Gloria Calderón Kellett’s With Love follows siblings Lily (Emraude Toubia) and Jorge Diaz (Mark Idelicato) as they navigate family, careers and, as you can guess from the title, love. But when season two rolls around, the hopeless romantic Lily switches gears and is all in on focusing on self-love, growing her business as a makeup artist and possible homeownership. Love still manages to get in the way— for better and for worse— and she finds herself in a love triangle.
“I feel like I relate to her so much,” Toubia tells Los Angeles Confidential ahead of the June 2 season 2 debut on Prime Video. “Navigating love, how messy is that? Trying to deal with family expectations, societal expectations… There's so much that people want from us. What do we want from ourselves? Every character is just going through [it.] It's a bigger roller coaster. Everyone starts from the bottom and they're paving their way to see what they want from life.”
With Love shot season two over the course of three months in Los Angeles, managing to capture for the screen its idyllic Portland setting. Toubia notes how great it is to be able to go to work and come home and sleep in your own bed, especially when it takes seven days to shoot an episode.
The star also points out how like her character Lily, she was processing a breakup.
“It kind of just bled into my personal and professional life,” Toubia shares. “It's always challenging, right? Because you always want to speak the truth, and no matter what kind of character you're doing because you want to make sure people believe you, believe what you're feeling. But overall, the show is so fun. It's hard to see it as a job.”
Read more below from our conversation with Toubia about season 2, her new horror film and how she was inspired by Lily to be more adventurous.
On Instagram, you posted about how the same camera filters that were used to film Scarlet O’Hara were used to film you. What was it like to shoot that scene?
That scene is in episode one. It's in a church scene and Lily looks back at Santiago and that's exactly where that filter was used. And our DOP Steve Gainer… just recently curated The Godfather exhibition at The Academy Museum, [particularly] the camera and lenses that were used for the film. So he has access to all these beautiful things, and it's just crazy to me how something can last for so long, and how a lens for a camera that was used many years ago is now used today for a completely different scene.
You also posted when you were in the middle of shooting your favorite episode. Why do you consider it your favorite?
My favorite episode is episode three, which is Lily’s doble quinceañera. She does a really fun bucket list— or we can say f***-it list. So she goes on this journey with a very special person. And this very special actor did something for the first time ever. Let's just say he had nothing on, absolutely nothing on. It was a really fun episode and I kind of incorporated that into my daily life. My girlfriend and I do a thing called an “Adventure of the Month.” So she chooses one and I choose another and it's to hold ourselves accountable to when we say we want to try something new. And we always say, “Oh I want to try this restaurant,” and months go by, years go by, you never try it. Or you want to try a new, different kind of workout class. We did aerial yoga, we did pole dancing, we've done pasta-making class. We've done so many fun things. [It’s something] that I incorporated from the show now into my life that I really enjoy.
You’re currently the only Latina leading a TV rom-com. Does that add pressure or does it mostly fuel your work?
It's a little sad, in a way, that is currently happening. But it's a responsibility to just keep doing my best and keep championing other women that are in my position to make sure that they get doors open so they can have the opportunities.
What do you like most about Lily?
I love just how imperfect she is, how messy she is, how she struggles and this is just me and my girlfriends. And it just really resonates with how life isn't easy and how our family and society paint this picture-perfect story on how life should be, how you're more valuable if you're married and…how you should have kids by a certain age and be successful, but don't be too successful to push men away. And it's all these things that unfortunately we constantly have to deal with, so I just love that she's living through that and experiencing that and challenging herself to make it better and prioritizing herself, hopefully, for once.
Watching the show, especially Lily, is a nice reminder that we are all always trying to figure life and ourselves out.
No matter what. We're gonna keep constantly trying to figure it out, but let’s not get lost in the darkness of it, right? Let's just be a little bit more present. I like to always think about what surprises the world is gonna give me, the universe, is God going to give me. And that is what keeps me going and keeps me curious about life and just to see what's next.
You're getting ready to start filming the horror film Rosario. What are you excited about for that project? It seems pretty different from your previous roles.
I started off doing sci-fi and a bunch of action, superhero vibes and this romantic comedy, very light-hearted and fun show and now to horror. I've never done horror. I'm just so grateful that I get this opportunity to dive into the dark and deep world of whatever I can bring to the character. I'm the type of girl that I don't really like watching horror films unless I'm watching it with a significant other, a cute boy right and you could use that as an excuse to cuddle and be together. I'm the type of girl that I turn off the lights and I run to my room when it’s dark. It's gonna be just a fun adventure, a new challenge and I'm really excited. I'm also executive producing it, so I’m really excited to be giving my notes on the character and where I think the story needs a little bit of help and how I can add my perspective on certain situations that are happening on the film and having my voice be heard. It's really nice to be a part of it and both leading the movie and executive producing it.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Sarah Pardini