Lucas Bravo opens up to Glass about his new film, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris

THERE IS more to Lucas Bravo than meets the eye. On first glimpse you notice his long brown hair, sharply chiselled jawline and piercing blue eyes. But beyond this Prince Charming appearance is an actor with an unwavering desire to tell stories that leave a lasting impact on his audience. For the 34-year-old, the fixation on his looks seems unnecessary, made worse by the word “model” routinely being thrown into his bio. “Anytime I see an interview it says, ‘actor and model’. But I only did two runways when I was 16 and I hated it,” clarifies Bravo. “It wasn’t something I wanted to do.”

lucas bravo 1Photographer: Arash Khaksari

Best known for his role in Netflix’s Emily in Paris, it’s not where the French actor’s career began. “I didn’t exist before Emily in Paris according to everyone,” he jokes, pointing out that after leaving drama school he worked in French television for close to a decade. This year, he is stepping up a notch with appearing in not one but two Hollywood films – Mrs Harris Goes to Paris and Ticket to Paradise.

lucas bravo 2Photographer: Arash Khaksari

Before hitting the big time as chef Gabriel in Emily in Paris, Bravo’s story is a little unusual. Born in Nice to a retired Paris Saint Germain footballer and a singer, Bravo’s childhood was spent travelling from one place to another. “I was moving a lot as a child and the only common thing was storytelling, movies and actors,” he recalls. “I was able to recognise the actors in every role, every small part. Everywhere I went I was watching movies, studying them and what they were doing.”

It was being constantly on the move that helped him to eventually become an actor, he says. “I realised that in moving a lot, I didn’t know who I was because I was always the new guy. I knew how to fit in and I recognised patterns, but in that process of being what people expected me to be, I didn’t know who I was. The first time I saw a blueprint of a character and had to research [it], it was therapeutic for me. It helped me with the same tools to search for my own truth, I guess. [Acting] became like an emergency more than a passion.”

lucas bravo 3Photographer: Arash Khaksari

Photographer: Arash Khaksari

Photographer: Arash Khaksari

What came next was drama school and then, oddly enough, a brief stint as a chef. “The first love language I had with my mother was food. In my mind food is love,” explains Bravo on how this came about. “I was bartending in this restaurant and one of the sous chefs left, so I asked if I could take his place because I knew how to cook from my mum and I thought I could learn something.” Although at the time this may have been a quick fix for the struggling actor, it would come to mirror his break-out role in Emily in Paris.

“I think it was more of a coincidence than anything, but I do believe in signs. I do believe in being present and conscious,” he says. “When I saw the script and I saw [Gabriel] was a chef and initially he was from Nice and not Normandy … I saw a lot of those signs that told me that I should take this seriously as there is an opportunity here.”

Indeed, he was right. But it’s what comes next that has cemented his presence in the eyes of the public. “I told my agent, every time there’s ‘Paris’ in the title just send me the script,” he laughs when we begin delving into his new project, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, a comedy drama set in the 1950s around a cleaning lady (played by Lesley Manville) who embarks on a journey to Paris to purchase a Dior dress with her savings.

Taking on the role of André Fauval, the trusted accountant of the fashion house and ally of the protagonist, we witness Bravo stand his ground among a star-studded cast that also includes French actress Isabelle Huppert and Brit Jason Isaacs.

lucas bravo 6Photographer: Arash Khaksari

What did Bravo learn from being around such acting veterans? “What you learn the most are the little techniques that everybody has, like the little rituals,” he says. “It’s very interesting to see from their preparation, how it comes into their performance and what’s in-between.”

It’s clear his fascination with all the intricacies surrounding a film has not muted since his childhood. “Just being on set, I still have that magic and I hope I will never lose it,” he confirms. “I’m just as much an observer as I am an actor in a scene when I’m with such brilliant actors.”

lucas bravo 7Photographer: Arash Khaksari

lucas bravo 8Photographer: Arash Khaksari

What were his rituals were for this particular period piece. “I like to pair a playlist to the character in terms of his mood,” begins Bravo. “In every scene I try to see what the character is going through and find songs for every state. Then there’s a colour. Colours have meanings so I try to apply the colour to the character. Then there’s scent. I change my habits throughout the day and make it more like my character. It’s not method acting but I like to play with my senses and to challenge them to feel something different.”

One thing’s for sure, this year will only see his profile enhanced. “I still don’t realise how lucky I am and it’s a very humbling experience” he reflects. “I think being able to travel, to feel legitimate, to work with people I admire and then to tell stories that I love is honestly the biggest highlight, not only of my career but of my life.”

Though Bravo is still exploring who he is, evolving with each character and taking nothing for granted, the reputation he is cultivating on-screen proves there is far more to him than his good looks.

by Imogen Clark


Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is in cinemas now, and the second series of Emily in Paris is streaming on Netflix


Photographer: Arash Khaksari

Stylist: Gaultier Desandre Navarre

All clothing and accessories FENDI Fall/Winter 2022 menswear

Make up: Kelly McClain using 111SKIN

Hair: Eduardo Bravo using LESS IS MORE – ORGANIC COSMETICS

Set designer: Sylvain Cabouat

Digital operator: Nathan Zaoui

Lighting assistant: Wilhelm Martin