Recently I have found myself thinking about the pathway that brings you to a particular place within yourself—especially a place that is not always easy to access—whether that be sensuality, serenity, or stillness. What are the triggers that stimulate the mind, allow you to be both present and lost simultaneously?
On Ritual + Self-Discovery
Photography by Sarah Elliott
Ceramic sculpture by Simone Bodmer-Turner
Psychology has always fascinated me, but particularly the interaction between the mind and the senses. Touch, scent, sight, and sound are always what transport me, hitting a nerve that carry me to a time and place. Is it memory, is it fantasy, is it both? In this mental space are we conscious or in an altered state? I began a meditation practice six months ago and perhaps bringing myself to this deeper state twice daily had allowed me to ponder ways to access that feeling when I am not sitting in stillness for 20 minutes. When else do we allow ourselves time to explore the “other” sides of our personality?
I have always been multi-faceted—in my career, my creativity, my personality. I crave contrast in all I do. The flavors I create when I cook, and certainly the rooms I design, always teeter-totter between opposing qualities. Without fail, a polarizing “something” is always what causes intrigue. I love the unexpected. When something is just a little bit “off”, well, I get off. Is that taboo to say? Maybe it is. Or maybe it’s just honest. I definitely like to keep both myself and other people guessing. It’s fun to shock yourself and step outside your bounds sometimes, right? I think it most certainly makes you feel alive, fiery.
Sensuality, how to access and emanate it, is fascinating to me. I continue to explore this dichotomy between purity and straight-up sexiness.
Never one thing, right? When I was 20 I was living in NYC and had the opportunity to move to Paris to do some modeling. This coincided with my breakup with my first boyfriend, my first love, my first sexual partner. I was devastated and certainly a little bit broken. But removing myself from my environment and relocating to the city of love did wonders for me and allowed me to open myself up to experimentation. Here is where I found my first fragrance—and that was the linchpin that allowed me to be someone else. Crazy how taking on a new scent can give you access to becoming a different person. I walked through that city carrying an alternate persona—with an air of naughtiness, sensuality, and a touch of badass-ness. I ended up shaving my head and piercing my septum in order to liberate myself for a moment, to try on a new, not-so-innocent skin for a change. Was I still that pure, naïve Long Island girl living in Paris? Absolutely, but I was also becoming something new, shedding a layer of skin, and wearing a new coat.
Back to current day: I have found myself creating my own rituals. I am basking my body in a scent that gives me access to my diverse and seductive side. The “Fiery Pink Pepper” fragrance by Molton Brown is it. Molton Brown creations are experimental, (a legacy of the label’s free-thinking ‘70s heritage), handmade, and artisanal, with scents composed by top perfumers around the world. It is not by accident I chose a scent that engages the culinary side of myself, an integral part of my being. The ginger, tangerine, and spicy pink pepper notes are coupled with the smoky scent of cedar, evoking a smoldering energy that wafts through air and within my body.
During this bathing ritual my senses are heightened. Engaged is a trifecta of sight, as I am surrounded by beauty and design, right down to the ‘70s-inspired, pop-art-esque eau de parfum bottle; taste, with chocolates that amplify the culinary notes in the fragrance and gratify the indulgent part of my personality; and of course scent, spicy ginger, vibrant tangerine, and fiery pepper, which ignite my own feelings of sensuousness. All these aspects of me are my truth, at once, at all times. From this highly intimate and solitary ritual I will carry this memory and these polarizing parts of myself into the world. For much like a new coat, or a cut, or even a septum ring, rituals and dynamic scents are portals to hidden spaces within us—and reminders we always possess the power to change our perspective and invent ourselves anew.
Fiery Pink Pepper is my favorite fragrance from Molton Brown’s new 12 scent Eau de Parfum collection. What is yours?
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