Hari Nef Will Try Anything Twice

Published March 19, 2020

Art by Jack Vhay.

Hari Nef knows a good thing when she smells it. It’s no surprise, then, that the actor, model, writer, and shoe critic has added fragrance ambassador to her already extensive resumé, as the face of Gucci Bloom Ambrosia di Fiori. Seen previously alongside Petra Collins and Dakota Johnson in the original Gucci Bloom campaign, Nef expands her olfactory ambitions with the newest member of the Gucci Bloom fragrance family. Velvety orris, used in anointing jewels in ancient Rome and Greece, lends the new scent “a sense of regal, rich, and mysterious, other worldliness and old worldliness, in a way that never feels old,” she says. We spoke with her to learn more about this new aromatic endeavor, and pulled some queries from Glenn O’Brien’s 1977 interview with Andy Warhol for good measure—in the words of Hari herself: “Shout out to Glenn.”

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MARK BURGER: What’s the ideal event to wear this perfume to?

HARI NEF: I would probably wear it to a party in a graveyard.

BURGER: What people from history do you think would be wearing this perfume?

NEF: Catherine the Great, Hildegard Von Bingen, and maybe Cassandra from the Oresteia, who was right, but no one believed her.

BURGER: What is your beauty secret?

NEF: Nothing good ever happens after 3:00 A.M.

BURGER: What is your favorite flower?

NEF: Jasmine, one of the keynotes of Gucci Bloom.

BURGER: Well, what a coincidence! What do you like to wear for a night out?

NEF: Something dark that exposes my décolletage.

BURGER: Do you remember your first encounter with perfumes?

NEF: It was probably in seventh grade. My mom took me to Sephora and let me go at it. That was a time in my life where I was starting to recognize that I could communicate a sense, or perhaps the growing sense, of who I was through things like fashion, film, music, and art. When I discovered fragrance, I found a way to do that in a more visceral way. I could communicate my feelings about myself and about the world through a physical confrontation with someone by getting right up into their noses in a very sci-fi way. Fragrance has the uniquely strange and personal capacity for that visceral transference that is usually reserved for, I think, the more accessible plains like clothing or makeup. It’s showing instead of telling. It’s fundamentally kinky, this whole fragrance business.

BURGER: Did you get good grades in school?

NEF: Yes.

BURGER: Did they say you had natural talent?

NEF: Yes.

BURGER: What was your first ambition?

NEF: To be a firefighter.

BURGER: Who was the first person to influence you?

NEF: My grandfather.

BURGER: Do you go to the movies a lot?

NEF: Yes.

BURGER: What did you do for fun when you were a teenager?

NEF: I rode in the passenger seat no matter where the car was going.

BURGER: Do you think the art world is dead?

NEF: No.

BURGER: Who do you think is the world’s greatest living artist?

NEF: Ryan Trecartin.

BURGER: Do you think that people should live in outer space?

NEF: No.

BURGER: Would you like to live in outer space?

NEF: I’ll try anything twice.

BURGER: Do you think the future may be futuristic?

NEF: No, not at all.

BURGER: Do you like to work?

NEF: Yes.

BURGER: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

NEF: Watch movies.

BURGER: What was the last movie you watched?

NEF: Made in Hong Kong directed by Fruit Chan.

BURGER: Do you know how to drive?

NEF: No.

BURGER: Do you wish you knew how to drive?

NEF: Yes.

BURGER: What time do you get up in the morning?

NEF: I can get up any time, whenever I need to.

BURGER: What’s the ideal time to wake up?

NEF: 8:30am.

BURGER: What do you do in the morning?

NEF: I check my phone for emails and then maybe text messages. I’ll have a coffee, and then brush my teeth. Then I’ll eat something, hopefully, before I take my pills.

BURGER: How much time do you spend on the phone every day?

NEF: Anywhere from zero to 180 minutes.

BURGER: Have you ever been in love?

NEF: Yes.

BURGER: Do you believe in the American Dream?

NEF: No.

BURGER: Do you think there should be any censorship?

NEF: Not exactly.

BURGER: What do you notice first on a woman?

NEF: Her legs.

BURGER: What do you notice first on a man?

NEF: His voice.

BURGER: What is your favorite color?

NEF: Brown.

BURGER: Pepsi or Coke?

NEF: Coke.

BURGER: What’s your favorite smell?

NEF: Gucci Bloom Ambrosia Di Fiori.