Maybe it was a few years ago, in a v. fashionable pastel poolside pic beside Maddie and Kenzie Ziegler.
Maybe it was when you spotted her on summer vacay with Millie Bobby Brown. Or, just maybe, it was starring on Brat TV’s Spring Breakaway as mean-girl-goes-soft Autumn alongside besties Anna Cathcart and Jules LeBlanc.
Who is she? you wondered, as Lilia Buckingham became the BFF to nearly *every* cool girl in Hollywood. She’s just…everywhere. You didn’t know her last name or how you wound up scrolling back to the year 2016 on her profile (the phrase “Why is Lilia famous?” yields 1.4 million Google search results).
But you liked her style (think California cottagecore meets Gossip Girl) and you couldn’t miss the star-studded photo shoots at her Beverly Hills house (cut to Lilia, Anna, Jules, Hayley LeBlanc, Nia Sioux and Jillian Shea Spaeder baking Christmas cookies and exchanging presents last year). So, you followed her, because why not?
At first glance, her life seems picture-perfect. A regular teen becoming besties with TV and TikTok stars sounds a little like the plot of a Netflix movie or YA book.
And, in fact, it is. Lilia’s soon-to-be-released novel Influence, co-written with Sara Shepard, gives readers a *total* insider look at the teen influencer social scene, from viral vids to dramatic breakups. (“It was the most incredible experience,” Lilia says of working with Shepard, who wrote the best-selling Pretty Little Liars series. “Those books are what really made me want to write.”)
But dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that there’s a reason so many celebs wanted to know Lilia. She has a rare, earnest charisma that puts everyone she meets under a spell (us included).
When we catch Lilia for our interview, it’s a chilly fall Friday afternoon. She’s far away from her iconic Cali home, visiting Jillian, her girlfriend back East.
Huddled up in Jill’s room, Lilia’s alternating between scribbling in her journal and fielding calls from her various work commitments, braving the East Coast cold in an oversized sweatshirt she borrowed (ahem, stole) from Jill’s wardrobe.
“I never buy sweatshirts, I just steal them from Jill or Jules,” Lilia says with a laugh, “I have maybe 700 of their sweatshirts in my closet. They’re comfier.” Like books, cozy clothes are just better when they come a little worn.
Unlike the characters in Influence, Lilia never changed under the spotlight—at least not in a bad way. Though she has over a million Instagram followers, she’s remained unapologetically sweet, honest and drama-free.
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