Calling all young Hollywood hopefuls: You know you've truly made it in Tinseltown when you land a million-dollar endorsement contract with a billion-dollar beauty brand.
Case in point: Gwyneth Paltrow.
This fall, the Oscar-winning actress will make her debut as a face of Estée Lauder. First up will be television and print ads for the Pleasures fragrance breaking next month, followed by a color cosmetics campaign, then more fragrance ads. Paltrow is reportedly being paid $3 million for her efforts.
The blond beauty will be in good company at the fragrance bar. Fellow A-listers with endorsement deals include Nicole Kidman and Beyoncé, while J.Lo and Britney have their own scents. Kimora Lee Simmon's freshman effort, Baby Phat Goddess, is hitting counters now, following Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely, launched last month. Even Donald Trump has his own cologne.
While Paltrow says working with a beauty company appealed to her, a vanity project did not. "No!" she responds when asked if she's even been tempted to put her name on a fragrance bottle. "When you look at an Estée Lauder campaign, there's a timelessness and sense of history and American beauty. I've never seen that happen in those kind of one-off celebrity fragrances. They look strange to me."
It was Paltrow's all-American good looks that attracted Lauder execs, says Aerin Lauder, senior vice president of global creative directions for the Lauder brand. "We've been watching Gwyneth for a very long time." Paltrow and Lauder are ensconced in the well-preserved office of Estée Lauder herself to unveil the actress' first Pleasures print ad. Photographed by Mario Testino, Paltrow looks radiant in a simple pink shirt. The television ad, to be shot this month, will be directed by Lance Accord, a darling of young Hollywood thanks to his cinematography for Sofia Coppola, among others.
"Gwyneth really represents everything that we're about—elegance, style, quality," Lauder continues, "and it makes her the perfect fit for fragrance."
Truth be told, though, Paltrow has only recently become a convert to frequent fragrance usage. Her favorite scent is one that reminds her of childhood: box hedges. "We used to go to Nantucket at the end of every summer, and the smell of the ocean air mixed with the scent of the hedge has stayed with me," she says. "Whenever I smell it, I'm instantly transported back there."
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"