5 Minutes With: Madonna

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Photo: Courtesy of Truth or Dare

We spoke to Madonna ahead of the launch of her new fragrance Truth or Dare to find out more about the inspiration behind this scent and her take on beauty.

She’s the best-selling female recording artist in history, sure, but Madonna is nothing if not a contradiction. With her chameleon-like transformative abilities, her envelope-pushing lyrics, and her unapologetic intelligence, Madonna created a zeitgeist in the music world, spawning legions of followers, fans, and even imitators. Though she continues to make music, Madonna has expanded her purview to incorporate a range of products, including a brand-new fragrance called Truth or Dare. We sat down with the enigmatic Madonna to find out more.

Why did you decide to launch your own fragrance now?
I have always been obsessed by fragrance and for years wanted to create something personal that was an expression of me, but that other people could relate to.

What made you go with the name Truth or Dare?
Truth or Dare was inspired by the duality that exists within all of us. We live with contradictions that push and pull us. It is in this tension that we find our true selves. Truth or Dare is about daring to embrace the duality of our true nature.

How much input did you have in the development stages of the project?
I was deeply involved in every stage of the project, from fragrance direction to bottle design and merchandising. I worked one-on-one with the perfumer until the scent was exactly how I envisioned it and everything else was a close collaboration with the team until the statement was just right.

Photo: Courtesy of Truth or Dare

You have collaborated with different kinds of artists in your career, and perfumers are artists in their own right as well. What was this creative collaboration like?
The perfumer, Stephen Nilsen, and I met and tested combinations of everything imaginable. We knew what key notes we wanted to use from the beginning, but how to unite them was a challenge. We treated the project like a work of art, something that was ever-changing and evolving into a masterpiece.

When you were working on the fragrance did you ask for opinions? If so, from whom?
We spent a lot of time testing the juices on our skins, because everyone wears fragrance in a different way. It was important that those close to me loved the scent as much as I did. Lourdes was a tough critic; she’s like me in that she knows what she likes and will keep at it till it’s as near to perfection as can be. I sprayed it on friends and staff. No one escaped me.

You have a particular taste in flowers. What is special about the notes in Truth or Dare? How would you describe the fragrance?
The fragrance is a signature gourmand floral, with a blend of narcotic florals, addictive woods, and a bit of vanilla that is classic yet contemporary, and simultaneously dark and light.

What was the print ad spot inspired by?
Fabien Baron and I have collaborated many times over the years. He gets my sensibility and we both knew how we wanted this ad to look. We were inspired by dualities: dark and light, naughty and nice, sacred and sinful…

Photo: Courtesy of Truth or Dare

What is your definition of beauty?
Beauty comes from within. It’s a knowledge of one’s inner self. Beauty is what you make of yourself. Beauty is authenticity.

What is your favorite beauty tip?
Confidence. Self-awareness.

What is your beauty routine?
First, you have to take care of your body, your skin, your hair, and your overall health. Exercise and good nutrition are essential. Sweat everyday. You can’t cover yourself in products and call that beauty. You have to start with a fresh clean canvas.

Are there any products that you always carry with you?
Lip balm, face spray, perfume.

How does wearing fragrance make you feel? Have you always had a signature scent, or a fragrance wardrobe for different moods and occasions?
Truth or Dare is the culmination of the scents I prefer. For most of my life I have worn some sort of version of my favorite ingredients, like gardenia, jasmine, or tuberose.

What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Thank God I’m alive.

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