Fragrance Wardrobe: Gina Torres on Her "Power Suit" Chanel Scents

"I feel confident and sexy when I’m walking around with these scents on my skin."

Your perfume isn’t just how you smell—it’s how you feel. Usually, it's an accessory to how you present yourself to the world, but these days, it can serve as a source of comfort and nostalgia during days spent at home. In the upcoming weeks, we're sharing a new version of Fragrance Wardrobe, our series in collaboration with The Fragrance Foundation that highlights the rotating perfume “wardrobes” of tastemakers through key points in their life. In this new take, we'll be asking them to share their favorite scents through the lens of comfort and their at-home routine. Get to know them better via the scents they choose to wear during this uncertain time.

You likely already recognize Gina Torres without us having to run down her credentials. But, we'll still fill you in. Throughout her nearly three-decade career, the actress has graced the screen in countless buzzy series and films. The New York-native is most known for her roles in the science fiction series Firefly and legal drama show Suits. And most recently, she joined the cast of 9-1-1: Lone Star. But, Torres is more than just an actress. She's also a mother, producer, and foodie (as noted in Instagram bio). Torres also happens to have a longstanding love for fragrance, an interest that developed during her formative years in Manhattan. We recently caught up with the multi-faceted entertainment veteran to dive into the fragrances that make her feel confident and the scents she turns to for comfort. Keep scrolling to get to know Gina Torres through her Fragrance Wardrobe.

Gina Torres

Gina Torres

How would you describe your fragrance style? 

My fragrance "goal" has always been “fresh and subtle." I never wanted to be the woman who you can still smell long after she’s left the room or an elevator. I like the slow seduction of being near and unveiling layers of myself, like my voice, thoughts, laughter, and scent. And it’s the best if at some point during the day, they find me again, because maybe I hugged them, and my scent is on their jacket or shirt or blouse. And perhaps that brings a smile to that person's face.

What was the first fragrance you ever bought, and why?

I bought a no-label Egyptian Musk Oil somewhere on 125th St and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd in Harlem. I remember standing with the street vendor, trying every scent—patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, ocean breeze, etc. This was something I picked up from my Mom, who could never get through the ground floor of Macy’s without spritzing herself with as many fragrances as she could. Egyptian Musk was earthy and sweet, with a high citrus note that kept it from being too dense. I loved it. My first commercial fragrance was Passion by Elizabeth Taylor. I loved the bottle. I loved everything she represented. I even liked the scent and how surprisingly light it was. So many of those expensive fragrances at Macy’s were always so bold and obnoxious to me.

Your "power suit" fragrance and why:

I have two signature scents. They check all the boxes, and I hope Chanel doesn't get the bright idea to discontinue any of them. I wear Chanel Allure ($138) during fall and winter and Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche ($85) during spring and summer. It’s been so long since I discovered them. I couldn’t tell you when I fell in love with them. I feel completely myself, confident, and sexy when I’m walking around with these scents on my skin.

Gina Torres

Byrdie / Gina Torres

Your date night fragrance and why:

My Chanel scents pretty much check that box too. However, once I’ve showered, and before I tuck myself into bed, I rub a little Jones and Rose Honey Fig Shea Butter ($24) on my wrists, the back of my neck, and knees. It reminds me of my Egyptian Musk days due to its intensity. A little goes a long way.

The fragrance that brings you comfort: 

A chicken roasting in the oven or onions and garlic sautéing in olive oil awaiting the addition of a protein or vegetable. Seriously, is there anything better?

Gina Torres

Byrdie / Gina Torres

What you smell when you want to unwind: 

I’m not a big fan of scented candles. They are so hit and miss. But I do love to burn incense. Perhaps it’s tied to my memories of mass in the catholic church and my love of ritual. There is real comfort in putting the day to bed, and it’s often the last thing I do. As the smoky scents of amber, sandalwood, lavender billow through my home, I give thanks and let it all go.

The scent you'll associate with this time:

I got to spend a lot of time in my garden this year, watching the full cycle of growth, harvest, and death. I got to take in the smell of fresh dirt, tomatoes ripening on the vine in July, the gardenia bush, and those crazy good-smelling blooms that look like they’re made of fondant. And at this very moment, I'm taking in the blooms on my Meyer lemon tree. Life is good.

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