Arizona Muse Talks Perfume, Posing Nude, and DIYing Her Wedding Hair and Makeup

We play 20 questions with the supermodel

What does Arizona Muse have in common with the newest Stella McCartney eau? Well, aside from the fact that the 29-year-old super stars in the steamy new campaign for the peony-laced fragrance, which was inspired by the lush gardens in England, where Muse resides, they’ve both recently hit the scene again after taking hiatuses. In Muse’s case, a few seasons away from the chaotic nature of the runway was in order. “I just found it really stressful,” she said. “A break was worthwhile—I started to remember how fun it was.” Now, the Arizona native—and recent bride—enjoys watching from the front row just as much as she likes stomping down the catwalk. “You get to witness the creativity in a totally different way,” she mused, citing Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s recent debut for Chloé as one of the most moving runway shows she’s ever seen. As for McCartney’s Peony, which was initially called Two Peony when it launched in 2006, the scent is officially back by popular demand after being discontinued six years ago. (For the record, Muse hasn’t yet experienced the horror of a beloved product being discontinued—when asked, she rolled her freshly manicured fingers into a fist and knocked on the wooden table.) While the rosy-pink flower is still at the heart of the aroma, the new, reworked version is considerably more floral, with top notes of mandarin, freesia, and lotus flower, and base notes of patchouli, black pepper, and amber. The hot pink bottle won’t hit until January (and for one day on Cyber Monday), but for those of us who want to cop the fresh, feminine scent pronto, it’s now available exclusively in Stella McCartney stores and online. (Consider it an early Christmas present.) In the spirit of the holidays, we sat down with Muse, who flew in from London for the 14th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards, to play a little round of 20 questions. Hours before she hit the red carpet (in a red dress care of Stella McCartney, of course), we chatted with the super about everything from her favorite Thanksgiving dish to why she opted to do her wedding day hair and makeup herself (yes, really) to what it was like shooting her first-ever nude campaign.

1. Hilary Shepherd: Stella Peony officially launches in January, but it’s going to be available for one day on Cyber Monday. You live in London now, but do you still participate in American holiday shopping traditions like Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Arizona Muse: I don’t. No, I’m not very American like that. I grew up here, but I live in England now, and I feel so English. Black Friday is such an American thing. I’m not a big fan of massive crowds, rushing in, and consumerism. That’s consumerism at its height, and it’s a little bit…it’s not quite tuned to my values. But please buy this perfume! 

2. HS: Fair enough. So, what are some of your other favorite holiday traditions?

AM: I love spending time with family. I think that’s the most special thing about the holiday season—people are brought back to their families. They’re given time off work, and I think that is so important in our busy lives. We forget that. The other thing is light. In winter, in the dark months, we celebrate candlelight and tiny, little lights. Oh my—when I think of the holiday season, I think of tiny, flickering, yellow lights that are warm and cozy and make you feel all twinkly.

3. HS: What’s one American tradition you’ve continued with your family in London?

AM: Thanksgiving. I think it’s a really great holiday tradition, and it’s a family thing. Cooking beautiful food together and eating it—I love it.

4. HS: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

AM: I love Brussels sprouts, and they don’t go wrong so often. They’re just delicious and such a wintry food. And so good for you. 

5. HS: Do you like prefer them a certain way? Brussels sprouts are pretty versatile.

AM: Mmm, with a lot of onions, kind of caramelized…ohhh, delicious

6. HS: You got married this summer. Your proposal, a treasure hunt in Florence, sounds really romantic. Did you have any idea there would be a ring involved at the end of it?

AM: I was trying not to guess because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I didn’t want to get to the end and it was just a nice lunch! 

7. HS: What’s the most difficult part of planning a wedding?

AM: We kind of had an unusually planned wedding. Neither of us are very good at planning things. Both of us are really relaxed and just like, it’s fine, everything’s going to be OK, it’s all going to work out. And we got really lucky that it did all work out. We had the most beautiful weekend—it was in London and it was 30 degrees celsius, which is, like, the hottest it ever gets in June. It was amazing and really relaxed, and I think that’s why it was such a success for both of us—we weren’t stressed. And because I didn’t have the stress, I was able to feel the excitement. 

8. HS: You wore a dress by Alice Temperley. After working with so many designers, how did you decide on her?

AM: She’s a really good friend. I love her clothes and I love her ethos, but I didn’t really plan it. I wasn’t even sure I was going to wear a white dress because you don’t have to. I was with her and I was like, “You know what? Maybe I do want to.” And she was like, “Come on! You need one. I’ll make it!”

9. HS: You sound like the chillest bride ever. Let’s talk your hair and makeup on the big day. Who did it and what kind of look were you going for?

AM: I did it all myself actually because I didn’t want to get disappointed. I’ve been warned by so many brides that everything can disappoint you, and when I went to get a manicure and pedicure, it was one of the worst toenail paintings I had ever had. I was like, you know what, I’m getting married and I can’t. No. Can you start again? Can you please just fix it? It needs to be good. I felt bad about it, and of course it’s just nails, but in ten minutes it was redone and it was absolutely fine and I forgot about it. But it did make me realize that it’s so easy to be disappointed on your wedding day about something you wouldn’t have otherwise cared about. I mean, you get a bad blow dry once, and you’re like, oh, whatever, it’s fine. I’ll get another one next week. But if it’s your wedding day and it’s a bad one, it makes you want to cry. So I did my hair and makeup myself, and it worked out really well. Plus, I just wanted to be me on my wedding day.

10. HS: Would you recommend that same DIY advice to impending brides?

AM: Not really, because this is what worked for me. It is a big day in your life, and it is really fun to get dolled up and to make a special deal of it and to spend more money than you normally would. All of that adds to the specialness, but I wouldn’t set inflexible expectations. As long as you’re cool with it turning out a little differently than you thought, that’s fine. Go for it, but just know that it might be a little different than you envisioned, and that’s fine, too.

11. HS: I read that you once bought yourself Cartier earrings at an airport to make yourself feel better. In terms of beauty products, is there something you splurge on that never fails to boost your mood?

AM: I’m wearing the Cartier earrings right now! I love them. Beauty products—well, I love baths. That whole experience instantly boosts my mood. I put in an enormous amount of bath salts. Like, the whole container. Imagine the biggest package of bath salts. I put the whole thing in. It becomes a splurge when you’re supposed to use them over, like, 20 baths and instead you use them all at once, but then you get a massive effect from it because the salt really penetrates your skin, and you just feel it. My mood is lifted. 

12. HS: What are you wearing to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards tonight?

AM: A beautiful, elegant, long, red dress. It’s by Stella McCartney, of course. I’m wearing it with diamonds—we’re still figuring out where they’re coming from, but we’re going to do golden makeup and I’ll probably have my hair kind of back and maybe wet-looking. I don’t know. I love hair and makeup and I love designing a look. It’s so much fun for me.

13. HS: How do you prepare for a red carpet event?

AM: I generally have a pretty intense skin regime. I do skin masks and things like that pretty much every night. Liz Earle makes an amazing overnight mask that makes you look like a baby in the morning.

14. HS: Did you use it last night? Your skin is so dewy.

AM: I used it last night, yeah. I also use castor oil, rose hip oil, and medicinal oils. I find that they work amazingly well. So I did that, and then I’m going to do a little bit of exfoliation this afternoon before hair and makeup.

15. HS: Let’s talk about your recent return to the runway. You took a hiatus for a bit. Why did you decide to come back?

AM: The reason I’d stopped was because I found the runway to be really stressful, but as time passed, I started to have these fun memories of it. I was like, I want to do that again. And I love it now—I absolutely love it. It was worth the break.

16. HS: What’s changed since you’ve been back?

AM: Well, I do a combination of walking on the runway and watching the runway, and that’s really fun. Going to watch a show is a great experience. It’s just fun and easy and interesting to see the collection, and you get to witness the creativity in a totally different way. When you’re walking in a show, you’re in the fray and getting ready and then it’s all over. It’s a lot of waiting and then it’s finished really quickly. 

17. HS: What’s the last runway show you watched that truly excited you?

AM: I loved Chloé’s Spring 2018 show—Natacha [Ramsay-Levi]’s debut. It was really moving. When she came out after the show, you could see on her face how much this meant to her, and everyone was so encouraging and enthusiastic for her. It was really a nice moment.

18. HS: Alright, back to the fragrance. Let’s talk about the sexy campaign. What was the most fun part about shooting it?

AM: I don’t know how risqué you want the answer to be, but I did not wear any clothes the entire time. It was so strange. Going in, I was like, yeah, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I know Mary [McCartney] really well, and she just makes everyone feel so good. It was shot in England, just outside of London, in this beautiful, modernist house that was built in the 1930s, which is my favorite time period ever. It was just gorgeous. It was such a liberating experience. I absolutely loved it. We shot it over the course of three days, and each morning I took my clothes off and we shot. By the end of it, I was like, who needs clothes anyway?

19. HS: You’ve both walked and attended Stella’s runway shows. What’s it like working with her on the beauty front? 

AM: She’s one of my favorite brands of all time. What she’s done around sustainability is really close to my heart. That’s my passion, and she has pioneered that above and beyond any other luxury brand. And that is so cool.

20. HS: You mentioned you worked with her sister, Mary, before. Who’s the cooler sister?

AM: She’s just as cool as Stella. They’re just an amazing family, and they’re amazing women. They really are. They love that they’re women and they really own that.

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