There’s always talk about what makes a true New Yorker. It’s a well sought-after title that is believed to be attained by living in the concrete jungle for more than 10 years and whose rite of passage includes crying on the subway for the first time (according to the 2017 The New York Times article "Becoming A New Yorker"). But, for Jillian Hervey of musical duo Lion Babe, being a true New Yorker isn’t necessarily defined by a number or specific event — it’s accepting the city for all its glamour and tribulations.
“[New York] is a complex city that continually tests you, inspires you, and connects you to so many colors and life experiences,” the singer tells TZR. Being the vocal lead and one-half of the New York-based band (the other half being producer Lucas Goodman), it’s no wonder that Michael Kors would choose her to be the voice of its latest fragrance campaign, Gorgeous!, covering the iconic pop-tune “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey. “New York’s beauty lies in its polarity. The grit and pressure make the moments of calm and nature that much more captivating.”
The visually stunning campaign video features Sara Sampaio, who is seen strutting confidently throughout the streets of Manhattan while Hervey's voice floats energetically in the background, injecting soul into the moment. With every step that aligns with the beat of Hervey’s voice, Sampaio seems to enchant those who pass by. But, what makes it particularly special is that the models' physical beauty is not what is particularly turning heads. It’s her sheer optimism and confidence (seemingly elicited by the fragrance) that takes it home. “Getting to work on something so cheeky and showing women in their power has been such a breath of fresh air,” said Sampaio in a press release.
“[Music] brings me the freedom to connect with my intuition and I love to hear what my soul sounds like,” Hervey says to TZR. “The magic that goes into creating and experiencing it makes me radiate and dance.” It is this very attitude that makes Hervey fitting to voice a fragrance campaign that centers on beautiful and confident women. “Everything I do is a celebration of women, and Gorgeous! is a culmination of everything I love about the confident feminine spirit,” said Michael Kors in a press release. “Empowering and invigorating like a daily affirmation, her fragrance is her statement to the world: Hello, Gorgeous!”
So how does the fragrance celebrate women, exactly? Perhaps it’s the nature-inspired scents crafted by perfumers Sophie Labbe, Laurent Le Guernec, and Nicolas Beaulieu. Encompassed in faceted glass and rose gold-tone, Gorgeous! top notes include pepper, bergamot, and mandarin oils. Its middle note is adorned with white florals and tobacco and finished off with a veil of cashmeran and tonka bean.
In Hervey's daily life, the little things that stimulate her creative senses are what feed her idea of beauty, she says. Everything from lighting candles, twirling in sprayed perfume, moisturizing her skin, and cleaning her space contribute to Hervey’s dream-like vision. The singer even cites childhood memories of sneaking into her mother’s closet and seeing all the clothes and make-up, as her earliest tastes of feeling beautiful. (Considering that her mother is known singer, actor, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams, it's not hard to understand why.)
Hervey’s singing voice mirrors the seductive melodies of the prominent jazz '70s singers whose voices always seem to pair well with red wine. Complemented by Goodman’s upbeat tracks, Lion Babe blends the musical elements of neo-soul and alternative R&B. Named after Hervey’s voluminous curly hair and Goodman’s horoscope sign, their debut track in 2012, "Treat Me Like Fire," received critical acclaim. Its energetic tempo and smooth vocals captivated even the likes of Childish Gambino who was later a guest on their 2014 single, Jump HI. The band has also notably teamed up with electronic duo Disclosure on the track "Just Me" for the HBO hit show, Insecure.
Hervey says that being the voice of New York City for the campaign isn’t anything short of being an honor. According to the star, the city continuously shapes her as an artist and she aims to always “embody its spirit.” The power of femininity, however, also plays a large role according to Hervey. As for the importance of a campaign such as this, Hervey says adjectives like "strong," "confident," and "gorgeous" are essential words when describing women. She particularly loves how these words carry several meanings: strength may take the form of tenderness; confidence can mean love and gorgeous may mean creativity. “Women can all feel strong, confident, and gorgeous,” she says. “But only if we embrace the fact that it will and should look different for each of us.”
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