Chloe Sevigny Talks About Middle Age, Wanting Bigger Roles and Her Rose-Scented Perfume


Before the air around Chloë Sevigny can be spritzed with her rose-scented perfume, it must first be cleared.

Ms. Sevigny gasped when she learned that some people interpreted a remark she recently made on Instagram as passive-aggressive.

“Always nice to be included,” she had written beneath a Variety magazine cover that she shared with Kim Kardashian. They had been paired for an “actors on actors” conversation, which Variety released online on Wednesday.

“Because I just come off as snarky?” Ms. Sevigny laughed. “The inside scoop is I wasn’t supposed to be there.” She had replaced another actress who was sick with Covid. And she was grateful to be included.

“I would like to have bigger parts in bigger movies,” said Ms. Sevigny, who wants to be perceived as a “character actor.” This year she starred as the midcentury socialite C.Z. Guest on “Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans,” a series on FX and Hulu. She just finished filming another series, playing Kitty Menendez, who was killed by her sons in 1989. The day after our interview, she was set to fly to San Francisco for rehearsals on a new Luca Guadagnino film, co-starring Julia Roberts and Ayo Edebiri.

When we met, Ms. Sevigny, 49, was sitting in front of a mirror and having her hair wrapped into a tight bun. She wore a striped robe and gem-encrusted Crocs by Simone Rocha. She was preparing for a cocktail party being thrown that evening on the roof of Fouquet’s New York for her fragrance, Little Flower, made by the indie perfumer Régime des Fleurs.

Ms. Sevigny was living in a sparsely decorated sublet, scattered with her 4-year-old son’s toys, while the family’s apartment was being expanded. She and her husband, the gallerist Siniša Mačković, had purchased the unit next door from an older couple torn between having more space in the country and more access to care in the city, Ms. Sevigny said. The couple’s dilemma made her wonder what she would do at their age.

Ms. Sevigny has been trying to embrace middle age — because that is what people do now — but finds it difficult.

“I think aging is really one of the worst things of all time,” she said. “Maybe it’s easier when you’re over the hump and just an elegant older lady. Middle age is really tricky.”

Ms. Sevigny will turn 50 in November. Yet for most of her life, she has been associated with what is now and next in New York City, having been declared a swaggering “it girl” at 19.

Last month, the pop star Charli XCX gathered a coterie of “it girls” — models, actors, internet personalities, Julia Fox — for the video for her song “360.” At the end of the video, Ms. Sevigny emerges from a convertible, takes a drag from a cigarette and poses with a group of them, who were mostly about 20 years younger than her.

“I was told everyone was doing bratty versions of themselves,” she said. “I was just trying not to look 1,000 years old.”

And here is the narrative difficulty with Ms. Sevigny’s promotion of a rose fragrance: The scent is often associated with grandmothers.

“We like to use the word ‘fresh,’” said Ms. Sevigny, who wore rose fragrances by Comme des Garçons and Hermes for years before developing her own with her friend Alia Raza, the Régime des Fleurs founder, in 2019.

“It’s not a moneymaker for me in any way. But I love Alia. I love these both female-owned businesses,” she said, referring to Moda Operandi, the online retailer that hosted the party. Moda Operandi began selling Little Flower in 2023, and said the perfume is its best-selling fragrance.

Years ago, Ms. Sevigny went to a baby shower for Moda Operandi’s co-founder, Lauren Santo Domingo, and brought home one of the live canaries that decorated the space.

Ms. Santo Domingo remembers the bird. She also remembers being a teenager, commuting into New York City from Greenwich, Conn., on the same train as Ms. Sevigny, watching for which train car Ms. Sevigny would board at Darien, her home station.

“I don’t think she knows I was stalking her,” said Ms. Santo Domingo, whose company had stocked the rooftop terrace with floral cocktails, a whimsical purple cake (the baker also made the cake for Ms. Sevigny’s wedding, which was dissected in minutiae) and guests including the actress Natasha Lyonne, the designer Batsheva Hay and a host of “Red Scare,” Anna Khachiyan.

“I wish I could just go to every party and not have my picture taken,” Ms. Sevigny had said that afternoon while getting dressed. She wore a Prada skirt and cape, accessorizing with slime-colored heels and peach-colored sunglasses. “But this is not the one.”

Lately, she feels more visible than ever, particularly with the demands of modern promotional tours. The internet may have loved when Ms. Sevigny went on a rant about Los Angeles in a February video for Elle. But she takes beta blockers to calm herself down before going on late night TV.

“I feel so uncomfortable being myself on camera,” she said.

You know who always seems comfortable being herself on camera?

“‘You’re so good at being you,’” Ms. Sevigny said she told Ms. Kardashian during their Variety conversation, which the internet has already investigated for any tinge of shade. “Plenty of movie stars just play themselves over and over and over again.”


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