Go-getter Emily Jackson, 28, has been hooked on the smash-hit TV comedy ever since its release this month on Netflix because the premise bears a striking similarity to her own experience.
“Not only do I share the name and career of the main character, but much of the plot resonates with me,” Jackson told The Post. “There’s a lot of clichés but some truths.”
The brunette, born and raised in Chapel Hill, NC, has lived in the City of Light for six years, summing it up as “beautiful, difficult and worth it.”
Like the hapless millennial (played by Lily Collins) employed by a snooty marketing firm in the show, she fell in love with Paris despite the initial culture shock that can unnerve ex-pats.
“When I arrived as an au pair, I didn’t really speak the language and I found the city dirty,” she recalled. “It smelled like pee in the corners of the Metro.”
In common with the fictional Emily, Jackson first lived in a so-called “chambre de bonne” — tiny servants’ quarters at the top of a fifth-floor walk-up — and got breathless mounting the stairs.
She also had the misfortune to encounter a large fecal deposit — “possibly human,” she noted — on the doorstep of the building, near the Place de la République, in which she shares an apartment with a roommate.
“I nearly stepped in it on my way to boot-camp class,” she laughed. “When I got back, there was a huge footprint in it, and the person had tracked it into my building.”
Nonetheless, learning to enjoy Paris at a slower, “non-touristy” pace made Jackson appreciate the metropolis. She became entranced by its public gardens, monuments and cosy neighborhoods.
While the TV Emily shoots adorable photos with her iPhone — fitted inside a chic, vintage camera-inspired case supplied by famous costume designer Patricia Field — Jackson invested in a $500 Canon SL1 to capture her adventures.
“It’s a highlight reel, a chronicle of my life,” said the fashionista, who favors labels ranging from Topshop to small Polish designer Bedra Vintage. The breathtaking pictures she uploaded began with views of iconic spots such as Le Jardin du Palais Royal, La tour Eiffel and L’Arc de Triomphe.
The venture paid off because she amassed 10,000 followers within two years. That figure has now more than doubled to 21,800.
Best of all, her successful foray into social media steered her towards her vocation. After leaving her au pair family, the University of North Carolina graduate was hired by a string of boutique French marketing agencies. Over the last five years, she’s promoted scores of products from artisanal candles to electrical equipment.
“I love my job,” said Jackson, who has campaigns under her belt for high-profile brands such as L’Occitane en Provence and L’Oréal. “Marketing people in Paris are in no way as mean as Emily’s co-workers. They’re very professional and would never dream of calling an American ‘Le Plouc’ [which translates as ‘the hick’] as they do on Netflix.”
Still, Parisians have their quirks. “There is a lot of necking in the street where you feel like saying: ‘Get a room,’ and the customer service is awful,” observed Jackson.
In one of her trademark witty Instagram captions, she described how a thoughtless neighbor tossed water from a kiddie pool onto her cast-iron balcony this spring. Jackson, in the middle of staging a cool post featuring lemon water, a straw hat and a book, narrowly escaped a drenching.
“If my phone, laptop or camera were anywhere near the balcony, I’d have stormed upstairs to pitch a fit,” she admitted.
Sadly, there is a dearth of handsome men — like Collins’ hunky love interest, Gabriel (played by Lucas Bravo, a native of Nice, France) — living in the apartment beneath Jackson’s.
“No such luck,” quipped Jackson, who describes the dating scene in Paris as “about as bad as it is in any other major city” due to its transient population.
She recalls one particularly disastrous encounter with a French guy who asked her out for a drink on the Metro. “He ordered tea and told me he’d gone teetotal after getting blackout drunk and biting his friend on the face so hard, he had to go to the hospital,” she said. “Then he quizzed me about my sexual preferences. I was like: ‘Oh God, I know where this is going.’ ”
While she made her excuses and left, she hasn’t given up hope of meeting Monsieur Right.
“The main reason I want to settle down isn’t so much because I want to get married, it’s that I hate dating,” she said. “I mean: ‘Make it stop!’ ”