Emily in Paris has a life that many of us dream of, but for Andrada Popa the plot of the Netflix show is pretty much her reality.
Andrada, 25, and Emily Cooper’s most glaringly obvious similarity is their housing.
From January until just a few weeks ago, Andrada was living in the same apartment building as Emily even referring to herself as the character’s ‘downstairs neighbour’.
While Andrada was always a viewer of the show, she never realised the significance of the apartment until she was already about to sign the contract.
For €1250 per month, Andrada lived in the filming location and fully-fledged tourist attraction. The apartment is currently being sub-let as she didn’t plan to still be in Paris now, but she is likely moving back in after the summer.
‘It was actually my dad’s friends who told me about the place, as they live downstairs. They said to me, “It’s in some show. I don’t know the name. Amelia in the city or something.” It took me a minute, but it suddenly clicked,’ she told Metro.co.uk.
‘I looked up the location of the flat and the set – it was a match. I found it funny. It wasn’t what convinced me to get the flat though, I was already sold on it. It was just a fun fact.’
She may not have been convinced to rent there because of its Netflix connection, but other people commit to making the journey to Place de l’Estrapade – the square where the apartment is located.
‘Every day from around 10 am to 10 pm there are people gathered in front of the building taking photos and videos,’ she explained.
‘People will often try to follow me into the building to take photos inside too. They are harmless, so I let them do it.
‘However, some of the older residents who’ve lived there pretty much their whole lives can get a little frustrated.
‘I even get accused of not living there. I suppose I do have the stereotypical Emily in Paris fan look. Although, you’ll never catch me in a beret – that’s too cheesy.’
She gets accosted so much by fellow residents that she has adopted a unique tactic.
‘Whenever I’m leaving the building or coming in I try to carry something that says I belong there. It’s usually a bin bag. Why would a tourist have one of those? It’s silly I have to do that, but I got so fed up with being questioned.’
She also points out another major inconvenience – something viewers of the show will know about already.
‘Like most older buildings in Paris, there aren’t any lifts. I have to walk up four flights of spiral stairs every day,’ she told us.
‘It was particularly tough on the day I moved in with a 20kg suitcase. Whenever my family and friends come to visit they can’t believe that’s what I have to do.’
It’s not just tourists in Paris who are fascinated by Andrada, who often mistake her for Lily Collins, who plays Emily, and ask her questions about how she came to live there, but also social media users from all over the world. She has over 20k followers on both TikTok and Instagram, with videos focused on her living situation getting millions of views.
Andrada who is from Romania, but then moved to London before settling in Paris earlier this year has found that her life now mimics Emily, which is particularly fascinating for outsiders.
‘It’s honestly crazy how much we have in common. Sometimes I feel like they wrote the show about me,’ she explained.
She then ran us through a list of these life parallels: ‘Like Emily, I also work at a luxury marketing firm. My French is a little better than Emily’s, but my boss has occasionally told me to get better like Sylvie [Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu] does in the series.
‘There is also a chef that lives in the building.’
In Emily in Paris, the lead character has a romance with the ‘hot chef’ Gabriel [Lucas Bravo] who lives one floor above her.
‘I once locked myself out of my flat in my PJs and he made me a cheese board for breakfast. He is married though.’
Emily is dating Alfie, played by British actor Lucien Laviscount, in seasons two and three, and Andrada excitedly told us ‘I’m dating an Englishman too’.
‘Also, like Emily’s best friend Mindy Chen [Ashley Park], I competed earlier this year to represent my country at Eurovision and previously did Junior Eurovision.
‘People watching think that Emily’s life is a bit ridiculous, but it’s not that ridiculous because it is my life.’
However, not content with living a similar life Andrada is now ‘manifesting’ a part in the show.
‘I am waiting for the day Netflix say: “Hey, we’ve seen your videos. Do you want to be part of the show?”
‘I’ve studied musical theatre, so I have that performance part of me. It was my whole life until marketing.’
While Andrada was only planning to stay in Paris for a few months she has fallen in love with the French capital and plans to stay a little longer (yep, just like the show).
‘Paris has this magic about it,’ she explained.
‘I’ve never been so content, and that’s not what I was like before moving here. I was always anxious, and thinking about the next thing. Even when something goes wrong or I’m having a bad day, it feels okay because I am still in Paris.’
Doesn’t sound like Emily or Andrada are leaving the city of love any time soon.
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