I sang Soprano 1 in acapella choirs for all four years of high school and the first year of college. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only member of my college acapella choir to ever be kicked out twice. That’s right: Arielle Weinberg, acapella renegade. This happened for a few reasons. First, despite having trained for four years with Dr. Mira Yang, an unbelievable Korean voice professor who could literally sing every note on the piano (that last octave didn’t sound pretty, but she could do it), I have a decidedly average voice. Second, I came down with mono during my first week of college and missed an awful lot of rehearsals.
Finally, I have severe stage fright. My voice instantly becomes weak and shaky whenever I try to sing in front of another person, much less a crowd. Because of this, and the aforementioned decidedly average voice, it is fairly obvious that I will never be a professional singer. But recently, I have been missing singing. I wrote this post with literal stage fright in mind, but perfume can be used to counter all kinds of performance anxiety. After all, we all perform in one way or another.
When actors are trying to prepare for a role, they often rely on symbolic items to connect them to the character. They’ll play a guitar that belonged to their character, or wear a dress that the character might have worn. Daniel Day-Lewis built his own freaking canoe to try to get into character for his role in The Last of the Mohicans.
The same principle applies to perfumes for performance. Wearing a perfume that represents the role you’re trying to play can help you get into character. “Dress the part” is a common expression; I’m telling you to “smell the part”.
For example, if you’re trying to present yourself as a powerful business woman, wear a perfume that projects competency, efficiency, authority. We’re talking liquid shoulder pads. Chanel No. 19 is always presented as the ultimate power suit perfume, but I personally find it a bit too floral for those purposes. I would choose something sharper, bitchier, like Stella McCartney Stella or Gucci Envy. If your role for the night is the most glamorous woman in the room, you can’t go wrong with Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, Chanel No. 22, or Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse.
How do you perform, and which perfumes do you match to each role you play?