Home & Leisure

Celebrity Travel: Go Away With Emeraude Toubia

By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

Best known as Isabelle Lightwood in "Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments," Mexican-Lebanese actress Emeraude Toubia says she thinks her television alter ego would have been a great travel companion. "She would be so fun," says Toubia. "I am more of a stay at home and watch a movie kind of girl. But Isabelle would definitely drag me out of bed to explore and have a fun time." An accomplished dancer (ballet, flamenco, lyrical and belly dance), Toubia recently purchased her first home in Los Angeles. Her first post-"Shadowhunters" role is as the star of the Hallmark Channel's romantic movie, "Love in the Sun." Fans may follow Toubia's adventures on Instagram (, Twitter ( and Facebook (

Q. You've filmed on location in various places, which has been the most memorable and why?

A. My favorite so far has been Toronto. I was actually born in Montreal, Quebec, and all of my dad's side of the family still resides there. So on long weekends, I would catch a quick 45-minute plane ride and spend the weekend with my Lebanese family.

Q. You grew up in a multicultural household. Did your parents encourage you to speak any foreign languages at home?

A. I am bilingual. My mom is Mexican and only speaks Spanish. My dad is Lebanese. He speaks five different languages. I went to an English-speaking school and spoke Spanish at home. My dad did try to teach me some French and Arabic, but it was hard to keep up without much practice.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I would have to say Florence, Italy. It is such a magical place to me. I love roaming the cobblestone streets.

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?

A. That they explore outside the touristy area. Find out where the locals love to enjoy a good breakfast or lunch.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Lebanon. I went for the first time last year. It is extremely beautiful. It's known as the Paris of the Middle East.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child? And did you love it ... or not so much?

A. For my quinceanera, I went on an all-girls' trip to Europe without our parents -- only chaperones. The experience was incredible, but a bit overwhelming. Mom and dad weren't there to help me with anything. I had to be completely responsible on my own.

Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?

A. Leave sleeping for later. Go out and enjoy the city.

Q. If you could only pick one place to travel to for an amazing meal, where would you pick?

A. My favorite taco place is in my hometown of Brownsville Texas. It's called El Último Taco. The best tacos ever. I could eat them all day, every day.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?

A. Paris. Love is in the air.


Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A. Holidays are mostly spent with family. But two years ago I went to Thailand for New Year's. From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, the trip was full of smiles, food and culture.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Beirut, Florence, Jerusalem, Paris, San Miguel de Allende (Mexico).

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. I want to visit Tokyo.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Comfortable shoes, good hand cream, easy-access purse and a relaxed attitude.

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. Las Coloradas in Mexico. Beautiful pink beaches! Yes, pink! It's like if Elle Woods (the character Reese Witherspoon portrayed in "Legally Blonde") created it in a dream.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?

A. Food! I love trying all sorts of dishes -- sweet and savory.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. I do like to plan my days more or less. I search for the top five non-touristy things.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. Best memory was being in Lebanon with my mom learning about my heritage. Worst was my luggage not arriving on time.


(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)



Social Connections


Poorly Drawn Lines Rubes Working it Out Al Goodwyn Barney Google And Snuffy Smith Mutts