When many actors reach the level of fame and recognition that Lucas Bravo achieved with his hit role as Gabriel (a.k.a. “hot chef”) on the Netflix sensation Emily in Paris, one expects to see Bravo everywhere. In the three years since the show catapulted him to fame, he’s starred in brand campaigns, walked in a Paris fashion show and acted alongside Julia Roberts in a rom-com (no big deal), but for Bravo, the projects he chooses isn’t for fame and the spotlight, instead, everything comes down to his love of acting.
The 34-year-old French actor is the face of Persol‘s Fall/Winter 2022 campaign, which explores different film genres over the years through different eyewear. “I didn’t see it as modeling. I’m never very drawn to commercial work or branding and if I have to do it, it always has to be connected to a cinematic environment,” Bravo exclusively tells GRAZIA USA. “When Persol came to me with this proposition of exploring different eras of cinema with storytelling, it’s pretty interesting. I just don’t like the idea of portraying myself. I’m not comfortable enough with that, but when you’re portraying a character, it’s a completely different game. You’re playing someone as opposed to just getting naked.”
In the photos and video, Bravo models eyewear styles like frames inspired by ‘60s cinema, a spy-fi pair and ‘70s-inspired unisex pilot glasses to name a few. He plays a writer whose script is inspiring scenes shown throughout different eras of filmmaking. There’s also a love interest (what good movie script doesn’t have that?) played by English actress Sophie Cookson.
“I like the fact that Persol is an iconic brand that lasted for a long time, but they reinvented themselves recently,” Bravo says. “It’s always good to see such an iconic brand not just follow trends, but come up with strong new ideas, evolving over time.”
Bringing the brand into a new chapter is why he “couldn’t say no” to the campaign. “It’s just such an honor to think about all the people that wore Persol or were in campaigns with Persol and what it represents,” he says of brand’s history. Persol has been associated with some of the biggest movie stars over the past 100 years, including Marcello Mastroianni, Steve McQueen, Jude Law and Bradley Cooper.
“[Persol] is very much implanted with the cinematic universe that’s drawn me to this industry in the first place, so it’s such an honor to be a small part of it,” says Bravo.
After posing for Persol, he made another memorable modeling move by walking the runway during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris for designer Louis-Gabriel Nouchi. If you’re wondering if a transition into fashion is in store, don’t get your hopes up. That was a “one time thing,’ says the actor.
“[Nouchi] is actually a childhood friend, and he called me and he was like, ‘Listen, I know this is not your cup of tea, but I would love for you to open my show. I think it would be fun. People wouldn’t expect it,'” Bravo shares. “It was based on American Psycho, there was like a cinematic touch to it and I’ve been in the phase — when something terrifies me, I just go towards it because I think it’s an indicator of where you have to go, and where you have to work on things. So I said yes, and I couldn’t take it back.”
The only other time he modeled was when he was 16, but it “terrified” him. “I didn’t really like that,” he says. “The atmosphere of fashion was very sensitive, so everything was very cold and it felt very unpersonalized.” This time though, he “had a fun time.”
The idea of slipping into different characters is what attracted him to acting in the first place. “I was traveling a lot because my [father] was a soccer player so we would go from one town to another and I had to invent myself every time,” he shares. “It kind of became a pattern. I needed to be a chameleon in order to fit quickly into a group dynamic before we would move again, so I would just grab a little love and validation and just enough to to build my personality. It kind of became natural for me to slip into a character. There was a duality of just understanding who I really was, but at the same time it was a fun game to play, which grew into a passion and a job later on.”
Just like his approach to storytelling through campaigns, he sees his role as Gabriel in Emily in Paris as one that brings a touch of reality to the cast of characters. “What I really want for Gabriel — even more than his romantic storyline or friendships — I’d really like to use him as a platform to spread a little awareness about the climate. I’m a vegan and in season 3 Gabriel slowly used more vegetables and more organic cuisine at his restaurant. I have a few jackets on the shows that are made from very [eco]-conscious materials. I know it’s about entertainment and escapism, but he’s the character on the show that is working class and pretty down to Earth.”
After the most recent season 3 finale, viewers were left with a “will they, won’t they” cliffhanger between Emily (played by Lily Collins) and Gabriel, which is one that’s been toying with fans’ emotions for three seasons. For Bravo, his hope is that both characters just end up being happy, which sometimes means being alone.
“Sometimes you don’t really need to be defined by the presence of someone else,” Bravo shares. “I’m in love with the idea of falling in love so I’m always a hopeless romantic. The way they met and the things they went through, I of course I want them to have a happy ending and I’m always rooting for love. The rest is for [creator] Darren Star to decide because he’s the genius behind all the stories that keep us on the edge of our seats. I know that he will give us the satisfaction of a lovely ending.”
While he can’t announce his next project just yet, Bravo is doing his best to live in the moment in the meantime. “I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible, and not giving it to my demons,” he says. “I’m trying not to listen to [thoughts] that say, ‘It’s not going to last or I’m not good enough’ and trying to enjoy it because it can end the same way started overnight. It’s one of the most beautiful jobs in the world, so if I don’t enjoy it, I’ll regret it later. I’m very lucky and privileged and I’m trying to honor that privilege by just having as much fun as possible.”