She’s Emmanuelle Chriqui, a homegrown Canadian girl next door who did what she set out to do: make it in LA. To see her is to want to be her. Maybe it’s her all-natural beauty, or her cool chick vibe, or the lovable girlfriend she plays to so many different leading men but whatever it is, she’s got the kind of magnetism that attracts guys and girls alike.
These days, everyone wants a piece of Emmanuelle Chriqui, and after getting up close and personal with the star, we really get why. She’s beautiful from the inside out, so of course the camera just keeps capturing what she’s got going on. Here’s her story.
THE BRAZEN INTERVIEW WITH EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI
Randi Chapnik Myers: So you grew up in and around Toronto and here you are, starring in the hilarious new comedy The Steps, which was shot in Ontario cottage country. How did it feel to be back?
Emmanuelle Chriqui: I feel like Canadians are inherently very grounded and it has something to do with how we grew up. I grew up in a small town where we played hide and seek in summer until ten at night, and we would walk to school and walk home. It wasn’t a sheltered urban existence. It was lots of fresh air and going to cottage country in the summer, which is a uniquely Canadian thing to do and a big part of my upbringing. I’d go up for three weeks and coordinate time with friends and family.
Shooting The Steps, it was wintertime, but very cottagey and we were huddled by the fireplace at a beautiful lake house. What I loved was that we literally couldn’t go anywhere else. It was very cozy. Up north, you’re forced to get to know each other, and we had to deal with each other for almost two months. It’s part of the allure of acting. You build this family and it’s devastating when it’s over and then you realize it will be an incredible memory and you hope you’ve made relationships that will last.
RCM: You went to Unionville High, a far cry from the streets of LA. How did you get there?
EC: I’ve always known I wanted to act. I was that kid performing for everyone at every family function. By age 7, I was hooked on theatre and my love for it just grew. Acting was very serendipitous. The high school had just built a school for performing arts and they were shooting a pilot when I was 16. They auditioned the theatre kids, and I got the lead. The rest is literally history.
RCM: You grew up in a very traditional Jewish home. How did your family react to your choice of career?
EC: Most families like mine wouldn’t be the first to support acting, but I owe everything to my family. They were a faithful audience. The arts was a giant part of my parents’ social life—they were always going to the theatre, the opera, galleries. So when I showed artistic interest, they were nothing but supportive. My older brother and sister, too.
When I was first starting out, I noticed that where I came from, there wasn’t a huge market for people who looked like me. I knew I had to get out of there if I was going to go after my dream. Moving from Canada to LA made the difference. LA is huge and even more multicultural, and there are people like me. Now, I can come back to Canada and do really meaningful things, but I had to leave in order to have that opportunity.
RCM: We all feel like we know you as Sloan, E’s girlfriend in Entourage and the ultimate cool chick. In fact, you’ve played a few cool chicks now. Why do you think that is?
EC: Growing up, I was that girl in high school who was friends with everyone. I have never believed in cliques. I’m like anti-clique. So what is cool? I’d say I was born with a friendly disposition and I’m on the optimistic side (except during that time of the month) and I think people are receptive to that. It’s an essence that comes through in what I do. The camera doesn’t lie.
RCM: How does it feel to be known as a sex symbol, the gorgeous girl that every guy wants?
EC: I’d say initially, my beauty was an asset because it was my foot in the door, and then it became a hindrance. The role that made me in a lot of ways was Entourage and it was a blessing and a curse, because I was in danger of being typecast. I had to start saying no to roles because I kept getting offered more of the same. I was thinking, now is my moment to show that I can do a lot more than be the lovable girlfriend.
But roles do define actors. A woman who got her start playing a total badass will want to play the soft, feminine girlfriend, too. It’s about the role that “made” you.
RCM: What’s hard about playing a love interest? Among others, you’ve been “with” Kevin Connolly in Entourage, Adam Sandler in Don’t Mess With the Zohan, and recently, Steven McCarthy in The Steps.
EC: We’re cast a lot of the time based on the chemistry between us. That’s really important. And I have to say I have been blessed from Kevin to Adam to Steven to Taye Diggs to Lance Bass and on my new show, Shut Eye, my love interest is a woman, KaDee Strickland. I just seem to attract the most incredible people in my life and I’m so grateful because the opposite is a nightmare.
RCM: What’s up next for Emmanuelle?
EC: I’m really excited about this new TV series Shut Eye that comes out at the end of August on Hulu. It’s very unexpected, edgy, with characters that are all left of centre. I just want to continue having the opportunity to keep reinventing myself in really interesting parts. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’d like to be able to do it for another 30. The best is yet come.
THE BRAZEN FAST FIVE
1. The secret to a hot sex life?
Connection with your partner, deep soulful connection.
Chapstick, all natural.
3. Hollywood hunk you wouldn’t mind an onscreen kiss with–or 10?
What’s the guy’s name from Sons of Anarchy, the lead guy? Charlie Hunnam. He’s so hot, it’s ridiculous.
4. Best book of all time?
The Alchemist. It’s timeless and you can read it and reread it and get something new each time.
5. Three things currently on your bucket list?
I want to go on a banana boat in Northern India and on a hot air balloon in Turkey.
Before I die, I want to say I’ve travelled the entire world.
Oh, and I want to try every amazing spa in the world, too.
Don’t miss Emmanuelle in The Steps, now playing:
- Regina, Saskatchewan: June 10, Rainbow Cinemas
- Vancouver, BC: June 19&20, Rio Theatre
- Victoria, BC: July 1-3, Vic Theatre
- Cable VOD: June 15
- Digital VOD: June 28