Scent a Celebrity Series: The Small Sniff – Scenting TV’s Leading Ladies

The Small Sniff - Scenting TV's Leading Ladies

The Small Sniff – Scenting TV’s Leading Ladies

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

I’d be lying if I said that the Scent a Celebrity Series wasn’t one of my favourite things to write. There’s just something about the challenge of trying to match a complex personality or character with the olfactory signature of a perfume. Sometimes the choices seem obvious or easy, but on other occasions these scented picks can range from the downright tricky to the marvellously obscure. Challenging or not, the Scent a Celebrity Series intends to be a bit of light, fragrant fun.

For this latest instalment in the series, I’m taking a look at some of television’s leading ladies. Over the last few years TV has risen to match, and even surpass the quality of film, creating a wealth of fascinating and entertaining shows for hungry eyes to feast upon. This means that we’ve also seen some exceptionally real and complex female characters on the small screen too, and that is never a bad thing. In this post you’ll find some of my favourites, along with a slew of scented companions.

Julianna Marguilies as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife

Julianna Marguilies as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife

Alicia Florrick is my hero. Seriously, anyone who manages to be a kick-ass lawyer, full-time mother and fashion icon is tip top in my book. Plus, her hair is absolutely flawless. But what makes Alicia Florrick such an engaging character is not the fact that she is a “powerful” woman, it simply lies with the truth that she is a real woman, as emotionally complex and intelligent as she is strong. She makes me want to kick butt and be unashamed to feel things at the same time. In short, Alicia Florrick (masterfully played by the flawless Julianna Marguilies), is a bit of a legend.

So what scent does one pick for such a multi-faceted and flawlessly presented character? Well, one needs a complex fragrance that appears impeccably well groomed, with not a single hair out of place. A scent with a bit of strength to it, too. To me, Alicia Florrick is a Chanel kind-of-a-gal. She’s part of the social elite so needs something high-class but not over the top or dramatic. Nº5 would suit her fine, but one gets the feeling that she may feel that it’s a tad too popular for her tastes. With that in mind, I’d pick out the olfactory silk blouse that is Chanel’s glamorous Nº22. Alicia would do fine in that.

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation

Even when Amy Poehler isn’t playing the ever-perky, Leslie Knope in the soon-to-be off the air NBC comedy, Parks and Recreation, it’s pretty difficult not to love her. Amy Poehler is a funny person, whether she’s playing a giggling Hilary Clinton on Saturday Night Live or furiously scrapbooking in Parks. She’s a cool kid. Amy also runs ‘Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls’, an online community that encourages young girls to change the world by being themselves. If that doesn’t lift her up to legendary status, I don’t know what will. Anyway, that’s enough about Amy, back to Leslie Knope.

Leslie Knope is an eternal optimist who tries to rally the frankly backwards inhabitants of her beloved Indiana town into a number of hairbrained schemes to save the local park land. She is a lone beacon of sanity in a sea of madness. She also really likes waffles, like really likes waffles. Leslie therefore needs a perky, unrelenting scent with a slight gourmand edge. Nothing too sweet mind, she does have a serious streak under that fun exterior, after all. I’d pick Guerlain’s assertively perky My Insolence, which displays raspberry and almond sharpness atop a cuddly vanilla softness. Leslie would like this, I knope it.

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath in GIRLS

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath in GIRLS

God bless Lena Dunham. She’s the fresh voice of a generation who is showing a different side of what it’s like to grow up as a girl. HBO’s GIRLS, which focuses on four twenty-somethings finding their feet in New York feels like a grittier younger sister to Sex and the City, which came from the same network. GIRLS is less flippant and frivolous and deals with more realistic issues that impact the characters for more than just the 25 minutes of each episode.

Dunham plays Hannah Horvath, a character that very much seems to be a caricature of herself. Hannah is a neurotic and self-involved obsessive compulsive who wants to be a writer, but will probably never make it. It’s easy to write her off as annoying, but in truth she’s just a bit lost. Scent-wise, Hannah requires something a tad self-indulgent, something a little bit annoying, and something that doesn’t quite know what it’s supposed to be. One scent in particular springs to mind – Juliette Has a Gun’s Not a Perfume – a one  note scent that leaves one wondering what it’s all about. I think she’d appreciate how ‘clever’ and superior Not a Perfume intends to be.

Gillian Anderson as Det. Superintendent Stella Gibson, S.I.O. in The Fall

Gillian Anderson as Det. Superintendent Stella Gibson, S.I.O. in The Fall

As a young gay man I always found watching Anderson’s gateway TV series, The X-Files, a confusing experience. I simply couldn’t say who I found more attractive – Mulder or Scully. Gillian Anderson is one of the most strikingly beautiful women I’ve ever seen, and she’s also a phenomenally good actress. In The Fall, Anderson manages to demonstrate that she is the boss in nearly every situation, whilst all the time barely raising her softly spoken words above a gentle coo. She is infallible, even in the most stressful of situations, of which she faces many.

Stella Gibson could also be described as a sexually liberated character. She owns her sexuality and is not afraid to go after what she wants, when she wants it. She is seductive, yes, but she’s far more than a simple temptress. Instead she is a real woman, with real wants and needs, and no fear to go out and seek fulfilment. Scent wise, I’d pick her something intelligently sexy and with a strong personality, but not a powerhouse. I could see her in the skin-like and earthy violet of Editions de Perfums Frederic Malle’s Dans tes Bras, a perfume that softly whispers its intentions into one’s ear.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland

Claire Danes is a great actress. If you don’t believe me and require further proof of this then please go away and educate yourself by watching Temple Grandin. No further evidence is required. Her role as Carrie Mathison in Homeland, Showtime’s controversial series about the CIA and international terrorism, is a fascinating one, especially as her character certainly isn’t the most likeable or relatable.

Carrie Mathison is a frenetic energy. Hard wired to all things CIA, she is a super intelligent analyst who is addicted to her job. She also battles with mental illness and her actions are often unpredictable, and questionable. Above all she is passionate. To me, the perfect ‘Carrie scent’ would be Interlude Woman by Amouage – a chaotic blend of rich spices and fruit jellies. Interlude Woman isn’t a fragrance I’d imagine Carrie to wear, but it does sum up that intense energy that bubbles just underneath her exterior.

Viola Davis as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder

Viola Davis as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder

Eugh, can someone just give Viola Davis an Oscar already? I mean, she is utterly flawless in everything she’s in – EVERYTHING. Whether she’s playing the lead in films such as The Help, or just popping up in one scene as she did with Doubt, Davis acts just about everyone else off screen, even the Streep. In short, she’s pretty damn good as an actress, whatever role she is playing.

How to Get Away with Murder is the latest venture from Shonda Rhimes, she of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy fame, in which Viola Davis plays top Philadelphia lawyer and lecturer, Annalise Keating. At first, Keating comes across as a bit of a boardroom tour de force, demanding perfection from all who work for and with her, with very little time for errors. The truth is that she is actually an emotional wreck who is struggling to deal with infidelity. For her scent, I would pick Estée Lauder’s Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, a fragrance that displays an austere white floral outer layer, but secretly hides a softer heart.

Join the Discussion!

Who are your favourite leading ladies of TV?
How would you scent them?

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11 thoughts on “Scent a Celebrity Series: The Small Sniff – Scenting TV’s Leading Ladies

  1. I love this series and this post is as brilliant as ever.

    Not a Perfume for Hannah is inspired, Interlude Woman for Carrie is perfect and Dans tes Bras for Stella is so fitting it made me smile. Great job!

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