Adria Arjona exudes a quiet confidence. It’s something I notice instantly, even though we’re speaking over Zoom and she’s thousands of miles away in Paris, where she’s staying for the next month to work on an upcoming film. Her calm aura is made even more impressive when we speak and it’s obvious that unlike most people, Arjona has stayed incredibly busy over the past two years of the pandemic: she filmed the upcoming Marvel blockbuster Morbius pre-lockdown, the newest Star Wars spin-off series in the height of the pandemic, and just wrapped the forthcoming remake of Father of the Bride, centered around a big Cuban American family (yes, she’s the bride). 2021 was no one’s year, but all signs point to 2022 being the year of Adria.
Along with her busy work schedule, Arjona is also the face of Armani Beauty’s beloved fragrance, My Way, and its newest iteration, My Way Intense (the latter being the reason for our long-distance conversation). “I tend to like woody smells mixed with a floral,” she says. “I wear My Way during the day and My Way Intense for an event or for dinner or when I want to have that armor of confidence.” Ahead, we discuss scent memories and the emotional power of fragrance, plus her go-to foundation, contouring tricks, and more.
What are the best smells in the world to you?
I think coffee is one of my favorite smells. Just waking up and having coffee... It’s like, ugh, okay, I’m going to be fine. Another one of my favorites is orange blossom. I think it’s so refreshing. It reminds me of childhood. I think it’s a happy fragrance, and coincidentally, My Way has a lot of orange blossom — hence why I love the fragrance so much.
How would you describe My Way Intense and how does it differ from the original My Way?
I think My Way Intense is like a layer of confidence. It makes me feel like a woman. It’s quite sexy, and I find it to be a really sensual fragrance. It’s very feminine with a touch of that sandalwood, which sort of gives it a lift. I think it’s very elegant. The original My Way is very joyful and inviting — an open fragrance. It smells very clean and fresh and it’s definitely a forever fragrance.
Do you have any advice for ways to embrace the spirit of travel, even if you’re staying home more than normal?
I think we forget that now thanks to the Internet, we don’t have to leave [our neighborhoods] to broaden our horizons and expand our knowledge. I think it makes us more empathetic — no, I don’t think, I know that it makes us more empathetic towards each other when we know a little bit more about our backgrounds, both culturally and personally. So, I would say read books, watch documentaries, watch movies from different countries, listen to music in Spanish, in German, in all different languages. Go to a different shop and have a conversation with that person. Have a genuine connection, even if it’s behind a mask. [I love] watching movies from different countries. Try reading books from outside of your comfort zone. Maybe instead of being on Instagram for 30 minutes, watch a documentary about Guatemala.
What are some of the biggest beauty lessons you’ve learned in your twenties?
I personally have gravitated more towards “less is more” — really embracing my natural skin, just the way I was born. I personally feel more confident that way than hiding behind a lot of makeup. It just doesn’t feel like myself. I prefer having less. Sometimes when I put on a little too much makeup, it makes me feel like I’m too much, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. But I think everything that I’ve learned is that beauty is so personal to the individual, and I think we all have to respect it and embrace it. If you feel beautiful that way, then amen to that. You do look beautiful.
Sometimes, makeup is part of someone’s culture and identity. Sometimes it’s non-existent and they feel perfectly fine without it. I think in all of my twenties, [I realized] as long as everyone feels beautiful with whatever they choose to wear or whatever the definition of beauty is for them, then that’s beautiful. I think we should stay away from judging or giving an opinion on it. If they think it’s beautiful, then it’s beautiful. You just have a different perspective.
Do you have any skincare products that you swear by while you’re filming?
I drink insane amounts of water when I film because I see a big difference. I always ice my face. I also see a very big difference when I’m icing my face — it’s so simple. You’re not sleeping that much and sometimes your eating schedule is all over the place because you’re now having dinner at 4 a.m. or having breakfast at 4 a.m., so I think icing is really important. Product-wise — and really it’s not because I work with Armani, it really is because it’s the best foundation ever — Luminous Silk Foundation is my go-to. It’s the one that looks the most like skin, so I can sort of build it up if I’m having a bad skin day and woke up all red. If I’m having a good day, it’s more light.
I usually do a double cleanse when I work because it’s just so much makeup. I’m really into Emma Hardie’s oil-based cleanser — the Moringa cleanser — and then I use the Tatcha Rice Cleanser. I love that one. I do a toner, usually a natural toner, and then I will add either Vitner’s Daughter or Crema Nera by Armani. I think that works wonders, especially when traveling, when you’re tired, and you need more moisture. I’ll probably use Crema Nera all fall and winter.
How do you like to ice your face?
I usually grab a big cube of ice and a cloth. I put it at the bottom and I’ll put it on my hand to make sure that there are no sharp edges. Then, I’ll just put the ice all over my face. I’ve seen people do a bowl of ice and then just stick their face in it. I like to go one ice cube at a time. I can contour my face, so I’ll maybe concentrate on [my cheekbones] if I want to and focus a lot on the under-eyes for the puffiness... I feel like when I put the products on, they really sink into my skin better. That’s another one. I like to put on products when my skin is not completely dry. I don’t completely dry my face or my body, for moisture.
You have a lot of exciting projects coming up…the newest Star Wars series, Father of the Bride, and Morbius. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like to work on these projects?
They’re so exciting. I filmed Morbius before lockdown, and that was an incredible experience. Daniel [Espinosa], our director, is so talented, and it was just a really fun movie to film. I wish I could say more but I can’t. I’m like, what can I say so that I won’t get in trouble? They have the wrong person. I’m so bad at keeping secrets.
Star Wars is another one that I can’t really say much about, but that was the first time I had filmed during COVID. I would get tested every day, and I would show up in masks and face shields. In the beginning, it was hard to adjust because I’m usually really close to the crew and I love knowing everyone around me. I feel like when you’re filming you create this tight family. You spend so many hours together and so many days together. Everyone was in masks, so I would put up my mask and put up my face shield and be like, “Can you just flash me really quick?” I’m like, “Okay, okay, now I know what you look like.” So, that was an experience...but Star Wars was amazing — one of the best experiences I’ve had, and I wish I could tell you more. The day will come when I can.
Father of the Bride was probably one of the most fun movies I’ve ever filmed. Everyone’s Hispanic and we’re all speaking Spanish — the poor crew that didn’t speak Spanish probably wanted to kill us all. We would have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. We were like, we filmed for 18 hours, how are we still together? This is insane! I love you all so much, but too much! So that was really fun, to be able to speak Spanish on set and culturally everyone is so similar. It was just a blast. Gloria [Estefan] is my new idol. I love her. She’s always been an icon, but when you meet her in person she’s just the coolest woman in the world. She’s a bad-ass.
Who are your other personal beauty icons?
I have so many. I think Bianca Jagger is one. I love her. Oh god, there are just so many. I love Charlize Theron because I like the way she’s been able to transform herself on film and really break that boundary. There are so many….My mother. I think my mother is my main beauty icon, just because of the way that she looks at beauty. She thinks everything’s beautiful and gives it importance, but not too much importance. She has always taught me that it’s from within. I also think she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Maybe I’m looking at her with daughter's eyes, but I think so.
What’s one thing that you’re looking forward to?
I’m excited to be in Paris. I’m excited to explore. I’ve come to this city before for three or four days, but I’m excited to be here for a month and hopefully learn a little French. I will eat all the croissants in France. I’ve been in L.A. so much in this past year and a half and London, but I’ve filmed in London a million times and I love the city and I know the city, so it feels nice to be somewhere where I’ve been before but I am now living. I’m excited to explore it.
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.