John Boyega interview: the actor on London, life, fame and fragrance
From Peckham to prime position in Hollywood, the Bafta-winning actor John Boyega talks fame and fragrance, as he becomes the latest ambassador for Jo Malone London
What is your first memory of scent?
John Boyega: 'My first job was before school, I would deliver post, milk and sweets. And then I used to sell a bit at school. Sell a little bit of candies, Rockies, Haribo’s. So my childhood smells like those old-school sweets, those drumsticks, gobstoppers, spicy soup.'
What is your relationship to scent?
JB: 'Scent is part of my everyday style. My personal style is quite casual but I like to mix it up with interesting fits by Japanese-influenced jackets, fitted trousers and chains. I like that I can change my scent to suit my style. I’m guilty, I like to layer my fragrance. You can make some really interesting smells. If my life was a bottle of cologne it would be called: Conflicts and Success. A new Boyega line.'
What made you join the Jo Malone London Family?
JB: 'I love the creativity and storytelling element of Jo Malone London. It’s something I resonate with, it’s how I work best: with discussion, collaboration and down-to-earth honesty. Jo Malone London always delivers unexpected and unique ingredient choices and scents. It’s refined, but it’s surprising too. My life is the same, a subtle contradiction: my job, my profession, and then I still come home to this town; I still go to the supermarket late at night in my pyjamas. In some ways, everything’s changed, but then again nothing has.'
What Jo Malone London products would you recommend?
JB: 'Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense is a solid favourite. It’s a really good scent. I like to wear it on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t attract too much attention, but at the same time it gets people looking and smelling. I also like a bit of Oud & Bergamot; oud is a lovely smell.'
What do you look for in a script?
JB: 'I look for a number of things in a script. But, for me, the main thing is the character arc. I don’t want my character to begin and end the movie the same. I want a change, something different, something that happens with the character, that means you have to go on an interesting journey with him.'
What’s your favourite part of being on set?
JB: 'My favourite part about being on set is collaborating with the people. I’ve always watched films and never had clarity in my younger days on how the magic starts and is created. So to be a part of that and witness it is the biggest rush.'
What is something you didn’t expect about being famous?
JB: 'One thing I didn’t expect is that some things don’t change. Sometimes you have to wait in the queue like everyone else and that’s fine. I mean, I guess I got told so many things about being famous I thought that everything was going to change for me. But I still go shopping late at night in my PJs. Nothing’s really changed.'
What wouldn’t you go a day without?
JB: 'I won’t go a day without wearing a comfortable pair of socks. It doesn’t matter if they’re different socks because sometimes in the wash, things get confusing. But as long as they’re both comfortable. I’m cool. I also wear scent every day.'
What do you miss most about England when you’re not here?
JB: 'Sometimes I miss the weather, because I want to put on a jacket. And not always be surrounded by blue skies and sun. I miss the moody faces, I can’t lie, there’s something about the reality and honesty that I like. I just miss London, I miss home.'
What’s the first thing you do when you get back to London?
JB: 'The first thing I do is take a drive. I go back around south London, then drive around Crystal Palace, all the way around Dulwich, go down to Brixton. Just go for a drive, get the feel of the city, see what’s going on, put the radio on. I just catch a vibe.'