Those who know Willow Smith well will know that perfume is the one beauty item she won’t leave home without. “Because I’m not great at doing makeup and my skin-care routine is very simple, scent is where I focus all of my energy,” Smith tells Vogue. She’s felt the connection since childhood. “Ever since I was young, my mom used to mix essential oils and make her own perfumes,” Smith adds. Now, the 20-year-old musician has followed in her mother’s footsteps, concocting her own mixtures with essential oils. Nagchampa oil, a scent usually found in incense, is a recent favorite.
An interest in scent has been a constant even as Smith’s creative aesthetic has shifted and varied over the years. Her latest single, “Transparent Soul,” has heralded her era of rock and roll with curly bangs, smudged eyeliner, chunky boots and Chopova Lowena skirts defining her look. The music video for “Transparent Soul” shows her simultaneously performing and picking a fight while Travis Barker plays the drums. But even amid the grime of a rock club, Smith retains an ethereal element. “I’ve always been into everything existential and extraterrestrial,” she reflects. I’m also extremely inspired by mythic goddesses and I’m constantly reading about them.”
A pre-existing interest in these themes made her the perfect fit for her latest project, serving as the face of Mugler’s new Alien Goddess fragrance. The name, she notes, is “everything I’ve wanted to be since I was 11 or 12.” The scent, with its notes of bergamot and Madagascar bourbon vanilla, “smells exactly like what I think a literal alien goddess would smell like,” Smith says, “sitting on a lotus flower in space.”
Smith sees Alien Goddess (which launches on Muglerusa.com on July 23) as both a day and night scent, light enough for a lunch out, but with a “sensual, feminine vibe” that serves an evening engagement just as well. The scent’s versatile nature goes hand in hand with Smith’s, who says her approach to beauty is “never one thing. I think it’s constantly changing with my emotions and what I want to say that day. Sometimes I’m in an Alice in Wonderland mood and other times I’m giving The Corpse Bride,” she laughs. She finds inspiration from “super creative” people like model Jazzelle Zanaughtti, aka @uglyworldwide on Instagram, another shapeshifting beauty who might fit under the title alien goddess. “That’s real beauty to me; creativity and the confidence that comes with being able to execute a creative vision,” Smith says.
Like so many of us over the past year, Smith has found a connection to beauty and herself through nature. She recalls a recent camping trip with Paris Jackson, filled with oracle card readings, skinny dipping in streams, and meditation. Smith’s Instagram followers will know that she also turned to yoga as a way to process stress and gain strength. She says that when she first started yoga, she was focused on the physical aspect of it. “I really wanted to master the moves. And I achieved a lot of the goals I had,” she says. “But I learned along the way, that’s not necessarily what yoga is about. It’s helped me to learn to take a breath, not listen to the negative voice in my head, and deal with life in a more compassionate way. That’s yoga, too. It’s a mindset and lifestyle. Not just the fact that you can do a handstand.”
Life is about to speed up for Smith as she prepares to release her album, Lately I Feel Everything, next week. The lessons she’s learned from yoga seem bound to keep her steady. “Through it all, I try to always remind myself that I have value even without any of the things that I’m doing. I have value aside from what I show the world and the art I put out in the world,” she says. “I’ve learned to love what’s at my core, at my purest form.”