Zoë Kravitz On Being The Face of A Fragrance As a Woman of Colour
Zoë Kravitz met with us at the YSL Beauty Hotel in SoHo, New York City to fete the launch of the new Black Opium Intense fragrance.
“My Grandmother, my father’s mother, wore a lot of perfume. She was the first person I knew who had a collection of fragrances. She had all these atomizers—you know, the glass bottles with the ball. I remember putting on her clothes and pretending to spritz myself. It felt like what an adult person does. She was a classy lady.
“I first smelled Black Opium on a woman I know at YSL; she came to an event I was at and I hugged her, and I was like, ‘What is that?’ I started wearing it all the time. This was way before they asked me to be the face of it. I just loved the scent. I like that it’s not too masculine or too feminine, which is the whole vibe of Saint Laurent to me. It’s a wonderful partnership because I don’t have to pretend that I like the products, and they haven’t tried to change me in any way to fit what they are trying to do.
“It’s a huge honour to be the face of a couture fragrance as a woman of colour; I don’t know if I’m the first, but I know that it’s a rarity. When you think of classic fashion houses, you don’t think of women of colour. Especially with fragrance—which is a big deal as a lot of money is there. The fact that it has taken so long to trust a woman of colour in this position is kind of sad, but it’s also amazing that we are finally here.
“To apply fragrance, I just spritz and do a walkthrough; I feel like that’s always the safe way to go. On the skin, sometimes it can get a little intense. Other than perfume, I love the smell of fresh air (like when you’re somewhere with a lot of trees), burning wood and freshly ground coffee. I always try to travel with the same incense—I like Nag Champa—or candle. When it smells the same everywhere you go, I feel like you can trick your senses into feeling like you’re at home.”
YSL Touche Éclat Glow Shot ($40); YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum Spray Intense ($117 for 50 mL); Nag Champa Incense ($6.95 for 100 sticks).
This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.