How Francesca Chillemi Lives & Loves The Italian Way in NYC

How far would you go for love? For Francesca Chillemi, the answer is roughly 4,283 miles.

The famous Italian actress met her fiancé Stefano in an unconventional way: a mutual friend had a feeling they’d get along, but when Francesca DMed him, he thought it was a catfish and he ignored it. When he realized his mistake later, he flew to Rome to make it up to her and meet her in real life. They were friends for four years before becoming lovers, and now they have a beautiful baby girl.

When Stefano got the opportunity to join Diesel in their New York headquarters as their CEO, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse, and Francesca didn’t want him to. While Francesca still regularly flies to Italy to shoot, make appearances, and other various activities that are part of her career, she now officially lives in NYC. And let’s just say that the transition from romantic Italy to grunge-y NYC hasn’t always been easy.

We talked to the Italian beauty about transitioning from Italy to NYC (mentally and physically) and more.

Photos by @milli_madeleine

Can you talk to us about your decision to move to NYC from Italy? 

I met the love of my life when I was working in Rome. I was sitting with my friend and she told me about this amazing guy who she thought would be a great partner for me, so I sent him a DM on Instagram that I was going to Bassano de Grappa (where he lived) and I wanted him to show me around his town since he grew up there. He thought my message was from a fake Instagram and that he was being catfished so he never responded to me when I was in his town. He ended up investigating my authenticity and if I was real with a mutual friend. Once he found out the truth, he flew to Rome to meet me and we had a great platonic weekend together. He was very disappointed, but we stayed close friends for four years before we started we started dating and we had a daughter together in the fifth year. My career as an actress was taking off in Italy when my partner Stefano received an offer to become the CEO of Diesel USA. It was tough decision, but I always put my family first and living in NYC has been a dream of mine too. Thank God he didn’t have to move to Alabama, I heard they use ketchup as their tomato sauce at the Italian restaurants there. 

You’re a superstar in Italy, but you are more anonymous in NYC—how does that feel? 

To be honest with you, it sucks. But everybody famous is nobody in NYC, so it feels good to be equal with everyone, no matter how famous you think you are in your own head. I love to be able to walk around the streets of NYC and not have to think about what I’m wearing or who is watching me. It’s a great sense of freedom that I don’t have in Italy when I go out in public. The Italian fans who spot me in NYC and come up to me are always very respectful, kind, and thoughtful in their interactions with me. I think it’s the energy that everyone feels who steps foot into NYC. Is it true there’s a massive energy crystal under NYC? Can that be the reason? If so, let’s get a bunch of Italians together with shovels and start digging.

How did your career (and therefore, your day to day) change after moving to NYC?

My career in Italy is actually the best it’s ever been, but with living in NYC it’s made my flights increase by 100x since I have to go back all the time to shoot. I have a hit TV show on air in Italy right now that has six million viewers a week, so I have to go back often for auditions, press days, appearances, to shoot fashion campaigns, and to attend Milan fashion weeks. I love NYC, but it’s so far away from Italy. Galore can you please call Elon Musk and find out how that hyper loop NYC/Italy route is coming along? 

Visiting or moving to a new country can wreak havoc on our hair and skin, not to mention our mental health—what are some practices you’ve adopted to help you adjust?

Oh my god, you [have] no idea how much my body has freaked from the change of water, air, environment, and the pollution in NYC. I used [to] have perfect skin before I moved to NYC, and I’ve tried so many solutions like eating clean, creams, Nutella on my face (the Italian remedy for everything), DNA testing for food intolerances, dermatologists, facials, but nothing seems to give me a permanent solution. I’ve found some natural things that are helping to improve my situation, like tea tree and lavender oil applied to my skin when I have pimples. For internal remedies, I’ve been taking Perfectil for skin daily over the past couple of months and it’s amazing when I look at photos and videos from before of me without makeup [vs. after]. My skin isn’t perfect yet, but it’s 90% better than it was when I first started taking the multivitamin. For my hair, I do an apple cider vinegar/water mix rinse once a week and I leave it in for up to two minutes after I shampoo and condition it. For my mental health, I go to acting school four hours per day, five days per week when I’m not working. I also do DeRose method yoga, Pilates, and meditation when I have free time in between work, taking care of my daughter, and living my NYC life. T

Are there any Italian stereotypes that hold true for you? 

Yes, the stereotype that Italians do it better is absolutely true.

Has your style changed since moving to NYC? What do you find yourself wearing more often in the big apple?

It’s cold here for a really long time. I love wearing wool hats, big fake fur coats, and cool boots—mainly from this brand Thursday Boots.

Any health and wellness tips that Italians do better? 

Lots of family time, lots of wine, lots of passion, and lots of laughing. 

If you couldn’t live in Italy or NYC, where could you see yourself living?

I see myself living immersed in nature…maybe Costa Rica, Madagascar, Brazil, or Bali.

How can our readers incorporate a little bit of Italian flavor into their lives?

Follow my instagram @francescachillemi_ and ask me questions. I will give you the best advice…the Italian way.

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