Halle Berry: In Her Own Words

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Maria Berry may live in the world of red carpet premieres & black tie galas, but when it comes to beauty and style advice, she is refreshingly down-to-earth, distilling thoughtful, practical tips. Much of this wisdom is thanks to her early modeling career & her global ad campaigns for Revlon and Coty. She sat down with Dave Lackie in New York City to discuss her unexpected success as a perfumer, her skincare secrets and why she insists on a Robin Thicke soundtrack for every photo shoot.


Whenever I do my photo shoots, I say ‘I gotta put on my Robin Thicke.’ I cannot do a photo shoot without Robin Thicke. He is my all-time favourite. I’m intimately acquainted with him. I just love him.

My skincare regime is very simple. I think you have to wash your face, moisturize and use sunscreen. If you do those things two or three times a day, you’ll create good, healthy, long-lasting skin. The secret is being consistent. And finding products that work for your skin – whatever type of skin you have. Let a professional guide you and tell you what to use. There are so many products on the market today, you really need an expert to analyze your skin and show you where you are dry and where you are oily. They’ll tell you whether you need a serum or a cream. Find the best products for your skin then stick with them.

The best style advice I can give anyone is to be yourself. Don’t be a slave to trends. Observe them and if one works for you, great. But don’t just wear something because it is the new ‘It’ thing. I’ve seen plenty of ridiculous-looking people because of that. So, great style is understanding what works for you. Find what you like and flatters you, then stick with it. When it comes to designers, I love Roberto Cavalli. I love Chloé. I love Chanel. I’m really into leather right now. And I love All Saints for my day-to-day world. I want everything they make. And it seems like they come out with great new things every two weeks. My clothing reflects my life right now and I’m feeling a little more edgy and risky.

When it comes to building a fragrance wardrobe, I think a woman needs something that is fresh and clean. She needs something that is sensual and sexy. And she needs something feminine. Those would be my three recommendations for fragrance. I might add a fourth – something playful and whimsical.

I’m surprised that I can keep finding fragrance notes that I love. I thought that if I created one perfume, that would be it. That would be the one I’d love forever. But I did a second one, I realized, ‘Oh, I love this one too’. I’m learning that I love lots of different fragrance notes. The creative process is the most exciting part for me. One thing that always stays the same is I always love mimosa. That’s what I loved first, and it is what I love today. I’ve been in every fragrance of mine and will probably be in every one I create. It’s funny. I didn’t think I was a floral girl but I started smelling some fragrances that combined mimosa with iris. I really liked that combination. Mimosa is a very light note. Iris is a little bit heavier. I learned I could make a floral bouquet scent and really wear it.

Before I created my first scent, I knew the process of creating a fragrance was complicated and making it wasn’t simple. But I had no idea the amount of time it takes and the number of people involved. It is staggering! I go through many, many samples and many, many trial runs to get the final scent. I find that I may like something on a blotter or in a tester bottle, but when I wear it, I usually don’t like it after a while. So we go back and add something else because fragrance smells different in the bottle than on your skin. The toughest job is getting the fragrance to smell the same on the skin as it does on the bottle. It’s also challenging to make it last a long time. You have to add little extra elements and those can affect the smell.

I’m reading a book of poetry by a Persian poet right now and it’s been really, really enlightening.

I’ve had so many career highlights over the past 20 years. I can’t say one in particular in most important to me. People would say ‘oh, but you’ve won an Academy Award!’ and although it was amazing, I’ve had smaller successes that have propelled me further along the way. I can’t discount those moments either. I’d say the volunteer work I do is one of the best things I do.

Halle Berry bio

  • born Maria Halley Berry, August 14th, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Her parents took the name “Halle” from Halle’s Department Store in Cleveland.
  • attended Bedford High School then Cuyahoga Community College
  • finished first runner up in the Miss USA Pageant in 1986
  • in 1991, she had a recurring role in the Prime Time Soap Opera Knot’s Landing
  • her breakthrough role was in 1992’s Boomerang
  • played Storm in the X-Men film series and Bond Girl Jinx, in Die Another Day
  • won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002 for her role in Monster’s Ball
  • In 2003, People Magazine declared Berry the “Most Beautiful Person” in the world.
  • In 2013, Halle appeared in a video for Gucci’s “Chime for Change” campaign to raise awareness & funds for women’s issues such as education, justice & health
  • Berry was married to actor Olivier Martinez.