There's something about Halle Berry's age-defying beauty that leaves us in awe. Even though some dream of looking like her, most will settle for smelling like her. Perhaps that's why the 46-year-old actress has just launched her fifth — yes, fifth — fragrance, Closer. It's unlike her former scents in more ways than one. We caught up with Berry to find out what inspired the daring yet sweet fragrance and what she wants to do next in the world of beauty.
ESSENCE.com: This is your fifth fragrance to date, and the others are a bit more floral and feminine; this one is a lot different. What was your inspiration?
HALLE BERRY: Well, this started with the name, Closer. That was a concept we wanted to create — something that would potentially bring men and women closer together. It is probably more masculine than all the fragrances because it has this fougere in it, which is traditionally very, very masculine. But then it’s balanced out with the mimosa flower, my favorite, and it’s actually in all my other fragrances. And it has a little bit of violet, and there’s a floral bouquet that accompanies this.
But I think what’s great about it is that a woman will buy it, because it is still very womanly, but it has that fougere, which maybe makes it feel very modern. And then a man will smell it and think, Wow, that smells great on you, that might actually smell good on me, too. So it’s a way for couples to share something as intimate as fragrance, which we hope then will bring them closer together by the sharing of smell and scent.
ESSENCE.com: Have you heard of any men purchasing it for themselves or borrowing it from their wives? Any anecdotal stories?
BERRY: Well, my manager wears it. [Laughs] I mean, he just flat-out wears it. I know it’s not just because he’s supporting me and he loves me. He didn’t wear all of the other ones. But this one, I think he really likes it. And I do have people who are telling me they really love it, and there are others that are trying it. [Men and women are] finding they both like it. So it seems like it will ultimately end up being maybe a shared fragrance, which will be nice.
ESSENCE.com: It seems like there was a very concerted effort to have a sexier fragrance. Even the back of the package has a guy’s arms holding you. Were you trying to make any statements about love?
BERRY: Not really. What we were trying to express there is that with this fragrance, if you’re both wearing it, then you won’t know where one begins and one ends because you become extensions of each other through scent. That’s what the packaging was really trying to suggest.
ESSENCE.com: How hands-on were you when the fragrance was created?
BERRY: One of the things I love most about partnering with Coty is they always let me be involved, and every fragrance that has my name on it is something that I really love. They help me, of course. I’m not in the perfume business per se; I am because of Coty, and they clearly know a lot more than me. But they’ve invited me into the process, and I’ve learned a lot. Each time, they are interested in what I like to say, what smells I’m interested in. I always have the final say as to what the final product is, and they are all versions of myself and versions of things I just love, love, love.
ESSENCE.com: You mentioned that mimosa was one of your favorite flowers. What are some of your other favorite scent inspirations?
BERRY: I like musk. I think musk is the base of every good fragrance and, truth be told, it’s in everything I do because it’s just undeniably sexy. And I like flowers. I’m not a big floral girl, although many of my fragrances are floral — they’re like orchids, or violets, jasmine — but I try to mix the florals in a unique way because I’m not normally a big floral bouquet person.
ESSENCE.com: This one is right on the borderline, and I know your manager wears it. Would you ever create a scent collection for men specifically?
BERRY: Maybe. If consumers and people keep thinking that they’re liking what I’m doing, then who knows? Down the road I might have a chance to do a fragrance for men. I know what would smell really good on men. [Laughs]
ESSENCE.com: So what do you like to smell on men?
BERRY: I like to smell something clear, but I like clean and earthy. So I would try to find a way to do that, and I have some ideas, so maybe we’ll see.
Get a whif of Berry's newest fragrance, Closer, at Walmart ($16).