Tara Nowy: Paint the Town with Bitches

Image of Damn Rebel Bitches Stickers by artisan, independent, luxury, eau de parfum brand REEK Perfume on location in Lyon, France.
Image of Damn Rebel Bitches Stickers by artisan, independent, luxury, eau de parfum brand REEK Perfume on location in Lyon, France.

Ex-model, Tara Nowy on inspirational fragrances, stickers and breaking the rules.

Damn Rebel Bitches immediately spoke to me. Not only because of the name but the history and story behind it, I loved the fact it paid homage to heroines past and present. As a brand, it makes a stand, recently releasing an unedited, unretouched campaign that received a lot of attention both good and bad. It has been declared the “first feminist fragrance” – that definitely appeals to me.

After working in the fashion industry for almost 10 years, I found it refreshing to see images of women smiling. To see the lumps, bumps and scars that define our lives, although many of us hide them. Dove had previously tried something like this (I am sure people have seen the ads) but it came to light that they actually cast their models and retouched the images before they went out. Which again created an uproar. Damn Rebel Bitches goes against the grain – it stays away from the half-naked supermodels running through the streets – a more traditional way to sell perfume! There will always be division in opinion but I have to admit some of the remarks made about the natural campaign saddened me and made me realise how disgusting the advertising industry can be. Warping our minds and giving many of us a false sense of beauty, it’s clear “feminism” and “self love” still has a long way to go. This made me even prouder to be part of the supportive Damn Rebel Bitch gang and I wanted to do my bit. I wanted to help spread the word.

Inspired by the images on REEK’s Instagram, I took to the streets of Lyon, stickers in hand, with one mission. Paint the town with bitches. I felt like a true rebel but one with a good cause. As I wandered around I noticed that a lot of the graffiti in Lyon incorporated women and not men, fair enough many were fictitious but why didn’t we celebrate the heroines of the past who fought for the rights we have now? Real women. When I first came across Damn Rebel Bitches I was told a fascinating yet disgusting fact that stuck in my mind. “There are more statues of men and animals in the UK than there are women”. How did this make any sense? Totally outraged I decided to make my own mark on these murals and I was doing so when a well dressed man stopped and asked what I was up to. In a panic and broken French I tried to explain (he didn’t look thrilled) but luckily he detected my accent and switched to English promptly. In a fluster I explained it was a perfume from Scotland, my home. I told him the history behind it and the valid reason for my vandalising what was, in effect, other vandalism. He was nodding with great approval and his stern face soon switched to a smile. I offered him a sticker and gave him the website details to which he said “my wife is a bit of a rebel, I’ll pass this on”. It filled my heart with joy at the notion that we may have a French lady joining the DRB gang. This small Scottish brand was already pushing boundaries and changing minds – not only of women but clearly of men too.

The REEK website says be heroic, unapologetic and passionate. Coming from a long line of outspoken, strong and forward thinking women, I feel I have found the perfume that represents me. The morals and ethics behind Damn Rebel Bitches are to be admired. The image it portrays is powerful and the scent, well it’s not only delicious with hints of blood orange and hazelnut but it reminds me of home. I wear it with pride as I establish a new home in France.