"But I do understand what it means to be on the outside looking in. I have a perspective that you will never understand, because no, I’m not sophisticated or French, and I don’t know how to look like you. That slouchy, sexy, je ne sais quoi thing. But I am the customer that wants it. And you’re not because… you already got it and you don’t even know how you did it." ― Emily to Sylvie in Masculin Féminin
Emily grew up in a small suburban town where her mother is a math teacher and her father is a dog breeder. She graduated from college with a dual master's degree in communications and marketing. After graduation, she was promptly hired at Gilbert Group where she works under Madeline Wheeler as a marketing representative. Her cases were primarily pharmaceutical and geriatric care facilities, though she exceeded marvelously at each of her professional endeavors. In her personal life, Emily began a serious relationship with Doug, a Chicago native.
Emily's employer, Gilbert Group, acquired the French marketing firm Savoir, as part of an expansion of their international portfolio. Madeline was slated to spend a year at Savoir's Paris location to help ease the merging of the companies. However, when Madeline unexpectedly became pregnant, she sent Emily to Paris in her place. Emily's job at Savior is to advise them on social media strategy from an American perspective for their clients. She jets off to Paris for a year with dreams of what the city will be like. She has difficulty adjusting to the French way, from the way they count their floors to the language she hadn't bothered to learn. While she hopes her work life will be easier, Emily soon feels the cold shoulder from those at the company, including her new boss, Sylvie Grateau.
Emily's American point of view is quickly rejected as she struggles to earn the respect of her colleagues, Luc, Julien, and Sylvie, while doing her job. Things slowly get easier when she befriends Mindy Chen, a larger than life woman whose experience in America gives her a perspective into Emily's struggling life, and Gabriel, her attractive downstairs neighbor who happens to be a chef. When she breaks up with her Chicago boyfriend Doug, Emily grows closer to Gabriel. As her social life becomes easier, her work life spiral as Emily continues to step on Sylvie's toes - especially when Antoine Lambert takes a liking to Emily, despite being married and having Sylvie as his mistress. Emily is able to smooth things over with the feuding company leaders by stepping things up professionally, which gains her a sliver of respect from Sylvie. Now feeling empowered, Emily decides to be bold in her personal life by kissing Gabriel.
Immediately after, she learns that the sweet young woman Emily met earlier that week, Camille, is Gabriel's girlfriend. After some of the awkwardness regarding the situation fades, Emily is able to maintain her friendship with both of them, despite Gabriel admitting that he does have feelings for her. She makes a stride in her professional life, with her Instagram account taking off enough to warrant an invitation from Durée’s influencer launch party at Hotel d’Evreux. Her Instagram account creates tension with Sylvie, who reminds Emily that their clients are paying them to represent their products while Emily is advertising Durée for free. Her social account is able to win Savoir a marketing partnership with Hästen’s Luxury Beds, with her modeling for the first photo-op.
She is invited to attend a meeting with haute couture designer Pierre Cadault alongside Sylvie and Julien. She ruins their first impression with her Eiffel tower bag charm, which Pierre views as basic. This error almost costs her a demotion at Savoir, but she is able to win Pierre back with her blunt honesty, knowledge of Gossip Girl, and sophisticated delivery of her speech to him. Emily travels to Champagne, France, to Camille's family château, where Emily convinces Camille's mother Louise to hire Savoir as the marketing firm representing her champagne company. Upon returning to Paris, Emily's connection to Pierre helps her convince Mathieu Cadault, the nephew of Pierre and his business manager, to allow Pierre to donate a dress to the American Friends of the Louvre charity auction.
When the auction goes terribly wrong following a publicity stunt by an American streetwear company, Grey Space, Emily scrambles to pick up the pieces of the fallout and save her job. Pierre goes into a spiral as people call him old and outdated, a spiral that Sylvie blames on Emily. In the meantime, Emily grows closer to Mathieu and the two have a light relationship with a few unofficial dates. Emily is surprised to learn that Gabriel is moving to Normandy to open a new restaurant and has broken up with Camille.
She manages to fix her professional life by securing Pierre's location from Grey Space and helping Pierre burst into the Fashion Week scene once again. Even Sylvie admits that she is impressed, but warns that she won't be so easy on her in the future. Upon returning home, Emily agrees to let Mindy move in with her after the latter is kicked out of her employer's house for being a singer. That evening, Emily realizes that she can't leave things with Gabriel unfinished and tells him how she feels before they kiss. They sleep together but agree that they can't be together because of Camille. They say goodbye once again, with Emily planning a trip with Mathieu. In the morning, Emily is shocked to learn that Antoine became an investor in Gabriel and Les Deux Compères, so Gabriel can stay in Paris with the restaurant he wanted. Still reeling from the news she receives a message from Camille asking to talk.
Emily attempts to brush her affair with Gabriel under the rug now that he's staying. Her efforts prove easier said than done when Gabriel admits his feelings for her, all while she's set to go on a romantic trip with Mathieu Cadault.
She has a warm, friendly, caring, perky, bubbly, and open personality, which her French coworkers find typically American and are annoyed by. She is enthusiastic about what she does and enjoys her job very much. She can come across as a bit clueless. She stands up for what she believes in, such as sexism and the exploitation of women. Emily is very sociable and makes friends very easily.
- Main article: Emily and Mindy
Mindy is Emily's first friend in Paris. Mindy's experience with living in a foreign country without any friends allows her to understand how Emily is feeling with the culture shift. The girls meet frequently and primarily discuss the issue most present in Emily's life. They have become best friends who support one another in each of their individual endeavors and want the best for each other.
- Main article: Emily and Sylvie
Sylvie is a hard-as-nails woman with little patience for Emily, the American girl, sent to work for her. Along with some of her colleagues, Sylvie initially disliked Emily as she didn't speak French and sought to make changes at Savoir. They eventually formed a mutual understanding of one another.
- Main article: Emily and Camille
Emily and Camille first meet at a florist shop. Camille takes Emily under her wing to show her that Paris isn't as big as it seems. Their friendship was complicated on Emily's part due to her unresolved feelings for Camille's boyfriend, Gabriel, though Emily kept these feelings from Camille. Their friendship abruptly ended when Camille discovered Emily and Gabriel's affair during the time when the couple were broken up. She humiliated Emily in a scathing toast during her birthday party, then stormed out. Camille later had Emily removed from her family's account, citing sensitive information that couldn't be spoken in English. Emily tried multiple times to repair their friendship, but to no avail. After revealing the truth of her breakup from Gabriel to her parents, Camille had a sudden change of heart and rekindled her friendship with Emily.
- Main article: Emily and Gabriel
Emily and Gabriel first met as neighbors, though their relationship developed into a friendship rather quickly. Their flirtatious encounters furthered their relationship to a romantic one, though Emily was unaware that Gabriel had a girlfriend, Camille. Upon learning this, Emily pushed her feelings for Gabriel away and pursued other romantic interests, though the pair remained rather close friends. When Gabriel and Camille broke up and he planned to move to Normandy, the pair had sex. However, Gabriel decided to stay in Paris to open his own restaurant, which futher complicated matters, as Emily remained friends with Camille. She tried to keep their trist a secret, though Camille discovered the truth and ended their friendship. Emily kept a friendship with Gabriel, whose restaurant became a client of Savoir through Maison Lavaux. They shared a passionate kiss that was interrupted. After rekindling her friendship with Camille, the women made a pact that neither of them would ever date Gabriel. Emily ended her romantic interest in Gabriel, citing their impending expiration date when she returned to Chicago.
Emily first met Mathieu at the Pierre Cadault headquarters when she is searching for a dress for an American actress she is entertaining. He is amused by her work tendencies and agrees to allow her to represent Pierre through her marketing firm Savoir on a trial basis. He is pleased with her outcome of the evening when she photographs the dress in a new and sexy way. They began to bond over time and they eventually kissed twice. The pair were set for a romantic getaway to St. Tropez to start their new relationship, but things went awry when Mathieu overheard Emily's discussion with Gabriel. He realized she was in love with Gabriel and now him. He left her on the train alone. Their breakup greatly impacted Emily's relationship with Pierre - both personally and professionally.
- Pierre Cadault: Pierre and Emily met when he decided to take a meeting with Savoir. When he reached Emily in the line of employees, he was appalled by her bag charm and called her, "ringarde" ( basic ). He stormed out of the meeting and refused to meet with Savoir again. Emily refused to accept this and surprised him at the ballet where she was able to win him over with her honesty, heart, and knowledge of Gossip Girl. Pierre then coined Emily as Gossip Girl and insisted that she be in every meeting he took with Savoir. They formed an interesting friendship, with Emily helping him take back Fashion Week. Their friendship ended rather abruptly alongside Mathieu and Emily's relationship. Pierre refused to work with Emily ever again, instead, he started a new professional relationship with her colleague Julien.
- Julien: Julien and Emily are known to have a platonic friendship that rivals that of frenemies. At first, Julien doesn't much like Emily as she is American and different, but it doesn't take long for them to become friends after the bumpy start. They are able to bond more when she stands up to him for calling her "La Plouc" by telling her French translation app to tell him to "fuck off". Julien is surprised but impressed by her retort, remarking that he thinks he likes her. Since then, they have been in a workplace friendship.
- Luc: Luc is Emily's co-worker in Paris. He is the first person who is friendly to Emily. Also, he told her that all of the co-workers are afraid of her because they think she is a workaholic. They eventually form a friendship that exists solely in the workplace, and he even assured her after her temporarily firing that he would never abandon her. He surrendered the Maison Lavaux account to her in the hopes it would help her keep her job.
- Antoine Lambert: Antoine and Emily often have disagreements about marketing campaigns, but he is more open to Emily’s ideas than her coworkers. He once sent her lingerie as a gift, which Emily did not appreciate. She managed to keep his flirtations at bay by pretending she is in a relationship with Gabriel. She also doesn't respect that he has a wife and a mistress, thinking that both women deserve more.
- Gardienne: The caretaker (gardienne) is shown to dislike Emily. She was annoyed that Emily caused a power outage in the middle of the night and was reluctant to help Emily when her shower stopped working.
- Patricia: Patricia and Emily have little interaction due to the language barrier. During Emily's first meeting at Savoir, Patricia leaves as soon as Emily begins speaking as she does not understand English. Later when Emily approaches Patricia to discuss social media engagement, Patricia appears to be somewhat afraid of her and is horrified when Emily uses the speaker on Google Translate to talk to her.
- Timothée: Timothée is friendly to Emily. During the tour guide of the winery, he invited her to play a game that involved turning wine bottles in the fastest time. After dinner, while Emily sits by the pool, he brings her champagne and they talk about Emily's move to Paris. Later they hook up, but unbeknownst to Emily, Timothée is actually seventeen years old and not a college, or university, graduate. When Emily saw him again months later, he still harbored feelings for her and admitted they should probably move on from one another. To spare his feelings, Emily agreed and played along with his attachment.
- Fabien: During a dinner party, Emily goes to the balcony after having difficulty conversing with other partygoers due to her inability to speak French. Fabien finds Emily on the balcony and flirts with her. They strike up a conversation about their occupations. As they walk along the banks of a lake, they talk about what they like until Fabien makes a crude comment. Emily is turned off by this and goes home alone.
- Gilles Dufour: Gilles is kind to Emily. He helps Emily carry her luggage all the way to the 5th floor. He explains to Emily what a chambre de bonne is and tells her about the café downstairs that is managed by his friend. He also flirts with her and insists on asking her out, even when she reveals that she has a boyfriend.
- Paul Brossard: Paul is more welcoming to Emily compared to his co-workers. On his last day, while having lunch with the other colleagues, he sees Emily walk past and invites her to join them for a toast. He is impressed that Emily's post was retweeted by Brigitte Macron, the wife of President Macron.
- Bakery Woman: The bakery woman was somewhat annoyed at Emily for ignoring her question. However, she realizes that Emily does not speak French and tries to correct her grammar when Emily makes grammatical errors in French.
- Darren Star chose the name Emily as a loose homage to the film Amélie.
- Emily never wears the same outfit twice.
- Her French is horrible and when she does speak French, she frequently uses the wrong word.
- She frequently creates problems for herself, which could be avoidable, if she understood French culture.
- She was nicknamed "La Plouc" by her Savoir co-workers. The phrase means, "the hick" in English.
- Emily lives in apartment 501, directly above Gabriel's apartment. According to Gilles Dufour, it is a "Chambre de bonne", which is a room on the top floor of a French apartment building that was traditionally intended for domestic workers of middle-class families. Nowadays, it is generally considered to be a cost-efficient rental option for young people.
- However, there are some inconsistencies. Emily's building, 1 Place de L'Estrapade, has seven floors, hence Apartment 501 is not a chambre de bonne. Also, Emily's room is much larger than a typical "Chambre de bonne" and it includes a bathroom, which most chambres de bonne don't have.
- Her favorite peanut butter is Trader Joe's Crunchy peanut butter. She even had several jars shipped to her apartment complex, though they were destroyed in the move.
- The first lipgloss she ever "bought" was from Durée. She was actually dared to steal the product from Target by her childhood friend, Cindy.
- She is allergic to eggplant.
- She boarded her first plane at the age of twelve.
- As a child, Emily didn't like her food to touch.
- Emily's father breeds Weimaraners.
- Emily read most of the book The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir in college.
- Emily was 13 when she first tried Durée's lip-gloss, which is a product that her friend Cindy, who is now a teacher, stole from Target.
- Before going to Le Domaine de Lalisse, Emily had only been to one winery in Wisconsin, which had a paintball course.
- Emily's father is a huge fan of Star Trek and made her watch all the original episodes.