Charlize Theron on Femininity, Peter Lindbergh and Fighting the Good Fight
We sat down with Charlize Theron to discuss Dior’s new L’Or de J’adore fragrance and the J’adore woman’s ideas on femininity and what it means to fight the good fight.
“Christian Dior used to say that his models represented all the women in the world. Thanks to the intact magic and the power of J’adore, I dared to imagine that I, in turn, was taking possession of all the flowers in the world — with all the audacity, the extravagance and the rigour that are the signature of the Dior spirit”, said Christian Dior Parfum’s perfume creation director Francis Kurkdjian in the press notes for L’Or de J’adore, the newest flanker to the series.
Celebrating its 24th birthday this year, the fragrance has undergone several iterations over time with each of perfume creation director paying their own homage to its origins while injecting their own personal twists. On top of the core of L’Or de J’adore as “gold melted down to retain only its purest essence”, Kurkdjian’s interpretation promises a new depth and meaning to the Dior classic.
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L’Or de J’adore stays true to thE DNA of the original perfume — creamy rose, heady jasmine and fresh white lily of the valley — but there is something magical about how Kurkdjian has injected a mood reminiscent of bathing in sunlight, subverting the elegance that J’adore is known for. Pruning the notes of orange blossom for its soapy-cleanness instead of using its sticky sweetness, one spritz of L’Or de J’adore brings to mind the visage of glowing sun-kissed skin.
“A new sensuality, immediately appealing. A J’adore that is rounded and attractive, like a bared shoulder”, confirms Kurkdjian, in part referencing the accompanying Charlize Theron campaign reprising the South African star in her full goddess-like glory.
Below, Theron herself takes us through what femininity means to her, the late Peter Lindbergh and fighting the good fight in the polarised world of today.
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You have been the face of J’adore for more than fifteen years now. You have become an important part of the history of this House, you are one of its “heroines”. How does that make you feel? How would you describe the evolution of your relationship with the House?
I feel incredibly honoured to have been with Dior for 15 years. They have become family to me and I share many great memories and experiences with them. Dior has been there with me every step of the way.
Our relationship has evolved over the years, and it’s been such an enjoyable journey to have this ever-changing creative relationship with them.
Tell us what inspires you about the House of Dior and how this relates to your love of fragrance, health and beauty?
The House of Dior is inspiring through the way it constantly commits to not only empowering women but also making them feel beautiful and confident in their everyday lives through their products and social initiatives.
I love being able to get dressed up and feel good about the way I look, the way I smell and the way I feel. Having Dior in my arsenal helps me achieve that every time.
What are your main memories when Dior beauty comes to mind? What is the best memory?
I’ve had so many great experiences working with Dior over the years, but one of my best memories has to be working with the late Peter Lindbergh. He was such a gentleman and an absolute master of his craft. We had such a blast shooting the Dior campaign together.
It’s times like those I cherish as part of this work — the laughter on set, the creative synergy — I am so grateful for the times we shared through this partnership.
Another fond memory that comes to mind is our collaboration between Dior and my foundation, CTAOP, through our Dior Chin Up campaign (2020 and 2021). It was so inspiring to see the incredible women Dior brought together to share their stories and to be able to hear from women all across the world from various walks of life, not just public figures or those in entertainment.
What are some of your favourite Dior beauty products?
I love my J’adore perfume, obviously. But I’ve also added the new Prestige la Crème Haute Réparation into my skincare routine and I love how it makes my skin feel. And then when I feel like going out, my go-to product is the Rouge Dior Forever lipstick. I love a bold red lip!
Did your role as a Dior ambassador have an impact on your personal development and on your work as an international actress?
Working with Dior definitely expanded my world and opened doors for me in ways I could never have expected. I’ve gotten to see and experience some amazing things in the world through my work with Dior, and the people I’ve met along the way have enriched not only my personal life but have provided deep professional and creative relationships that I’ve carried with me over the past 15 years.
I’ve gotten to work with the best of the best directors, photographers and designers, and those relationships and the things they’ve taught me have had a profound impact on my work as an actor.
What is being feminine in 2023? What does it mean?
For me, it’s whatever makes you feel confident and strong in who you are. The things that empower you and make you feel like you can get up and take on your world. Strength and courage are powerful and ooze femininity.
What do you think has changed about the J’adore woman over the years?
She’s evolved, grown and matured on this journey of life to get her to where she is now just as we all have. I know I have!
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What was your first impression of the new l’Or de J’adore? What does it make one feel?
Intoxicating. It makes me feel luxurious when I’m wearing it, and it’s sensual. You can really smell the flowers without being able to pinpoint one or the other. It’s very rich, balanced and incredibly well executed. It’s like the purest bouquet and brings immediate pleasure.
In a fragrance, do you look for notes that evoke a memory or new sensations?
I love scents that are familiar to me or remind me of certain memories or locations, that’s always comforting. But I also really enjoy trying new scents that aren’t necessarily tied to memory but feel exciting and different.
You are very committed. A great number of causes seem important to you: combating AIDS and sexual violence in Africa, defending women’s rights and same-sex marriage, etc. Where did you get this from?
One of my earliest memories as a child was riding with my mom as she would drive her employees to the hospital right as the AIDS crisis was taking hold in South Africa. I saw the empathy and care my mother had for these people, and I’ve never forgotten it.
When I got to a place where I could really give back, I felt the need to use my platform not just to promote change and awareness but to lift up those people who are fighting the good fight on the ground and amplify voices of the people experiencing these hardships.
l’Or de J’adore will be launched online come 28th August or in-stores from 1st September.