression they know who I am. But I am someone who is very secretive, very discreet. I’m a homebody, I don’t go out much. More and more, I want to keep my life to myself.

And yet, you’ve pursued a career in acting. Has that always been your passion?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a bit of everything: princess, ballerina, spy, singer, actress. I was lucky that I was given an opportunity to play a scene in Tusk [the film by Kevin Smith] when I was 15. It was a fun scene that I filmed with my friend [Harley Quinn Smith], so it felt like I was playing a game, and at the same time being in this adult world with a real film crew. I loved the ambience [of being on set] and the memory stayed with me.

‘It’s a way to feel feminine, but also to have your very own identity: a scent you’ve chosen,’ says Lily-Rose of her favourite beauty must-have. ‘Chanel No 5 suits me because it’s warm, welcoming and comforting.’

And you’ve since pursued acting rather fearlessly.

I obviously have my personal doubts, like everyone, but even if I’m afraid – as you can imagine there is tremendous pressure put on you when you live in the public eye – I don’t see any solution other than to just do it.

Two films you appear in are coming out this fall, the drama La Danseuse [The Dancer] and mystery Planetarium. What drew you to the projects?

In each case, I loved the script and had a connection to the roles. I put so much pressure on myself and nothing falls from heaven, no matter what people might think. So, I find it reassuring to start out this way – a little on the fringes with smaller independent films.

Lily-Rose and her mother Vanessa Paradis.

Speaking of roles, which char­­acter in the No 5 L’Eau cam­paign is most like you?

The one where I’m having fun with the mics playing a singer. I no longer have any desire to be a singer in real life, so it was so much fun to be a pretend one.

Is there a highlight that stands out from the recent successes you’ve experienced?

Ah, [financial] independence, it’s awesome! It’s a real joy to make your own decisions in life. Knowing that I’m spending my own money, that I can travel on my own and buy things for my family who have done so much for me. It’s really empowering. And of course, working with Karl. I admire him a lot, he’s very generous and welcoming. But above all, he’s a genius.

‘It’s a way to feel feminine, but also to have your very own identity: a scent you’ve chosen,’ says Lily-Rose of her favourite beauty must-have. ‘Chanel No 5 suits me because it’s warm, welcoming and comforting.’

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