Natalie Portman’s rise to Hollywood stardom is nothing short of a fairytale. With a Golden Globe, Academy Award and a Harvard degree to boot, Portman’s profile is abound with intimidatingly admirable accolades – one of them being her decade-long relationship with luxury fashion house Dior. Despite these lofty achievements, the actress is anything but arrogant, her kindness and warmth radiating through our Zoom call.
Aside from being an award-winning actress, the seasoned star is also known for her timeless elegance and selfless demeanour. This did not go unnoticed by Dior, who tapped Portman as the face of Miss Dior Cherie in 2011. She was filming for her Black Swan at the time. Now, as Portman films for her upcoming role in Thor: Love and Thunder in 2021, the actress fronts the latest Miss Dior fragrance campaign. Much like the fragrance itself, the campaign’s short film is bursting with unadulterated joy and love amidst hedonistic fields of flowers.
The classic rose top notes pay tribute to former Miss Dior fragrances, with Portman describing this latest iteration as more romantic and floral. “It has these woody undertones, which keep it feeling grounded, wild, and in touch with nature”, Portman adds. Created by master perfumer François Demachy, the new Miss Dior is based on the Centifolia rose and powdered down with notes of iris. An enveloping peony adds a sensual touch. The fresh, floral scent is all at once approachable yet intimate, echoing the sentiment and goal of Christian Dior when he first envisioned the Miss Dior fragrance. “Make me a fragrance that smells like love”, he famously declared.
Portman’s flower frolicking outfit of choice is a stunning couture dress designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri. The pleated silk dress took over five hundred hours to craft by hand, featuring millefiori flowers that were painstakingly embroidered, hand-painted and then printed onto the dress. Portman explains how the dress was one of the first couture pieces she’s worn that she can really run and move in. “I think she [Maria Grazia Chiuri] really understands how a modern woman wants to move and live, and her clothes reflect that. I think she understands that a woman wants to be active and feel powerful and express joy even when wearing couture.”
Having worked with the house for eleven years now, Portman has witnessed the evolution of Miss Dior first-hand. Fragrance is but another means of self-expression to Portman. “My first memory of getting a perfume was when I was twelve years old at my first film, Léon. Jean Reno gave me a gift at the end of it: my first bottle of perfume. I remember clearly that it just made me feel so grown up. And I think it’s always such a scent of being a lady, and being glamorous that perfume can give you.”
Portman has always worked to maintain a strong sense of self, which includes keeping herself strong mentally and physically. “I really love running, which has been really great for stress relief”, the fitness aficionado explains. While training for her role as Jane Foster – an astrophysicist with superpowers – in Thor: Love and Thunder, Portman worked with trainer Naomi Pendergrass on strength and agility exercises. “It has been really exciting to get strong. And of course there’s a lot of stunt work, which has been fun to do for my first time. Now I kind of understand why people love making these because it’s very close to dance actually, learning all the choreography.”
But Portman’s definition of beauty extends so much further than superficial attributes, emphasising the importance for Portman to remain strong in body and mind. “When a woman is really comfortable with herself, and confident in herself, is when she experiences the most beauty. It’s always when women are really attentive to who they are, what they like, being individual and not trying to please other people.”
Portman strives to seek the joy and beauty in the world around her every day by paying attention to the little things, “whether it’s in nature or in family or friends that you are able to spend time with”, she adds. “In our relationships, in our environment, we can find things that bring beauty and joy.”
CreditLead image: courtesy of Dior