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Last Saturday, at ATX TV Festival in Austin, we sat down with Emeraude Toubia, star of Prime Video’s With Love. The actress chatted with us about her character Lily Diaz, the wedding ring cliffhanger at the end of season 1, and where things are going for Lily in season two of the show both in life and in love with Santiago and Nick.

We also talked about her plans to keep putting Latinos front and center with her production company and how showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett has created a fantastic collaborative and creative show environment. 

From Shadowhunters to With Love

If you were a fan of the Freeform fantasy series Shadowhunters, then you are likely familiar with the name Emeraude Toubia. The actress played Isabelle Lightwood in the show adapted from the YA book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Her work bringing the shadow hunters to screen earned her several Teen Choice Award nominations and a ton of praise.

With Love- Emeraude Toubia
Pictured: Emeraude Toubia as Lily Diaz in With Love (Image Courtesy Amazon Studios)

In With LoveEmeraude Toubia is Lily Diaz, the show’s lead. She’s been praised by critics and fans alike for her charm and charisma in the role. And from our interview, she has big plans to tell the type of stories with a lot of impact. 

What is With Love about?

With Love is a romantic comedy series created by Gloria Calderón Kellett that premiered on Prime Video in December 2021. It’s a cross-generational love story that primarily follows the Diaz siblings, Lily and Jorge Jr. (Toubia and Mark Indelicato), as they navigate love, relationships, and their careers. Each episode is tied to a holiday and often the internal and external expectations that come with that. 

With Love is groundbreaking. It’s the only show currently “on tv” with a Latina lead, and it has been heralded for its portrayal of love and relationships that aren’t swimming in sadness and trauma. The show is joyous but complicated, and that’s the fun of watching – it’s reminiscent of iconic rom-com like Legally Blonde and My Best Friend’s Wedding.

With Love on Prime Video
Pictured (L-R): Emeraude Toubia as Lily Diaz, Rome Flynn as Santiago Zayas ((image Courtesy Amazon Studios) 

In addition to Toubia and Indelicato, the cast is filled with talent. Rome Flynn is Santiago Zayas, Desmond Chiam is Nick Zhao, and Vincent Rodriguez III is Henry Cruz. Adding to the acting talent is Isis King, who stars as Sol Perez, Todd Grinnell as Dr. Miles Murphy, Constance Marie as Beatriz Diaz, and Benito Martinez as Jorge Diaz Sr.

An exclusive interview with Emeraude Toubia

[Editor’s Note: There are mild spoilers ahead for season 2 of With Love. This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.]

Ayla Ruby: “So the end of season one, everyone seemed to kind of be in a different place in their relationships. Can you talk about what’s going on for Lily? Does she seem to be happy in season two because things seem different in the trailer?”

Emeraude Toubia: “So Lily starts rock bottom. I mean, she’s 29, she’s moving back in with her parents. The worst place you want to be in at that age, you feel like failure.”

Ayla Ruby: “Yeah.”

Emeraude Toubia: “And now it’s like, what does she do with her life now? And sometimes, she’s a little oblivious. Sometimes she’s a little, you know, dumb-dumb like they say. And, you know, sometimes Lily’s like, okay, she hits rock bottom. And I feel this is only going to make her stronger. She’s going to find out what she wants for herself, stand up for it, and be vocal about it.”

Ayla Ruby: “Okay. Lily has a realization at the end of the last season that kind of her parents’ marriage wasn’t perfect, and that’s okay. Does that mean anything for her moving forward? Does that, you know, impact her?”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah, I think it puts things into perspective. It lifts a weight off her shoulders that now she can kind of analyze things and take her time and not necessarily rush into things because those are the steps that you need to take in life.”

“I loved a line that Gloria Calderón Kellet said about who says it has to be in that order, fall in love, get married, have kids become beyond these [unintelligible]. It doesn’t have to be in that order. You can do it in different orders. Like society puts so much pressure on us that we’re more valuable because we’re married because we have kids, because we have successful jobs. No, it’s like, what are the rules that we set for ourselves? What makes us happy? And that’s what we need to live with.”

Ayla Ruby: “Have you learned anything from Lily? Has Lily become part of you?”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah. I mean, like, of course, you learn so much from your characters. I mean, in this particular case with Lily, she’s a little bit more optimistic, right? And she lets life surprise her. And I love that.”

“I incorporated her little bucket list into my day-to-day life. Me and my girlfriends do a little thing called Adventure of the Month. So we hold ourselves accountable because we say things like, “Oh, I want to go to that restaurant, or I want to try that new yoga class or aerial,” and so you never do it. So now it’s like, no, everyone chooses a thing, and we have to do it that month. And if not, like there’s no butts. You have to choose one. So it just helps us enjoy life, be a little bit more present, a little bit more grateful, and try different things.”

Ayla Ruby: “Is there anything with that bucket list that you’ve been surprised by or that you really enjoyed experiencing?”

Emeraude Toubia: “So much, like, cooking. I tried a pasta-making class, and I also loved it. I did aerial yoga, and I was like, oh my God, I want to fly. I want to be like this acrobat now. I’ve done race car driving.”

Ayla Ruby: “Oh wow.”

Emeraude Toubia: “We’ve done like we’re splattering paint and the glow-in-the-dark paint. It’s just, more than anything, realizing that when you make the time for something, you make it happen.”

Ayla Ruby: “Gotcha.”

Emeraude Toubia: “You know, because there’s always excuses, and it’s BS. Excuses, you know, can find the time to do anything.”

Ayla Ruby: “Do you think there are parallels to that with Lily? Because so much of her arc and her story seems to be about making these decisions and making her life her own?”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah. Yeah, I mean, she’s navigating through it, right? It’s not easy. And she’s learning. She’s learning. I think she made a decision. She makes a really big mistake. But I think sometimes we have to make those mistakes to realize what we really want, and we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.”

Ayla Ruby: “So, why do you think this show is important? Obviously, there are so many amazing messages, but what really stands out for you? What like-“

Emeraude Toubia: “Well, to me, really what stands out is the fact that it’s like such a beautiful show. It’s so elevated. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing like that on television right now. And it’s bringing traditionally marginalized people finally have a happy ending.”

Ayla Ruby: “Yeah.”

Emeraude Toubia: And it’s such an inspiration for Latinos to see ourselves in that light because it creates inspiration and hope. And for non-Latino people, it creates awareness and a connection.”

Ayla Ruby: “Yeah.”

Emeraude Toubia: “So I feel like it’s really important to have shows like this out there so people could really relate to us and see how fun and how beautiful it is. And we’re not just one type of person because we’re not. That’s not true.”

Ayla Ruby: “Yeah. I know the critical response has been amazing, but, you know, the first season has been out for, for a little bit. Have people come up to you and told you that the show is meaningful? Have you had-“

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah. Whether now it’s like social media, right, that nonstop messages on how incredible the show is. And I feel like as a young girl, I dreamed about being in front of the camera and the glitz and the glam, but then you come to realize that’s the least important thing.”

“The fact that you can touch so many people in different ways, but you’re acting. So it’s a huge responsibility. Like, Lily is fun and joyful and all these things, but when she hurts, that’s when I really push myself to make sure that I’m conveying a very genuine emotion to know that it’s okay. She hurts. You can hurt too.”

With Love: Cast
Pictured (L-R): Gloria Calderón Kellett (Showrunner, Executive Producer, Gladys Delgado), Emeraude Toubia (Lily Diaz), Mark Indelicato (Jorge Diaz Jr.) With Love (Prime Video)

Ayla Ruby: “So, you mentioned earlier, Gloria Calderón Kellet, and I’d like you to talk about your relationship with her if you can.”

Emeraude Toubia: Yeah.”

Ayla Ruby: “Have you learned any lessons from her? Has she given you any advice?”

Emeraude Toubia: “Oh, absolutely.”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah. She’s been… just this; she’s just an incredible person. She wears so many hats. She is my favorite character on the show.”

Emeraude Toubia: “She holds our hand. She took us all under her wing. She’s created this incredible safe space to be on set, to ask questions, to give suggestions, to feel free to play. Sometimes you’re on a show, and everything’s so rigid; everything has to be A, B, and C by the books. And Gloria’s so open to hearing you and understanding what’s going to make you and the character feel better. So collaborative, and we need more people like her in Hollywood.”

Ayla Ruby: “And I think it really comes across in the portrayal because, you know, Lily is so joyful, and you are so joyful in it.”

Emeraude Toubia:Yeah.”

Ayla Ruby: “So family and finding yourself are key themes in this show. Did you do anything with your streaming family to bond and feel close to each other?”

Emeraude Toubia: “It was just inevitable. I mean, we came together, and we really vibed. Great people, great people. So grateful to be working so blessed. And we take our jobs seriously. We take other people seriously. We respect our space, and it’s just working with professional actors that have a heart, and it’s been really nice.”

Ayla Ruby: “Is there anyone you’re particularly close to or that you really got along with well?”

Emeraude Toubia: “I mean, everyone, I really get along with Desmond [Chiam]; he’s incredible. Him and his wife are amazing. Every time I see them, we, like, I’m in New York, and they’re there and so on and so forth. They’ve come over to like trivia night at my house. I feel like I’ve connected with Desmond and Constance Marie, also. I remember, you know, the movie Selena was such an icon for girls like me growing up, and she was-“

Ayla Ruby: “She was her mom.”

With Love Beatriz and Jorge

Emeraude Toubia: “She was playing J-Lo’s mom, and then now she gets to play my mom. So to me, it just feels like a full circle. Another full circle moment for me like; I would’ve never imagined while I was watching the J-Lo, Selena to now be working with her when I was doing the press junket that I got a little emotional talking about it because it’s just I feel so blessed to be doing what I do.”

Ayla Ruby: “Yeah. She, she’s a legend.”

Emeraude Toubia: “She is.”

Ayla Ruby:And kind of, I guess, a little bit along that same line, so I think I read on your Instagram that there was a particular lens used in Season 2 that-“

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah, Scarlet O’Hara. [Vivien Leigh]

Ayla Ruby: “Yep, exactly. And it was this little box with technicolor on it. Can you talk about that or share how that happened?”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah, so our DOP, our Director of Photography, Steve Gainer, he is part of the DOP… he has some special insights for all the cool stuff. He’s part of like Academy Museum. He’s a curator for the Academy Museum, and he has all these incredible gadgets, and he just brought this in one day, and he’s like, I’m going to use this on you. I was like, okay. So it’s the shot where I’m in church, episode one, and I look back to Santiago. So you guys know, that’s the scene that the filter was used in.”

“And to me, it’s just, wow, you think of the beginning of Hollywood, right? And it’s the golden age of Hollywood, and that little thing was used then. Here we go 50 years later, and we’re using it now. Right? So it’s just a beautiful thing that, in a way, humans come and go, but things stay forever.”

Ayla Ruby: “Yep.”

Emeraude Toubia:I don’t know, it was just incredible that something used on someone so legendary was also used on me.”

Ayla Ruby: “It’s a great connection to the past.”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yes, it is.”

Ayla Ruby: “So there was a wedding ring at the end of season one. You know, there was a mystery with it, who it belonged to.”

Emeraude Toubia: “Right.”

Ayla Ruby: “Do we find out in season two? Any more details about it?”

Emeraude Toubia: “About the ring for that? From season one?”

Ayla Ruby: “Yes. The ring.”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah, you’ll have it in episode one. You’ll find out absolutely everything. You’ll find out who it’s for, who’s getting married and the final wedding at the end.”

Ayla Ruby: “Okay. So Nick and Lily had some closure at the end of the last episode there. It seemed like the end of a relationship, but he’s back.”

Emeraude Toubia: “He’s back. And he’s back. And-“

Ayla Ruby: “Can you talk about that? (Laughing).”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah, I mean, Lily’s going to have a love triangle between Santiago and Nick, and she’s going to have to make a decision because sometimes deal breakers aren’t deal breakers anymore.”

Ayla Ruby: Oh, interesting. So I also noticed that you started a production company and you had some producing experience with, I think, Holiday-

Emeraude Toubia: In Santa Fe. “Yes. With Mario Lopez. Yes.”

Ayla Ruby: Yeah. Can you talk about that at all?”

Emeraude Toubia: “Yeah. Well, more than anything, I mean, I want to create beautiful shows that resonate with me, that have powerful, not always powerful, but have female leads. Stories that I haven’t seen told with girls like me. More than that, I feel like so many people have opened the doors for me, and I want to create opportunities open doors for others. So to me, that’s more than anything, create stuff that keeps having Latinos front row and center.”

Ayla Ruby: “Do you ever see yourself behind the camera directing or just?”

Emeraude Toubia: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I have been a little directing. I directed my sizzle. Yeah, I think a mix of both is also amazing.”

Ayla Ruby: “Oh, that’s exciting. Well, it was wonderful to meet you.”

Emeraude Toubia: “So nice to meet you. Thank you for being here.”

Ayla Ruby: “I’m excited about season two. Thank you so much, much.”

Emeraude Toubia: “Thank You. Yes. Watch it this weekend. It’s important.”

How to watch With Love starring Emeraude Toubia

You can watch all six new episodes of season 2 of With Love now on Prime Video.

What did you think about our interview with Emeraude Toubia? Are you excited about With Love? Join the conversation with us on Twitter @MyCosmicCircus or our Discord.

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Ayla Ruby

I am a writer and interviewer based somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant. I love all things nerdy - but Star Trek and Spiderman have special places in my heart. Find me at @TulinWrites on Twitter. And visit my other website for more reviews and interviews:

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