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Oct 24, 2022
Elle Fanning on ‘playing pretend’ and Paco Rabanne

Elle Fanning is the face of Paco Rabanne’s freshest fragrance, FAME.

“PLAYFUL. SENSUAL. Empowered … She’s an icon. She’s a star,” reads the press release for Paco Rabanne’s freshest fragrance, FAME. And while these notes on the perfume are accurate, they may as well be describing Rabanne’s latest ambassador, Elle Fanning.

Fanning is the new face of the Couturier’s famed fragrance — and she’s in good company amongst a storied list of Paco Rabanne muses, including Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot.

The embodiment of young, contemporary America, Fanning is as multi-faceted as the classic muses and ultramodern as ever. Accordingly, she is the essence of the FAME woman; the wearer of an olfactory signature that contrasts a trio of incense with vanilla and sandalwood — sensuality with free spirit.

Below, the actress opens up about olfactory memories, what it is like to “play pretend for a career” and what it means to be a Paco Rabanne woman.

You have been an actor practically all your life. Looking back, how has this shaped you as a person?
I get to play pretend as a career, and because I’ve been doing it since I was so little, it’s allowed me to live in my imagination. I am not afraid to dream and take risks.

Throughout your career, you have been a ghost, a Disney princess, an alien, a 19th-century author, an 18th-century empress… What is it like to slip into different characters?
No matter what kind of character I’m playing, I always try to find empathy for them. I learn about myself with each character that I play. I am currently filming season 3 of The Great, so currently
thinking about Catherine. This is the longest I’ve played any character and she has meant so much to me as I figure out who I want to be in this world.

What’s the most challenging kind of role to play? And what’s the most fun?
I think all roles are challenging in their own way. I have flipped between drama and comedy recently. Comedy certainly brings a brighter atmosphere to the on set working environment,
but the comedic timing and rhythm is incredibly challenging.

You’ve worked with many women directors — Sally Potter, Sofia Coppola, Mélanie Laurent, Haifaa al-Mansour… What’s it like to be on a female-driven set? Has this inspired you to think about directing?
I love being on set with other women. They create a nurturing environment for everyone to thrive in. I definitely want to direct and know that I will one day.

What is it like to slip into Catherine the Great’s fantastic costumes? Inquiring minds want to know!
Sharon Long is our genius costume designer on The Great and getting to wear her designs is a dream come true. The thought and care that go into each look is incredible, and I love
collaborating with her! The coronation dress I got to wear in season 2 is my absolute favourite costume I have gotten to wear.

After a day on the set, what do you do for fun? Guilty pleasures? How do you unwind after a hectic week?
On the weekends I like to go to the farmers’ market and plan a meal to cook. Cooking really calms me. If it’s a week day, after work I take a long bath and watch reality TV!

You’re not only a star, but also a fashion icon. Do you express yourself through clothes in real life?
I absolutely express myself through clothes. I go through phases and my mood often dictates what I wear.

Who are your fashion icons?
Grace Kelly, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Alexa Chung, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe.

What’s the first smell you remember?
I remember mixing all my grandmother’s perfumes together. I felt very grown up spraying perfume.

What was your first perfume like, and how did it make you feel?
My first perfume was extremely sweet. I wore it all through middle school. It was that classic teen scent and I probably wore way too much of it.

Do you ever use fragrance to get into a character?
I have heard of actors doing this, which I find really interesting. I have never done it myself, but it would be fun to make a specific scent for a character.

What does Paco Rabanne means to you as a brand?
Paco Rabanne is cool and effortless. It’s also a bit flirty and mischievous, which I love.

Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda, Françoise Hardy have all been Paco Rabanne’s muses… How does it feel to be part of that stellar cast?
It’s such an honour to be amongst those iconic women – wow!!!!

Who do you think the Paco Rabanne woman is?
I think a Paco Rabanne woman is one who doesn’t try too hard. She is natural and sophisticated.

What do like about the fragrance?
I love the scents of Jasmine and Mango. It’s so fresh and can be worn day or night.

What does the perfume represent for you?
To me, the perfume represents strength and elegance.

What would you like to say to the women who’ll wear this perfume?
Enjoy the feeling you get when wearing this unique sent. I hope it makes you feel confident and energised.

FAME’s storytelling is very Parisian. What does Paris represent for you?
Paris has always been a favourite city of mine! It’s chic and exciting. I love visiting Paris and welcome any excuse to go there!

How do you describe the campaign?
I think this campaign is mischievous and playful.

What is your best memory of the shoot?
I loved shooting outside the Paco Rabanne store. It was late at night and cold, but we had the best time playing loud music and dancing!

How do you feel about being the new face of FAME?
I love the Paco Rabanne brand and am honoured to be the new face of this fragrance. It’s a dream come true to be a part of such an iconic brand!

What is your favourite part of being FAME’s ambassador?
I try to stand out from the crowd and being the ambassador of FAME allows me embrace my individuality and boldness! I absolutely love the scent and the entire Paco team! [Source]

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Role: Catherine
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A royal woman living in rural Austria during the seventeenth century is forced to choose between her own personal happiness and the future of Russia, when she marries an Emperor.

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Examines the circumstances surrounding the case of Sybil, one of the first well-known instances of dissociative identity disorder which raised issues of identity and mental health in the public eye.


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Follows a young man suffering from epilepsy who plots the murders of his dysfunctional family.

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