During the Venice Film Festival, I had the honour to interview one of my favourite actresses, Blake Lively, who is the face of Gucci’s new fragrance Gucci Première.
(For the photos of the launch event, please click here.)
Blake is such a sweetheart, truly lively and very charming. She was with her boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds, on the same plane to Zurich like me and the two were sitting in the row in front of me. She remembered my name from the interview we did previously and even saw that I had changed my tights. The two were kissing and teasing each other during the whole flight. So, I was not surprised when I heard the news this morning that the two secretly got married at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, just outside of Charleston, on Sunday evening. After less than one year of dating, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are now husband and wife. Congrats to the newly-weds!
And now, please enjoy the interview with Blake:
How were you involved in the process of creating and launching Gucci Première?
I was involved, initially, in the concept of this “Old Hollywood” idea, how we would actualize this. Frida wanted to create the iconic woman and we chose the photographers and the director. I was so excited to work with them. Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott are just amazing. The sexiness shows never in body parts, it is more the expression of the mouth or the look. It is never tacky.
Nicolas creates a lack of reality almost. For the short movie, he took the “Old Hollywwood” idea and combined it with modern, futuristic music. You see a woman from the ’40s but at the same time, you hear the techno sound which makes you feel like in a different time and space. Personally speaking, it is interesting to find the juxtapostion and the balance. The fragrance has the same. The woody, masculine and strong parts combined with the feminine, floral, citrusy notes. It is profound, it is the women in her most realized sense and scent.
I didn’t get to smell the fragrance until we did the first shoot but it changed slightly afterwards again. It is for a powerful woman, who can balance the feminity and the masculinity, being the fullest version of herself. We transported that in the commercial and the visual.
The advertising campaign was shot by the famous photographer duo Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott. The short movie was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
The best piece of advice that you got from someone in the film industry?
I don’t know if I have ever got advice that would apply to me. When I did “The Town”, I asked Ben (Affleck) what was the best advice he got because he is such a talented director. And he answered that Gus Van Sant told him: “Your movie will speak to you, listen to it.”
I have noticed that the directors that listen to their movie, that let it evolve and let it be something different than what it was in the script, have a stronger outcome. In rehearsals, you have that fixed idea what it is and when you start to shoot it, it takes a different shape and form. I always try to go with my gut.
How is your relation to the fragrance? Can fragrance express your personal style as fashion does?
I think that it does. I love perfumes. It tells your story in a lot of ways. If I look back at the fragrances I had when I was younger, they were bubbly and sweet. As I got older, they evolved. At one point, I started mixing cologne with perfume because I wanted to feel that strength, be that empowered woman but at the same time remain that feminity that a woman has. That is why I love Gucci Première. The fact that it has the wood and the leather but still a wonderful softness and sweetness. It is everything that I tried to achieve when I was mixing a cologne with a perfume.
I am so proud of being the face of Gucci Première because I am not stepping in something that was around forever. It is not like I get to be the face for it until I expire and than somebody else follows. But hopefully, one day it will be an iconic scent!
Did you know Frida before and how is your relationship?
I met Frida before at a charity event for Gucci. I am impressed by Gucci’s commitment in having major fundraisers. When you start to work with them, they ask you which charities you are involved with and immediatly offer support. They want to promote and help. That was beautiful and inspiring. That is something important for Frida. She spents so much time on all her different collections, she has so much on her plate and still she is so much involved. When we shot the commercial, she was on the phone asking about the accessories I was wearing with the gown. She has got a whole team of people she trusts but still she is there. Every single step on the way, she is part of it. And you see that coming out in her details.
What is your cause?
There are many different charities I am involved in. Children are the ones I connect the most with. I started my own, went to Africa, visited orphanages, volunteered with Save the Children. It is more hands-on, not standing on a red carpet and shaking hands for the charity event. It is more about an intimate sitting down with people, always involving children.
Blake Lively framed by her parents, Elaine and Ernie Lively
Do you remember the first fragrance you wore or connected with?
It was definitely my mum’s fragrance. My mum is a strong woman, so she had a little bit of that cologne feeling, but not too musky. It is light but it means business.
Blake Lively and her two older sisters
Speaking of Old Hollywood glamour. Do you have a great tip that you picked up from one of the hair and make-up artists while you were getting ready for the red carpet, that yo use in your own life?
I really love hair and make-up. I always watch the people who work on me. I ask them about the shading and how they highlight certain parts of the face. I watch the way they do things.
My mum was very effortless, getting ready in a hurry. And whenever I take time getting ready, it is a disaster, more like a funky rooster. But when I get ready in two seconds, it is the best outfit. This is good about always being in a hurry! I don’t like to look too done. Maybe it is a good excuse not to brush my hair. I think there is something sexy and whimsical about it. Wearing a ball gown, but not having your hair in a bouffant. More of having your hair in a messy, tousled look. It just makes me feel that the night could end running bare foot through Central Park. And skipping in a fountain, this feeling of freedom. It is the same if you walk into somebody’s house and it feels like in a museum so that you cannot curl up on the couch. I prefer that lush nature.
Last year, you were on Time 100 list. How does it feel to be seen as a role moel?
That was shocking and humbling. I still cannot figure that one out. The people I most admire breath magic into real life, wether it is my mum that brings real-life fairy dust to my life. I feel responsibility to young people and the parents, especially if they let their children watch my TV series at a too young age.
Despicable characters have been easy for me to play. With TV shows, it is different, you do something bad but you might be redeemed one year later. In the movie, you get the idea why this person is so twisted, and you find empathy for this person. On my own moral campus, it feels better.
I grew up with a tight family, strong and good. I never had many challenges or temptations that I could give in to because I got an audience. My biggest guilty pleasure is chocolate.
Girlfriends: Blake Lively and Florence Welch
You are a style icon. Do you have somebody that you admire?
There are lots of people I look up to but mostly it is my mum. You can look up to people through different elements. Like Grace Kelly, who doesn’t want to be a princess? Than Audrey Hepburn, she is so fun and still so feminine with that boyish sense. Katherine Hepburn, a woman with that manly sense. Florence Welch, one of my dearest friends, who is a real life fairy. So there are different people I look to for different elements,but that one person who has got that full package is my mother.
Gossip Girl is a fashion phenomenon. What did you learn during the show concerning your own style and fashion?
I learned so much. I grew up with my mum who would make the clothes for us all the time, wether it would be for real life or a Halloween costume. Therefore I knew a lot about design because she is also a great decorator. My eye for fashion derives from an early time. But being exposed to all the designer clothes on the set of Gossip Girl, connected me even more. It was like going to the best fashion school you could ever go to. We sat down with Anna Wintour and met with the most iconic designers and were able to ask them as many questions as we wanted to. And imagine trying on that many clothes, 9-15 outfits per episode. 27 episodes per year, per 6 years, and some outfits don’t make it. So It is even more. You start to understand which cuts work, where a bias work, where you have to put the grosgrain under the dress to cinch you in.
Gossip Girl was like the most expensive master course in fashion.
Blake Lively in “The Town”
Being a glamour icon, would you also like to try a role that is shabby?
I love being dressed-up. I would wear silk robes in my house whenever. Diamond bracelets while I lounge. Anytime I can play those roles, it is me.
In the movie “The Town”, I was very rough looking. As I did Gosspi Girl at the same time, I couldn’t change my appearance the way I wanted it to be. So I had them spray my hair with brown dry shampoo for long grown-out roots. The team made the skirts very tight at my waist so that it looked like I had a roll-over because I played somebody who doesn’t have the money and time to take care of herself. I love playing characters that are different than me.
Thank you, Blake, for this lovely interview!
Photos: Courtesy of Gucci, WWD, W Magazine, Zimbio and © Sandra Bauknecht