Hari Nef Chats About Gucci Bloom and Going Blonde


Actress, model, artist, writer, star of the new Gucci fragrance campaign and newly minted blonde Hari Nef is staying busy—to say the least. Happily, Nef took some time out of her schedule to chat with us about the new Gucci Bloom fragrance—”It’s classic, pretty, sinister, off-beat, inclusive, aloof, alluring, sophisticated—and her thoughts on the ongoing debate between blondes and brunettes. There’s also a quick digression on the ethics in Lil Mama’s seminal bop “Lip Gloss.”

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Nef having her makeup done for the Gucci Bloom campaign shoot.

Courtesy of Gucci

Let’s talk about Gucci Bloom. Does the fragrance invoke any sweet memories?

Bloom always conjures up the summers when I was a kid and a teen. My beautiful New England summers. I used to go to Nantucket a lot with my family and there would always be a lot of flowers and flora there. It evokes something idyllic and pretty and very beautiful and calming, but there is also a sense of the town in that wilderness, the bookstore and the vintage shop. The out of the way places. Gucci Bloom never lets itself get away with being too pretty and too ideal or too perfect. There is this dimension to it that transports me somewhere most luxury fragrances aren’t trying to transport me.

Courtesy of Gucci

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Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum For Her, $94, sephora.com

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What was the first fragrance you bought as a teen? Did you have a signature scent?

I actually got my first fragrance at an outdoor bazaar on a family vacation to Egypt. There were all of these different oils named after different Egyptian Gods. I got this one called Isis. It came in a little bottle with this little sticker on it of Isis, which is the goddess of destruction. I obviously was really into her fragrance. It was just like a weird Egyptian fragrance that I just kind of found. I don’t remember what the notes were specifically, but I started wearing it.

How do you apply your fragrance? Are you a double-wrist dabber? Walk me through your application strategy.

This is my fragrance secret. Spray it on the pressure points under your earlobes, where your jaw connects to your skull—it’s always really warm there. Warmth and heat bring out the notes of the fragrance to the fullest extent. When I started spraying it there, I found that people told me I smelled good for longer.

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I do spray double wrists. There’s an old wives tale I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to rub them together because it sort of disturbs the integrity of the fragrance. I do double spray, but I don’t touch. I let the reaction happen on my skin, undisturbed.

You recently went blonde, and have been for a just about a month now. How are you liking the hair transformation? Are you having more fun?

My friend Amy Rose said that being blonde is like having a literal spotlight on you at all times. I love that. It does sort of feel that way sometimes. There’s definitely more attention from men, whether for better or for worse.

I think blondes have this legacy of conventional beauty and conventional sex appeal and conventional prettiness and I think entering that has sort of allowed me to lean into parts of myself that aren’t necessarily conventionally pretty or beautiful or feminine and kind of feel more comfortable about those things.

I feel like it gives me a wider breadth of self-expression because my vehicle, so to speak, is “prettier” in this more sort of historically acknowledged way.

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How are your brunette fans feeling?

My brunette fans are feeling betrayed by this transformation. I have to remember my brunette past as I forge bravely onward into my blonde future.

Listen, there is always a dialectic between blondes and brunettes. David Lynch explains this rather well in Mulholland Drive, which I recommend.

Right, I feel like we can have a number of conversations of the blonde and brunette dynamic and it’s social impact. Betty and Veronica, Kim with blonde hair versus Kim with black hair, Jayne Mansfield and Sophia Loren.

Exactly! Yes, books can be written.

Has your makeup and beauty routine changed with blonde hair?

It’s definitely a different color palette. I”m not sure if the exact changes have become so explicit to me at this point. I’ve been feeling the impulse to wear darker colors, to sort of offset the brightness of my hair. The dresses that I felt comfortable in or the clothes that I felt comfortable in before now can of make me look like a sex bomb in a way that sometimes I’m into and sometimes I’m not so into.

I feel like I’ve inherited this new legacy that I have to kind of continue in this really weird way. I feel like Marilyn is watching over me at all times.

I also feel like all women need to go blonde at least once just to know what it feels like. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just a different perspective.

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Do you think all blondes should go brunette once, too?

Oh, yeah absolutely. I really think we can expand our collective consciousness of women if we just you know take on the various hair colors of our sisters. I think we can bridge gaps.

Obviously hair is very political and people need to deal with their hair the way they need to deal with their hair. I think variety is the spice of beauty and your need to try a lot of things to figure out what works. I don’t really have a strict place on beauty. I’m 24, I’m still trying everything. I take little things from every new experience.

Now, I have to ask. You recently tweeted about Ms. McClarkson’s character in the “Lip Gloss” music video. Can you please expand on your current theories regarding Lil Mama’s jam?

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Honestly, Ms. McClarkson is a really, really irresponsible public educator who humiliated this poor girl in front of the whole school, just so she could figure out what kind of lip gloss she was wearing. That is a very irresponsible way for an educator to act.

My friend actually told me a similar story about how she wore lipstick to school and it was against her school’s dress code so she got called to the office and the principal said, “You can’t wear this lipstick to school anymore, but, like, what shade is that though?”

These are real issues in our community that we need to be addressing.

But yeah, honestly, Ms. McClarkson should have just given Lil Mama an award instead of calling her to the principal’s office. But you know, I think Lil Mama had the last laugh because of her hit lip gloss.

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Lil Mama came out on top in the end, so all is right in the world. Thank you for pointing out Ms. McClarkson’s terrible teaching methods.

Ms. McClarkson is a beauty traitor. She obviously harbors some kind of shame about her interest in beauty and her students’ ability to express themselves through beauty.

I think our educators need to take a more liberal approach to beauty and acknowledge that our students go through some of the same things they go through when it comes to physical appearance. As long as there are understanding and empathy we can all hopefully be our most beautiful selves.

Leaving Ms. McClarkson in her classroom, last question on a more serious note: You kept a bit of a low-profile this fashion month, besides Gucci of course, what made you want to stay away and what have you been up to recently? Are you working on any exciting projects you can tell us about?

Truthfully, I’m keeping a low-profile because I’m gearing up for the reveal and release of so many projects outside of the fashion arena for next year. I’ve shot two films this year that I can talk about: Assassination Nation and Maplethorpe. I’m in the process of shooting a television show right now called You.

I have another top secret project that’s super personal to me where I am using both my background in writing and in acting. I can’t say too much about it yet. But truthfully fashion has given me so much and provided such an amazing home and has been a launching pad for my work and my ideas, but my big shift this year has been returning to who I am as an artist and a maker. Next year I’m gearing up to show people some new sides to myself and some new components to what I want to do and how I want to communicate my point of view.

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It’s nice to disappear, hopefully people miss you, and then you come back with some new stuff. I really am trying to double down on my work as an actor and dive head on into this new chapter in my life. I’m so excited to share all of this stuff. This is what I want to do and I’m super happy to be doing it.

Petra Collins, Dakota Johnson, and Nef in an image for Gucci Bloom.

Courtesy of Gucci



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