On a whirlwind stopover in Sydney to promote the newest Giorgio Armani fragrance, Sì Passione, Vogue sat down with homegrown, Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett to talk through her most cherished fragrance memories, her best jet-lag cure, and her make-up artist's best beauty advice.
You’ve been working with fragrance for a long time now, how is it linked to confidence for you?
“You can be away from somewhere but as soon as you smell it, whether it’s in France and it’s the lavender or in Australia, for me it’s the smell of bush fires, eucalyptus and fried meat, whatever it is, but it transports you back. It’s the wonderful thing you get so bound up in what we’re doing at the time that fragrance is a real gateway to your aspirations and your dreams and the more poetic part of your day.
So how does Sì Passione differ from the other Sì scents?
“They’ve all got the blackcurrant and the oud which I really do love. But I think it’s the pepper and the pear which is so different.”
Do you ever use fragrance to transport yourself into a role?
“I’m a bowerbird, whatever it takes to unlock a door. You don’t know what it’s going to be, whether it’s an image sometimes, or it’s a piece of music sometimes, or it’s a single word on the page, or an anecdote that someone will say to you, and sometimes it’s a fragrance.”
Best beauty advice you’ve received from a make-up artist?
“It would probably be from Mary Greenwell. She doesn’t use brushes to apply anything, it’s all about layering. It’s all about the amount of moisturisers, serums and primers, and then the foundation and she massages it into your skin so what she’s doing is she’s actually waking your face up. It’s not necessarily how much of or what the product is that she’s putting on but it’s the way it’s applied. Don’t you find, if you’ve just had sex or you’ve just had a really great massage, you could go out to dinner without a lick of make-up on and people go ‘My god, you look fabulous’ because you’re relaxed.”
What’s the most outlandish beauty treatment you’ve tried?
“Sandy [Sandra] Bullock and I saw this facialist in New York, Georgia Louise, and she gives what we call the penis facial and it’s something – I don’t know what it is, or whether it’s just cause it smells a bit like sperm – there’s some enzyme in it so Sandy refers to it as the penis facial. Also, I really, really love when you land somewhere and it’s usually New York or LA and you go straight to those 24 hour Korean spas and you get pummelled by those fantastic Korean women and they rub you with what feels like a Brillo pad. You feel like a slab of meat.”