Malgosia Bela on the Perfume That Reminds Her of Her Childhood

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Malgosia Bela is wearing a speckled wool men’s suit and printed shirt with revere collar by Paul SmithPhotography by Casper Sejersen, Styling by Nell Kalonji

Growing up in Communist Poland, oranges were the ultimate luxury for the model – now, her favourite fragrance reminds her daily to live simply

“I grew up in Krakow, when Poland was a Communist country. I was four years old when martial law was introduced. I cannot say that I had a bad childhood, but commodities were limited. I have pictures of long queues and empty stores with nothing on the shelves but vinegar. But people helped one another; if somebody found something on the black market they always shared it with their neighbours. It was quite fun, actually, for a kid. Once in a while we were lucky. My mother was a professor of English Literature and she had a lot of friends abroad who would send us packages. At Christmas they sent boxes of oranges. I’m pretty loyal when it comes to perfume; for the last ten years I’ve been using Bigarade Concentrée by Frédéric Malle. It’s very fresh with a strong scent of grapefruit or orange. For me citrus fruits are still exotic – a symbol of luxury.”

Malgosia Bela was classically trained as a pianist before leaving her native Poland and embarking on a career in fashion at the age of 21. She made her name modelling for labels including Comme des Garçons and Balenciaga, and has since become an industry favourite. Now based in Warsaw, she has turned her hand to acting, appearing in a number of Polish films, TV series and several shorts over the past 13 years. 2018 will see Bela enter into Hollywood proper: she appears alongside Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, Chloë Moretz and Tilda Swinton in Luca Guadagnino’s remake of the 1977 film Suspiria; she plays Mother, in an examination of the uncompromising force of motherhood.

Hair: Mark Hampton at Julian Watson Agency. Make-up: Lotten Holmqvist at Management Artists using Bobbi Brown. Digital tech: Frederike Heide. Photographic assistant: John Monroe. Styling assistant: Rebecca Perlmutar. Production: Artistry London. Post-production: Studio Private. 

This story originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale now.