Joseph Quinn's Approach to Fragrance Is Classic and Unfussy

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This Is What Joseph Quinn Smells LikeEva Wang for Parfums Christian Dior

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This month marks one year since Stranger Things season 4 premiered and the world was introduced to Joseph Quinn’s breakout character Eddie Munson, who stole hearts and gained a devoted fan following. To say that the last twelve months have been busy for Quinn is an understatement. So, it makes sense that as one of the faces of Dior Beauty's #DareInGrisDior campaign, he chose "dare to chill" as his motto.

“The opportunities that have presented themselves as a result of last year are beyond my wildest dreams,” he tells over Zoom.

When we spoke, Quinn, who is just as gracious and charming as you’d expect, had just finished filming A Quiet Place Day One and his role as Emperor Caracalla in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 hadn’t yet been announced. But as one of the new faces of Gris Dior, a genderless chypre eau de parfum, fragrance was naturally top of mind.

Ahead, Quinn discusses his favorite scent-related memories, who is best-smelling co-star is, and what he’s looking forward to most in the upcoming months.

More than other senses, the sense of smell is known for evoking strong memories. What’s your first memory with fragrance.

Do you have PVA glue in the states? It's this glue that is in British primary schools.

We have Elmer’s.

Well, our smells like fish a little bit, and that evokes strong memories of the class and fish, I guess. And then I remember cooking. My mom's cooking always makes me nostalgic.

What did she cook?

Roasts. Well, she cooks everything, but I just remember meat roasting in the oven, and that is a comforting smell.

As one of the new faces of Gris Dior, what do you love most about the fragrance?

It’s pretty hard to pin down really. It's very mysterious. It's very woody. It’s very sexy.

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Sometimes when I’m trying out a new perfume, I like to wear it to bed. What is your go-to way of wearing fragrance?

It's pretty conventional. I don't have a secret spot that I splash it around in or anything like that. I just [spray] one there, one there (points to both sides of his neck), maybe one on the back of the neck. I don't go behind my knees or anything weird, just your bog-standard route of application. That's my method. I like the idea of going to bed with it though because I suppose it kind of beds in and settles once you sleep. I might try that.

When I was a teenager all the guys in school drowned themselves in Axe Body Spray. What did teenage Joseph smell like?

Yeah, it's a pretty potent thing, Axe Body spray. We call it Lynx over here, and it was a similar situation at my school. There was also CK One. Do you remember that fragrance? And Paco Rabanne 1 Million. Those were the two big heavy hitters at my school. It was a pretty lethal combo of 1 Million or CK One and pretty savage hormones. That was the smell of my school corridor really. Lucky us.

Who is the best-smelling person you’ve ever met?

Lupita Nyong'o smells pretty good. I don’t know what fragrance she wears. She smells beautiful; she smells great. And obviously my mom smells great.

What is a scent that makes you feel the most nostalgic and don't say roast? We’re already roasted out.

I can’t say roast or glue. I can't be sniffing glue again. What makes me feel most nostalgic? What the hell smell makes me feel most nostalgic? Oh God, it’s fucking cliche, but I remember growing up, I spent a lot of time on Clapham Common skateboarding. The smell of grass and grass-stained trousers, which I think was pretty ubiquitous for everyone's experience, that always makes me feel very nostalgic. The good smell of grass.

I went down an Instagram rabbit hole and your fans seem to be obsessed with you having long hair. Plans for a new look anytime soon?

I can't say there's any definitive plans yet to change the look of my hair. We will let you know first if anything changes.

joseph quinn gris dior bts
Eva Wang for Parfums Christian Dior

Last year was a wild one for you. What are you looking forward to most this year?

A little bit of normality would be nice. I'm very grateful for what happened last year, but as you said it felt wild. So, I am looking forward to hopefully working a little bit more, doing a little bit more travel, and just enjoying my life.

That's a good plan. Where are you looking to travel to?

Italy is a place that is very dear to me, so I think I'm going to try and get a little bit of a tour of that country under my belt. I'd love to go venture further east. I went to Japan last year, and now I'm a little bit obsessed. Have you ever been?

No, I’ve never been to Japan.

Wow. It gets under your skin. It's amazing. I went to Tokyo and then we got the bullet train to Kyoto, which one must do when you're there. I'd really like to venture east again. That's the very loose plan.

joseph quinn gris dior

You mentioned cool opportunities that have presented themselves over the last year. You recently wrapped up A Quiet Place Day One. What was it like working with Djimon Hounsou, Lupita Nyong’o, and Alex Wolff?

It was amazing. I literally just finished which is why I feel insane. I think there's that feeling when your adrenaline runs out once you finish a job, and you kind of feel a little spaced out. But it's been an amazing experience and lovely filming in London. I haven't had that in a few years, so that's been a very welcome thing. I only really have scenes with Lupita, so I didn't get to hang out with Djimon and Alex. We had a couple of dinners and they're lovely guys. They're really brilliant. I'm immensely thankful for the experience that I had with Lupita though. She is formidable and tenacious, vulnerable, and devastatingly talented. I'm pleased to say a friend, too, as a result of this experience. So that's not a bad thing.

What’s one of your favorite childhood shows or movies?

I was a Simpsons guy growing up—loved The Simpsons and Lord of the Rings. Those were big films for me.

I was watching a video clip of Grace Van Dien and in it she spoke about how talented you are and how easily you can jump into a character. Is it easy for you to embody a new character?

Oh, that's very sweet stuff. I have to echo the sentiment. She was so brilliant and made so much of the material that she had and has had a tremendous impact on that show. I believe she was only in three or four scenes. So that is pretty impressive. Do I find it easy? I don’t know. I think there are certain roles that come easier to me than others. It's the same for everyone. There are certain things that you know are in your wheelhouse and then there are other roles that you have to reach for a little bit more for it to feel authentic. I find it fun.

You did a great job with Eddie.

Thank you. I guess enough time has passed now, so I can look back at it with a little bit of a sense of humor, but at the time I remember being very nervous. It’s very easy to zoom out and look at yourself in a heavy metal wig covered in all that metal garb and doing a silly voice and be like, what the fuck am I doing? But I'm very relieved that people received him in a way that I could never have expected.

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