It’s Tuesday afternoon and I can smell roses. I’m in a sprawling, suede-lined suite at the Bowery Hotel in New York City, and they are everywhere. And then seemingly, out of nowhere, comes everyone’s favourite model Camille Rowe with a leopard scarf tightly wrapped around her like a blanket. “I’m freezing!” she laughs. (It’s snowing outside and she’s a California girl now, she tells me). And while Rowe’s in town as the face of Dior Poison Girl, a new take on the iconic fragrance that “was a real cultural phenomenon” when it launched in 1985 – the fragrance was so famously potent, several restaurants banned customers from wearing the tuberose-rich juice in their establishments – the interview starts with some unexpected real talk about the state of women’s rights.
The very cool (she’s oft described this way, but it really needs to be stated for the 300th time), French-born model is wearing Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirt with perfected worn-in black leather moto boots, a black blazer and skinny black pants. “It really is the best shirt in the world—especially right now,” she told me. “You know, for a while, I was really trying to be the positive girlfriend. I was all, ‘It’s amazing that it’s bringing people together because these are issues that we’ve been having for a long time, and we’re getting people off their asses.’ Excuse my language.”
Rowe was one of the 750,000 protesters who attended the Women’s March in Los Angeles on January 21st, just a day after the U.S. presidential inauguration. “It takes more than a hashtag to change the world,” she continues. “And now I’m scared. And I’m angry, and I’m upset. There’s a lot of work to be done, and there’s a lot of work we can do. There are many groups coming together with very concrete actions to take, and phone numbers to call, and people to be doing that – and people are, so that’s positive. But it’s still a very scary time. I’m constantly on the verge of a panic attack.”
It’s a powerful statement that I won’t soon forget. To hear about the rest of our conversation, as well as the magic that went into making the gourmand fragrance, which is a feminine blend of Grasse rose, vanilla tonka bean and citrus top notes, make sure to score a copy of the May 2017 issue of ELLE Canada, on newsstands mid-April.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter