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- Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu discussed the French reaction to "Emily in Paris" with Page Six.
- She said they "know how to laugh at other people" but "don't know how to laugh at themselves."
- Leroy-Beaulieu added that the French "don't realize" the show also caricatures Americans.
From the time Darren Star's "Emily in Paris" debuted — clad with berets, croissants, and ménages à trois — the
comedy has been bashed by many French viewers as an insultingly clichéd portrayal of their capital city.
Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, the actress who plays marketing connoisseur Sylvie on the first two seasons, isn't convinced that Star's Gallic critics understand the full scope of his latest creation.
"The French know how to laugh at other people but they don't know how to laugh at themselves," the 58-year-old explained during an interview with Page Six, published Wednesday.
She continued, "They always get hurt and upset when people laugh at them, they don't realize that Darren is also making fun of the Americans, very much — they don't realize that. They don't have a sense of humor, that's what I think."
Leroy-Beaulieu said previously that French viewers were "intrigued and disappointed" by her character Sylvie
On the first two seasons of "Emily in Paris," Sylvie runs luxury marketing firm Savoir as the titular character's boss, an elegantly dressed, uber-successful urbanite reminiscent of Miranda Priestly in 2006's "The Devil Wears Prada."
In a December 2021 interview with Vulture, Leroy-Beaulieu said she's found the French to be "intrigued and disappointed" by Sylvie, a character she said many of them misunderstand and consider a cliché. Americans, on the other hand, view the head of Savoir as a "French bitch," a stereotype she said "people love."
Throughout the show, Sylvie has dwindling patience for Emily's overt Americanness. When the two women are together, she highlights how out of place Emily appears, even after spending two seasons in Paris. But Leroy-Beaulieu told Vulture that their relationship is barreling towards a "crescendo."
"That's the whole point of their relationship. It's a 'mature feminine who's teaching a younger feminine something,'" she said, later adding, "The essence of Emily and Sylvie is profound."
Leroy-Beaulieu, 58, revealed that Sylvie was originally supposed to be cast by an actress in her 30s or 40s
While Sylvie certainly indulges some of Star's over-the-top clichés, with her wine-filled lunches and in-office cigarettes, Leroy-Beaulieu joked that even she isn't as French as Sylvie, a character she said was originally written to be a younger, 35 or 40-year-old woman.
"It's an opportunity to do things and say things you never do in life because you're never that French," she told Page Six.
And, ironically, Leroy-Beaulieu said she relates to Emily as the young woman tries to make Paris into her home. Born in Rome, the actress moved to the French city with her mother at 11 years old following her parents' divorce, she told You Magazine last December.
"Paris is not a very easy city," Leroy-Beaulieu told the publication, comparing its inhabitants to "closed shells" that make it daunting for newcomers to "integrate" themselves.
Despite Leroy-Beaulieu's French name and French heritage (her father, actor Philippe Leroy, was born in Paris), she said she "was still treated like a foreigner."
"Because I had a little accent at that time, I was hated by my peers at school — even by the teachers," she explained to You, adding, "Parisians, they're not welcoming."
Season two of "Emily in Paris" is currently available to stream on Netflix.
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