‘Emily in Paris’ Star Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu Had a Childhood in Two Acts | Kanebridge News
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‘Emily in Paris’ Star Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu Had a Childhood in Two Acts

The actress on her famous father, growing up in Italy and France, and sharing secrets with her dog

Thu, Dec 15, 2022 8:00amGrey Clock 4 min

Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, 59, is a French-Italian actress best known in the U.S. for her role in the French comedy series “Call My Agent!” She appears in season 5 of “The Crown” and currently stars as Sylvie in Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.” She spoke with Marc Myers.

Behind my family’s house in Rome was a garden. It was so large that as a child, I thought of it as a park. For me, that private setting out back in the middle of a city was magical.

The garden was my playground. It had so many different parts. There was a section with pine trees, another like a little acacia forest, and parts with wheat growing. It was a crazy garden but beautiful.

Our house was often filled with many of my parents’ artist friends, so my younger brother, Terence, and I spent a lot of time alone. I’d take my cocker spaniel, Caroline, into the garden and sit under a tree and tell her my secrets. My imagination grew.

My father, Philippe, was a very successful movie actor who made most of his films in Italy. Rome was the center of Europe’s film industry in the late 1960s and ’70s, and he was more popular there than in France.

My mother, Françoise, was initially an interior decorator, but she later designed jewelry, knitwear and accessories for Dior, where she worked for 20 years.

As a child, I thought of myself as Italian. In Rome, I was exposed to so much visual beauty that I wondered why other places weren’t as special. Italians were warm and teased me in a sweet way. I’d laugh a lot.

When I was 7, we visited my father on a set. He was in “The Life of Leonardo da Vinci,” a popular Italian miniseries in 1971. After makeup, he looked just like Leonardo in his self-portrait. I was stunned.

Because my father had a strong French accent, his voice in films was overdubbed. So when I saw the miniseries, he not only looked different but he sounded different. I’d have nightmares of my father speaking to me in strange voices.

Watching my father on set made me curious about being someone else. I came to realize that adults play at make-believe, not just children, and that playacting was a way for me to become an adult.

Then my parents divorced when I was 10½. Their separation was hard on me. My mother took Terence and me to live with her in Paris. She started working at Dior when I was 13.

The hardest part about leaving Rome was the loss of my country and identity. I had to rebuild the whole thing. In school, I wasn’t accepted as French. I didn’t speak the language perfectly and I didn’t have the same cultural references as other children. The kids were mean and called me terrible things. They often left me out. It was hard, but the experience made me the person I am, so it’s fine.

As a teenager, I began to sing in front of the mirror in my room. I’d sing songs from “Cabaret” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” At 13, I decided I was going to be an actor. I told my mother, but she was totally against it. The subtext was, “You’re not going to be like your dad.” I decided that as soon as I finished school, I’d do whatever I wanted.

After high school, I spent a year at the Sorbonne, studying French literature. While there, I had an Italian literature teacher who was fond of Italian drama. When he announced he was planning to stage Carlo Goldoni’s “La Locandiera,” I said I was in.

I was cast in the play. I took acting lessons and helped make costumes. We performed at the Italian Cultural Center in Paris. It felt very natural to be on stage.

When I was 19, I was cast in Roger Vadim’s French comedy, “Surprise Party.” Then came Judith Krantz’s “Mistral’s Daughter” and a TV miniseries in the U.S. In 1985, I had a major role in “Three Men and a Baby” in France, which was a huge hit. That launched my career.

My big break in America came during the pandemic. With the lockdown, people spent more time streaming series and saw me in “Call My Agent!” “Emily in Paris” came next.

Today, I live in an apartment in Paris’s Saint-Germain section on the Left Bank, where my parents first met. I moved in five years ago. The silence and calm make my home so peaceful.

I also have a beautiful view of the back of a neo-Gothic church. When Sunday Mass is held, I can hear singing and smell the incense if the wind is just right.

When I’m not shooting a TV series or a film, I love visiting the Fontainebleau forest, about a half-hour south of Paris. I can spend hours there walking the pathways and never run into anyone. It’s like my garden in Rome, only bigger.

Philippine’s Flips

Your role in “Emily in Paris”? They originally wanted someone 35 to 45 years old for Sylvie. I auditioned, but I didn’t hear back for months.

Why? They loved me for the part, but they first had to revise the script to make Sylvie a character who freely judges everyone.

Mom? She passed in early 2020. I treasure a brooch she designed and gave me. It’s a crescent moon with green and red stones and pendants hanging down.

Dad? I travel to Rome often to see him. He’s calmer, sweeter and softer now and very proud of what’s happening with my career.


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A new trading year kicked off just weeks ago. Already it bears little resemblance to the carnage of 2022.

After languishing throughout last year, growth stocks have zoomed higher. Tesla Inc. and Nvidia Corp., for example, have jumped more than 30%. The outlook for bonds is brightening after a historic rout. Even bitcoin has rallied, despite ongoing effects from the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX.

The rebound has been driven by renewed optimism about the global economic outlook. Investors have embraced signs that inflation has peaked in the U.S. and abroad. Many are hoping that next week the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of interest-rate increases yet again. China’s lifting of Covid-19 restrictions pleasantly surprised many traders who have welcomed the move as a sign that more growth is ahead.

Still, risks loom large. Many investors aren’t convinced that the rebound is sustainable. Some are worried about stretched stock valuations, or whether corporate earnings will face more pain down the road. Others are fretting that markets aren’t fully pricing in the possibility of a recession, or what might happen if the Fed continues to fight inflation longer than currently anticipated.

We asked five investors to share how they are positioning for that uncertainty and where they think markets could be headed next. Here is what they said:

‘Animal spirits’ could return

Cliff Asness, founder of AQR Capital Management, acknowledges that he wasn’t expecting the run in speculative stocks and digital currencies that has swept markets to kick off 2023.

Bitcoin prices have jumped around 40%. Some of the stocks that are the most heavily bet against on Wall Street are sitting on double-digit gains. Carvana Co. has soared nearly 64%, while MicroStrategy Inc. has surged more than 80%. Cathie Wood‘s ARK Innovation ETF has gained about 29%.

If the past few years have taught Mr. Asness anything, it is to be prepared for such run-ups to last much longer than expected. His lesson from the euphoria regarding risky trades in 2020 and 2021? Don’t count out the chance that the frenzy will return again, he said.

“It could be that there are still these crazy animal spirits out there,” Mr. Asness said.

Still, he said that hasn’t changed his conviction that cheaper stocks in the market, known as value stocks, are bound to keep soaring past their peers. There might be short spurts of outperformance for more-expensive slices of the market, as seen in January. But over the long term, he is sticking to his bet that value stocks will beat growth stocks. He is expecting a volatile, but profitable, stretch for the trade.

“I love the value trade,” Mr. Asness said. “We sing about it to our clients.”

—Gunjan Banerji

Keeping dollar’s moves in focus

For Richard Benson, co-chief investment officer of Millennium Global Investments Ltd., no single trade was more important last year than the blistering rise of the U.S. dollar.

Once a relatively placid area of markets following the 2008 financial crisis, currencies have found renewed focus from Wall Street and Main Street. Last year the dollar’s unrelenting rise dented multinational companies’ profits, exacerbated inflation for countries that import American goods and repeatedly surprised some traders who believed the greenback couldn’t keep rallying so fast.

The factors that spurred the dollar’s rise are now contributing to its fall. Ebbing inflation and expectations of slower interest-rate increases from the Fed have sent the dollar down 1.7% this year, as measured by the WSJ Dollar Index.

Mr. Benson is betting more pain for the dollar is ahead and sees the greenback weakening between 3% and 5% over the next three to six months.

“When the biggest central bank in the world is on the move, look at everything through their lens and don’t get distracted,” said Mr. Benson of the London-based currency fund manager, regarding the Fed.

This year Mr. Benson expects the dollar’s fall to ripple similarly far and wide across global economies and markets.

“I don’t see many people complaining about a weaker dollar” over the next few months, he said. “If the dollar is falling, that economic setup should also mean that tech stocks should do quite well.”

Mr. Benson said he expects the dollar’s fall to brighten the outlook for some emerging- market assets, and he is betting on China’s offshore yuan as the country’s economy reopens. He sees the euro strengthening versus the dollar if the eurozone’s economy continues to fare better than expected.

—Caitlin McCabe

Stocks still appear overvalued

Even after the S&P 500 fell 15% from its record high reached in January 2022, U.S. stocks still look expensive, said Rupal Bhansali, chief investment officer of Ariel Investments, who oversees $6.7 billion in assets.

Of course, the market doesn’t appear as frothy as it did for much of 2020 and 2021, but she said she expects a steeper correction in prices ahead.

The broad stock-market gauge recently traded at 17.9 times its projected earnings over the next 12 months, according to FactSet. That is below the high of around 24 hit in late 2020, but above the historical average over the past 20 years of 15.7, FactSet data show.

“The old habit was buy the dip,” Ms. Bhansali said. “The new habit should be sell the rip.”

One reason Ms. Bhansali said the selloff might not be over yet? The market is still underestimating the Fed.

Investors repeatedly mispriced how fast the Fed would move in 2022, wrongly expecting the central bank to ease up on its rate increases. They were caught off guard by Fed Chair Jerome Powell‘s aggressive messages on interest rates. It stoked steep selloffs in the stock market, leading to the most turbulent year since the 2008 financial crisis. Now investors are making the same mistake again, Ms. Bhansali said.

Current stock valuations don’t reflect the big shift coming in central-bank policy, which she thinks will have to be more aggressive than many expect. Though broader measures of inflation have been falling, some slices, such as services inflation, have proved stickier. Ms. Bhansali is positioning for such areas as healthcare, which she thinks would be more insulated from a recession than the rest of the market, to outperform.

“The Fed is determined to win the war since they lost the battle,” Ms. Bhansali said.

—Gunjan Banerji

A better year for bonds seen

Gone are the days when tumbling bond yields left investors with few alternatives to stocks. Finally, bonds are back, according to Niall O’Sullivan of Neuberger Berman, an investment manager overseeing about $427 billion in client assets at the end of 2022.

After a turbulent year for the fixed-income market in 2022, bonds have kicked off the new year on a more promising note. The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index—composed largely of U.S. Treasurys, highly rated corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities—climbed 3% so far this year on a total return basis through Thursday’s close. That is the index’s best start to a year since it began in 1989, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Mr. O’Sullivan, the chief investment officer of multi asset strategies for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Neuberger Berman, said the single biggest conversation he is currently having with clients is how to increase fixed-income exposure.

“Strategically, the facts have changed. When you look at fixed income as an asset class…they’re now all providing yield, and possibly even more importantly, actual cash coupons of a meaningful size,” he said. “That is a very different world to the one we’ve been in for quite a long time.”

Mr. O’Sullivan said it is important to reconsider how much of an advantage stocks now hold over bonds, given what he believes are looming risks for the stock market. He predicts that inflation will be harder to wrangle than investors currently anticipate and that the Fed will hold its peak interest rate steady for longer than is currently expected. Even more worrying, he said, it will be harder for companies to continue passing on price increases to consumers, which means earnings could see bigger hits in the future.

“That is why we are wary on the equity side,” he said.

Among the products that Mr. O’Sullivan said he favours in the fixed-income space are higher-quality and shorter-term bonds. Still, he added, it is important for investors to find portfolio diversity outside bonds this year. For that, he said he views commodities as attractive, specifically metals such as copper, which could continue to benefit from China’s reopening.

—Caitlin McCabe


Find the fear, and find the value

Ramona Persaud, a portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments, said she can still identify bargains in a pricey market by looking in less-sanguine places. Find the fear, and find the value, she said.

“When fear really rises, you can buy some very well-run businesses,” she said.

Take Taiwan’s semiconductor companies. Concern over global trade and tensions with China have weighed on the shares of chip makers based on the island. But those fears have led many investors to overlook the competitive advantages those companies hold over rivals, she said.

“That is a good setup,” said Ms. Persaud, who considers herself a conservative value investor and manages more than $20 billion across several U.S. and Canadian funds.

The S&P 500 is trading above fair value, she said, which means “there just isn’t widespread opportunity,” and investors might be underestimating some of the risks that lie in waiting.

“That tells me the market is optimistic,” said Ms. Persaud. “That would be OK if the risks were not exogenous.”

Those challenges, whether rising interest rates and Fed policy or Russia’s war in Ukraine and concern over energy-security concerns in Europe, are complicated, and in many cases, interrelated.

It isn’t all bad news, she said. China ended its zero-Covid restrictions. A milder winter in Europe has blunted the effects of the war in Ukraine on energy prices and helped the continent sidestep recession, and inflation is slowing.

“These are reasons the market is so happy,” she said.

—Justin Baer


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