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'Emily in Paris' and Women in the Workplace

'Emily in Paris' actors Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu and Kate Walsh talks about the big divide between the American and French archetypes of women in the workplace


Champagnes, couture, and clashing personalities—this is Parisian culture through the lens of the romance-laden, très chic comedy series Emily in Paris. Encapsulated in the French epicenter of love and lights, the showcase punches in a plethora of corporate work clichés that exist in traditional employee ecosystems. From the average Frenchwoman’s fancy of play and pleasure to the American white-collar worker’s grind-hard, get-huge antics, the antithesis between the two brazen cultures is captured in this modern-day dramedy.

"Emily in Paris" and Women in the Workplace
Emily and Camille | Netflix


In Emily In Paris: Saison Trois, titular marketing executive Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) eventually gets sandwiched between her Chicagoan boss, Madeline (Kate Walsh), and her Parisienne superior, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu). A gem of a protégé, Emily is being absorbed by Sylvie as she withdraws from Savoir to start her wholly-owned marketing organization Agence Grateau. Deciding on a difficult choice after Madeline and Sylvie called it quits, Emily is always quick to patch things up with rather temporary and plan-lacking spur-of-the-moment solutions.

"Emily in Paris" and Women in the Workplace
Emily and Sylvie | Netflix


Lending us some insight into how stark the differences are between Sylvie Grateau’s and Madeline Wheeler’s business etiquette as leadership exemplars, returning regulars Philippine and Kate discuss how French and Americans function in the workplace, particularly women. “One of the things that I love about shooting the show, other than everything, is the French culture. There’s a sophistication [to it] and this is my perception, obviously, but there’s a level of calm and relaxed to an extent,” Kate starts off, singing the praises of the French performance.

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Speaking as a firsthand source, Kate tells Metro.Style, “There’s also a real perfectionism and incredible artisanship and expertise but it’s quieter and it’s not pushed, whereas Americans always keep working harder, and more, and faster, and ‘What else can we do? What else can we do?’” It also occurred to the 55-year-old actress that the timeless depth-over-breadth principle is a religious practice for the French folk. “It’s a little more quantity versus quality, you know, both in real life—on how they run sets—and then also, just the culture.”

"Emily in Paris" and Women in the Workplace
Sylvie and Madeline | Netflix


Appearing ensnared by the French enigma, Kate adds: “It’s a cliché—they wrote it in the show but it’s true—no one’s going to stand and eat their lunch.” In reaction to Kate’s comic remark, Philippine interjected: “No, we sit down!” Madeline Wheeler’s signature idiosyncrasy of always bringing a water bottle around is a no-no for full-fledged sophisticates and fashion stalwarts, too, prompting Kate to tattle: “No one’s going to carry a water bottle around with them like a psycho, you know?”


On the other side of the coin, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu shares her observations of the American workforce. “Something that really shocks us French is the way Americans sell themselves all the time, and we kind of call it bragging. Stop bragging!” she accentuates. “You know, it’s so normal for Americans to say, ‘I do this and I do this fantastically. I know how to do this, and this, and this!’ We never do that! We’re going to show you something. We’re not going to show it all and we kind of expect you to be surprised by how good we are.”

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At 59, Philippine seems to have nailed the subject with such ease, shedding light on why the American lifestyle is a whole new water to tread for the French and why the typical Chicagoan or American careerist like Emily Cooper behaves the way she behaves in life. “There’s this conquest thing that you guys have that is also very nice. This huge country, this land that you guys have—it has [something] to do with that [conquest]. It’s kind of nice, too, ‘cause it gives you a lot of courage, a lot of energy.”


Created by award-winning author Darren Star, the comedy-drama is a doorstep peak to the lives of Parisian people in the eyes of its protagonist, Emily Cooper. Transplanted from Chicago to the French capital in place of her pregnant bosswoman back from her American marketing agency, Emily takes on a string of whirlwind romances, workplace shenanigans, and a whole lot of walking into the far-fetched innings of fab France—all while working amidst an unfamiliar yet unparalleled work habitat that is worth going through all the grown-up trouble for: Paris.


Get to know the girlboss women of Emily in Paris and what their job titles are:


Lead photos courtesy of Netflix