Ten Minutes With Actor Jamie Dornan, The New Face Of Boss The Scent
As I roam through the marbled hallways of Claridge’s in search of the right room, my palms are sweating even more than usual. I’m about to talk to arguably the hunkiest Hollywood dreamboat who also happens to be the new face of Boss’ The Scent Private Accord, a chocolate-infused spicy interpretation of the the original 2015 fragrance. We’re talking Jamie Dornan here, the actor that evokes gasps whenever mentioned. A week prior to the interview, I’ve been sharing these exciting news with all of my friends (read: anyone who would listen to me), and the big majority of reactions included unapologetic swooning and invisible clutch-grabbing. Even if I weren’t nervous before, all this tension made me rethink all of my questions neatly written on a piece of paper and doubt my fashion choices for the day.
And so, with wet palms and an oddly oversized mismatched silhouette, I walk into the right room. There he is, sitting at the couch and smiling ear-to-ear. He’s wearing a light knit in that perfect shade of gray which, if worn by me right now, would look more like a camo-printed jumper. Is this what people say by ‘fanboying’? Or is it just really warm in this hotel room? I brush my hand against my beige trousers (big mistake, huge!) and extend it as a hello. As soon as I do, Mister Dornan says “You smell really nice.” Wow. A handsome man that is also the ambassador of a perfume and the face behind my favourite TV villain just told me I smell nice. Yes, I’m definitely fanboying right now. But as we both sit down and I try to pull myself together by reverting back to those notes that aren’t so neat anymore, we delve into a conversation about all the smells surrounding us. The good, the bad, and the ones that bring back memories. And no, despite a strong urge coming from deep down inside, I didn’t ask if there will ever be another season of The Fall.
Dino Bonacic: Firstly, congrats on this great role as a face of a perfume! When it comes to your personal journey of fragrance, what is the scent that you connect with your youth? It doesn’t have to be a perfume necessarily, but a kind of a smell you remember strongly.
Jamie Dornan: I grew up right by the beach in Northern Ireland, outside Belfast. It’s maybe not the sort of beach that you conjure up in your mind when you think of a beach, but it’s quite a lovely one. That smell of the sea, the ocean, no matter where I am in the world still just takes me home instantly, and makes me feel very serene and happy. But fragrance wise, it’s the hand-me-downs from my dad that I used to wear. Back in the 1980s and 1990s when people weren’t that much into fragrances yet, with men particularly there wasn’t much choice. A lot of men used to wear Old Spice, or Brut…
DB: Back when it was called cologne then?
JD: Yeah, that old school cologne. And men didn’t really had beards then. They were clean-faced and I just remember my dad would finish shaving and then slapping his cheeks with cologne. People just don’t do that anymore… Now it’s all spritz-spritz. But I love that classic manly thing of the shave and then [slaps his cheeks]. I’ve done that once.
DB: Did it hurt?
JD: Painful, it’s crazy! I don’t how anyone does it. It’s almost like they’re braving themselves…
DB: Like a rite of passage in masculinity! This kind of association of fragrance with a particular moment in time – is there any in life that you wish you could put in a bottle?
JD: I think people have actually tried to put a version of the ocean in a bottle, but it would be cut grass for me. Who doesn’t love cut grass, I would love a little spray of that!
DB: What would the bottle look like and what would the name be?
JD: Oh wow… I don’t know if I could come up with something!
DB: Maybe just ‘Cut Grass’ – but in French?
JD: The bottle would be shaped like a lawnmower!
DB: A bottle shaped like a lawnmower? I feel like you’re onto something. Maybe you should pitch it to Hugo Boss?
JD: You think that’ll be a top seller? We could have like the man with a lawnmower and the women’s will just be woman with the lawnmower [laughs].
DB: The new Boss ‘The Scent’ talks about living in the digital world, experiencing scent in the physical world, and the duality of the two. Do you think that our primary senses have changed since since social media entered our lives?
JD: Essentially no, but I do think that there has been an expansion of our senses. The way we respond to people has developed since creating our online lives, but I think the core rules of seduction and sensuality, I think they need to be tangible. You need all of the senses to be there in their truest form rather than on a phone or laptop. Maybe I’m old fashioned.
DB: There is an interesting point of actually communicating about a perfume in a digital way when there isn’t smell-a-vision –
JD: Not yet!
DB: Yet – exactly. When it comes to imagining something in a digital way and then experiencing it physical way. Is there anything that for you, kind of translates between the two?
JD: I just think they’re so separate. The idea of attraction through virtual reality, social media or online is just so different from attraction in person and picking up on someone’s scent and touch. I don’t think it can be replicated, so I sort of think of them as being separate, without any crossover.
DB: Yeah, completely. Is there a scent in your daily life that you think is intriguing in its physical sense?
JD: For me it’s my kids. They both individually very much have their own scents. They’re only tiny little girls, they’re not wearing any deodorant or perfume. But there’s toys that they have at all times and sometimes if they leave them behind it’s so powerful to pick one of their little cuddly toys up and it feels like you’re being cuddled by one of your kids. It’s an incredible feeling.
DB: That’s amazing, this power of the scent and how the physical perception of it interacts.
JD: It’s incredible how they can evoke emotion, you know… I was on the tube last week and there was an older lady there. As she walked past me, I realised she smelt exactly like my grandmother who died eight years ago now and it instantly brought me back – I saw my nana there.
DB: On a completely, opposite note – is there a smell that you absolutely can’t stand?
JD: Yes! It’s hard-boiled eggs.
DB: Not soft-boiled?
JD: Soft-boiled are not as bad, but the longer the boil, the worse it smells. I make them pretty much everyday of my life for my nearly five-year-old before she goes to school, and often in the car on the way to school she would eat them and I have to have all the windows down, no matter how cold it is. I’m always trying to get her to eat them before we get in the car, it’s only an eight minute journey and I’m always saying “Eat them before we get in the car – Daddy can’t take it!” [laughs]. But it takes a long time to get kids ready for school so sometimes she ends up having them in a little Tupperware box in the back of the car and she unleashes them so it stinks… But, anyway, she loves them so I don’t mind.
DB: It’s quite sad that you’re forced to deal with them every single day.
JD: I don’t mind eating them, oddly enough. I’m a bit funny with eggs, but that would be my worst form of egg. I can get through it, but can’t get passed the smell I have to eat it with my nose closed.
DB: It’s also different when you’re eating them and when some else’s eating, as the scent seems so much stronger when you’re not experiencing i yourself.
DB: But back to a scent that includes a bit less yolks and a bit more cocoa – what does it mean to be a male beauty ambassador in today’s world? How do you interpret it as an actor and as a father of two children?
JD: I think the less you think about it, the better. In a way I don’t really see myself as an ambassador of male beauty but if Hugo Boss see me as that, I will try to fulfil that role as best as I can. It’s a hard thing to quantify and it’s very subjective how people feel good about themselves and how they give themselves confidence through clothes or through the way they smell. But it’s cool to be associated with a brand who have been doing this very well for a long period of time, and who already have a great audience and track-record of putting out good product. It makes my job a wee bit easier to come into something that’s already a success story and I do feel privileged to contribute to that in a small way…
DB: Not that small! Thanks so much, we’ve got two more minutes but these are all my questions done…
JD: I mean we can just chat…
DB: Sure! How were the hard boiled eggs today?
Boss The Scent Private Accord For Him and for Her are available at Debenhams.