ALEX BRUNI

An unretouched image of Damn Rebel Bitch Alex Bruni to accompany an interview for REEK Perfume's platform 'Bitches Unite.'
An unretouched image of Damn Rebel Bitch Alex Bruni to accompany an interview for REEK Perfume's platform 'Bitches Unite.'
An unretouched image of Damn Rebel Bitch Alex Bruni to accompany an interview for REEK Perfume's platform 'Bitches Unite.'
An unretouched image of Damn Rebel Bitch Alex Bruni to accompany an interview for REEK Perfume's platform 'Bitches Unite.'
An unretouched image of Damn Rebel Bitch Alex Bruni to accompany an interview for REEK Perfume's platform 'Bitches Unite.'

REEK model Alex Bruni gives her take on activism and working in fashion as a woman is her 60s. And you young ones watch out, she’ll give you a run for your money.

Is scent important to you and why?

I  think that scent is important, because we often associate smells with specific memories and people. We recognise the smell of a loved one, for example, and I remember reading that babies can recognise the scent of their mother’s milk even before they see her. I recently watched a French movie, The Past, in which a man whose wife was in a coma and had turned into a vegetable, would put on his aftershave, which she liked very much, and then bending to kiss her, he would tell her to squeeze his hand if she knew who he was, in the hope she might recognise him. It was such a moving scene! Smell is often a significant part of falling in love, we are often attracted to the smell of a particular person.

So what are the evocative smells in your life?

Oooh, where shall I start? Freshly laundered sheets, which conjure up memories of home and summer, the gorgeous scent of jasmine which always reminds of my travels through southern India, the smell of oranges which also reminds me of home as we used to have orange trees in our garden. I love vanilla, always did, so I guess vanilla reminds me of childhood and delicious ice creams. I often put it in my coffee, just love to inhale the aroma. Smells are very important to me and I am very sensitive to them. It is not always a good thing, I can easily be offended by a bad odour ie unwashed people. Travelling on the tube in summer during rush hours can be a nightmare – it seems to me that far too many people do not shower at all.

Perfumes are one of my weaknesses, a major one. I love full, rich ones, with a hint of a bergamot fragrance thrown in. There is a strong link between taste and smell, think of wines. You both taste and smell them.

What do you think about growing old and ideas of beauty?

Growing old is inevitable so best reconcile yourself to it. Sometimes I regret not being young anymore, who doesn’t,  but in truth I don’t dwell on it, I tend to accept myself and always look to the future because I have a zest for life. To my mind age is never a major drawback. As you grow older I think it’s very important to take care of yourself, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and physically. Self care and self love are important.  Giving yourself little treats, such as buying a nice perfume, has a rejuvenating effect, I mean it!

As for beauty, I really do believe beauty has no age, nor is beauty dependent on measurements and specific proportions or a particular look. I am always amazed at how diverse beauty is! Somehow this is not reflected in our beauty industry which would like us to look all the same, in a very arbitrary way.

Tell us a bit about your modelling

Well I model because I am, really, a campaigner. I want people to change their perceptions of older people and of older women in particular, and of ageing. I want to eliminate all the negative ‘isms’ from ageism to racism and, of course, discriminatory attitudes to women. Deep down I am passionate about politics, have always been politically aware and at various points in my life I have seriously considered becoming a politician. I care about community, about society, and most of all, about people.

So watch this space. I might relinquish modelling to become fully involved in politics. That may be my next step.