Did you play a specific character in the Euphoria shoot?
That was the tricky part. With any kind of photo shoot or campaign, they want to see you be yourself, but what I do at work is to play someone else. Photo shoots are terrifying. Photographers are like, “Just show me you!” and I’m like, “Oh, me? I wouldn’t be doing this. I wouldn’t be sprawled out on a couch like this. I would be in a tracksuit.”
But Francis Lawrence, a film director, did the campaign, so it was so much easier for me to sit down with him and say, “Okay, so here’s the concept. This is where you are. This is what you’re thinking.” We’re blurring the lines between fantasy and reality so you can associate things with your own experiences and you can kind of fabricate the world you’re in at the same time.
What was your first scent memory?
I remember being a kid and seeing my mom’s perfumes lined up on the bathroom bench. I was definitely aware that only older women — grown-up women — wore perfume. I was so thrilled at the idea that I was going to be grown up and be able to wear perfume, too. Whenever I smell my mum, I feel like a little kid again.
In Glamour, your Suicide Squad colleague Jared Leto said you created a scent for him as the Joker. What kind of scent did you end up creating?
I pick a scent for every character I play. Playing Jane in Tarzan, I just wore pure rose oil. I figured it was a little more earthy — still feminine but in a more grounded way. Every character has been different.
In the case of Harley, she had such an obsession with the Joker that I thought she would want to smell the way that he wants her to smell. I asked him what type of scents he likes and was going to base my perfume choice off it. But he gave a crazy answer and I was like, Okay, well, I might do something slightly different.
I read that he said the Joker would smell like brain, dirty socks, and dead fish.
That was his response, and I was like, Okay, not really the thing I was after, but, um, that’s great! I’m probably not going to rub dead fish on me everyday, so I went for what I thought Harley would like as opposed to what the Joker would like.
I decided I wanted her to smell kind of sickly sweet. I didn’t want a subtle scent at all, I wanted one that made you very aware that she’s wearing it. I went to a drugstore in a strip mall and bought really cute, tacky perfume that was so sweet it would give you a toothache. It was very Harley to me. It was cute. It was fun. It was unapologetic.