ELLE Australia has posted a new interview with Saoirse and Lupita Nyong’o on their website! The article is part of the promotion for Calvin Klein’s latest fragrance Women. You can read the article below, and visit our photo gallery to see the new image released with it.
When it comes to inspiring women, Saoirse Ronan and Lupita Nyong’o fit the brief.
Actresses and activists, both have achieved incredible success, their roles in films such as Lady Bird (Ronan) and 12 Years A Slave (Nyong’o) garnering them serious accolades and respect within the industry—not to mention an Oscar nom. It seems fitting then, that when Raf Simons set out to find a face for his debut Calvin Klein fragrance—and the brand’s first perfume launch in 13 years—the designer tapped the pair to bring his scent to life.
Calvin Klein Women is an exploration of femininity. Described as a woody floral scent with notes of eucalyptus, orange, and cedarwood, the fragrance is inspired by the transmission of strength and inspiration from one woman to the next. Within the campaign video, Ronan and Nyong’o (who met for the first time while collaborating with Calvin Klein) each nominate the women they have been most inspired by. It’s a refreshingly empowering fragrance campaign for Calvin Klein and powerful debut for Simons.
Chronicles of Her founder and fellow CK girl Carmen Hamilton sat down with Ronan and Nyong’o to chat female role models and feminism in Hollywood.
CARMEN HAMILTON: WHO ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE MODELS IN YOUR LIFE?
Saoirse Ronan: For me, my mother. I know everyone says that but Mum and I have quite an unusual relationship. I’m an only child so we were always very close but she came away and worked with me as well. She played a huge part in my career, from the very beginning and understands how I work and how I think, in a way that nobody else does. She’s been incredible for me.
And also my mates like my friends Alex, Scarlet, and Eileen. We’ve all gone through changes together and discuss things together and work things out together. I think having a few consistent figures in your life when everything else around you is changing is really important.
Lupita Nyong’o: I think it’s really important to have both those personal and public figures in your life. In my life, definitely my mother and her sisters and my father’s sisters, so my aunts. In my culture, my parent’s siblings are considered my parents as well—so I have quite a few parents! They were a group of women that were so different and all of them were living on purpose, in very individual ways. I got a very mixed sense of ways to be a woman in this world.
My mum has taught me how to speak up and speak out. I watched her do it and I watched her lead by example. I watched her be of service to people and I think those are qualities that have shaped who I am today.
CH: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN STARTING OUT IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
LN: I’d say ‘to thine own self be true’. I think when you’re in a world where what you do for living is make-believe, it’s easy to assume that it’s an environment where phoniness is acceptable and… it is! But I think this industry is a lot more bearable when you know who you are and what your artistic mandate is because then you have a barometer, an inner compass to guide you to the things that are meant for you and are good for you. I also advise to trust your mistakes because I think we learn our best lessons from our mistakes.
SR: I would say to also trust your instincts; it’s one of the most important things, in life anyway, and it definitely is with work or something that is creative. We’re surrounded by so many people every day and it’s your job to be sensitive to that and absorb all of that.
There’s this quite unusual juxtaposition between having to be very vulnerable and open but then you also have to protect yourself and check yourself. This can’t be done on your own, you need people around you to do that with. Since I’ve grown up doing this, I’ve had such a pure relationship to the work and I’ve never been confused by that and I’ve always known why I want to do what I do. I think if you are clear about that, then you’ll be able to get through anything.
CH: WHAT IS IT ABOUT OUR GENERATION OF WOMEN THAT MAKES YOU PROUDEST?
SR: As Lupita was saying, we have the opportunity to speak up and speak out and we can be vocal. Recently we’ve been able to support each other publically, in a way that I don’t think we’ve ever been encouraged to do so before. And it’s because of the women who have come before us, who have paved the way for us; we couldn’t have done that without them and the sacrifices they made.
The rebels that came out of the past who really pushed things and tested people and shocked people, it’s because of them we are able to be in the position we’re in now. I think women are able to be creative like when it comes to the type of work they want to do, in a way they weren’t before. The fact that there are women who work in construction and there are also plenty of wonderful actresses out there and doctors and lawyers, that’s incredible and makes for a very vibrant society.
LN: Saorise covered it quite fabulously. We’re taking ourselves to task, we’re banding together and we’re making a lasting impact. That’s really powerful to see, to see that we are reaching up for each other and realising that we are stronger together. There are issues in the world that only prevail because of isolation and they can be dealt with when we come together. It’s very powerful to see that in all sorts of arenas, there’s a lot of reaching across the aisle happening.
CH: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU GUYS TO SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A NETWORK OF TALENTED WOMEN?
SR: The most important thing is to be surrounded by nice ladies for sure! I think when you’re surrounded by other people who are great at what they do, it inspires you and pushes you to do better and motivates you to want to do more. It’s a challenge, being surrounded by other people that are good at what they do because it challenges you.
Doing the awards circuit last year with Margot and Fran McDormand and women like that was incredible because they are all so great at what they do. I get to work with so many brilliant women in film and some have become really close friends. Greta Gerwig—she’s like my hero!
LN: I think it’s vital to surround yourself with people who see the best in you because it brings out the best in you. Positive brings out positive. For me, I think it’s essential to surround myself with people who enable and bolster me. A symbiotic relationship is what I’m looking for with anybody; I add value to your life as you add value to mine.
When I did the awards circuit for ’12 Years a Slave’, I met Emma Thompson who had a very very big impact on me, her outlook—she’s so playful and she’s so genuine and she doesn’t give a damn! To have that influence in a time, when everything is so pressured, it was so relieving because she just put it into perspective. It was a reminder to enjoy the moment for what it is and just let go! I was so so grateful to her.
One of my best friends is Danai Gurira, we keep working together in different ways and our relationship has grown as our creative pursuits have grown. I did a play that she wrote and then we worked together as actors on Black Panther and now she’s writing a book that I’m adapting for the screen. Janelle Monáe too, I met her at the Met Ball and again to see her grow and watch this new album of hers explode, having been there and having listened to early versions of it and just to know that she’s someone I can call upon to share both public and private moments. Those kinds of relationships are invaluable to me.
CH: WHAT DOES BRAVERY LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
LN: I want to amend it because I find courage more interesting than bravery! Courage is when you act in spite of the fear you feel and you overcome it. It takes compassion and an audacity to hope. I think for me the difference between bravery and courage is that bravery is ignoring the fear but courage is acknowledging it, accepting it and acting in spite of it, that’s more wholesome, powerful and truthful.
SR: Courage and bravery can take on so many forms, it can exist in the kitchen of a house, where a mother cleans dishes in every day and raises her kids in and no one ever sees it and she may never get congratulated for it but it’s still there.
It can be private or it can be on show and as was Lupita saying, it’s overcoming something and facing something head on that scares you but going for it anyway and trusting your instinct and following your gut. I think it’s a real act of bravery when you follow through like that.