Making Scents With Selena Gomez

The 19-year-old actress, singer and entrepreneur is giving her fans the chance to shape the fragrance she's developing with Adrenalina Inc. for spring launch.

Most celebrities don’t offer their fans the opportunity to shape a product they’re meant to buy — but then again, most celebrities aren’t Selena Gomez.

This story first appeared in the September 30, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“At this point in my career, it’s really important to me that my fans understand me and who I am as a person — I feel like we’re all just in it together. They’re everything to me,” said Gomez during an exclusive phone interview with WWD. “I always involve them in every aspect of my career. Even when I’m on stage performing, I always say I’m performing with them, not for them, because I’m kind of growing up with everybody. And at this time in my career and life, I’m able to share something with them, and I think we can make something great together.”

That something will be the to-be-named scent the 19-year-old actress, singer and entrepreneur is developing with Adrenalina Inc. for a spring launch. “My fans can go to selenagomezperfumes.com and see all the ingredients — the top ingredient, the middle ingredient, and a base,” she said. “I want the base to be rich — I like vanilla and maybe some chocolate. For the middle, I’ve smelled raw grapefruit and peach, and the top note’s definitely going to be fruity. I’m going to put up all the [notes] I like and let my fans pick which ones they want to put together. So, it’s going to be something that I like, regardless.”

Her fans were also the impetus behind her apparel line, Dream Out Loud, which is carried at Kmart. “I used to get picked on about how I dressed because a lot of people said I dressed very boring,” she said. “I wanted to make a line that my fans could dress up and down that was still comfortable, that was still affordable. I named it Dream Out Loud because that’s what I feel like I’m doing.”

But back to the fragrance. “I’m having a really fun, exciting time with it — the design of the bottle is where we’re at right now,” Gomez said. “We’ve gone through probably five different bottles. I want it [the fragrance bottle] to represent me. So, it has to be really kind of fun, youthful, that’s still kind of sophisticated in a way. I think we’re incorporating some light colors, maybe a dark purple with maybe a light pink, and gold and black — mixing a little bit of dark and light.”

Gomez has definite ideas for the ad campaigns, and they don’t include the expected wholesome shot of her: “I want it to be romantic, rich and sweet, because I’m a very romantic person.” (So, evidently, is boyfriend Justin Bieber, who recently rented Los Angeles’ entire Staples Arena for a dinner date with Gomez). “I also want it to be sophisticated enough to appeal to a wider demographic,” she continued. “I want it to appeal to someone even if they don’t know who I am. So I want the campaign to almost be just a pretty, beautiful shot that represents the fragrance — I don’t want it to be my face smiling in a big cheesy smile. I just want it to be captured in a very sophisticated way.”

Personal appearances are also a given, she said. “I’m going to be sold at fragrance counters in department stores,” she said. “And when that time comes, I want to be the one that gives my fans the fragrance first.”

The name, on the other hand, is creating some issues. “I’m really bad at names, and because like every name has been taken, we might just name it my first name — By Selena,” she said. “That’s temporary, so we’ll see. But everything romantic has been taken.”

Another reason Gomez is developing a fragrance: “I wear a lot of Victoria’s Secret-type fragrances that are pretty, but as far as hard-core perfume, I haven’t found one that I’m crazy about,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons I’m developing my own.”

She’s also creating several projects with her development company, July Moon Productions, “There are a couple of films in development right now — we are working on ‘Thirteen Reasons Why,’ which is a book my mom found, and we’re developing that into a film. We have a couple of other things in the pipeline as well.”

She’s currently touring for her third album, “When the Sun Goes Down,” and thinking about what her fourth record will be. “The fourth album’s going to be extremely different and I need to take my time with it because I will be almost 20 by the time the next record comes out,” she said. “I think I’m going to want to step into a different direction — and I need to make sure I do that carefully.” She also continues her work with UNICEF, for which she is the organization’s youngest Goodwill Ambassador; she has held the role since August 2009, and had served as the organization’s Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF spokesperson the previous October. “My key demographic is maybe a younger generation than my age, so it’s nice to be able to lend my voice to that generation and educate them on issues going on around the world,” she said. “It’s good for me to be able to be a part of something like that too, to educate myself.”

While admittedly she’s got many projects going, Gomez takes things in stride. “It’s definitely about categories — putting them in categories,” she said of juggling acting, singing, charity work, designing apparel and creating her fragrance. “Because if I did them all at once, I would definitely go crazy. I never do anything unless it’s organic. I’m not just lending my name to a product — when it comes to anything I’m involved with, I’m behind it 100 percent. So basically, for me, I wanted to do all of these things because I was passionate about it — and it just happens to be a lot.”