Birthday Girl Scarlett Johansson Talks Risk-Taking & Short Hair

Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images
Scarlett Johansson, you may have heard, recently gave birth to a baby girl, Rose. But, upon seeing the actress — who turns 30 today — in person, we noticed one life change that took immediate precedent (yes, even over childbirth).
"I think I just got tired of wearing a ponytail all the time," she says, smoothing back the freshly-buzzed sides of the haircut she debuted over the summer. "I [was] always stuffing it under a wig, so I just cut it off. Everybody kept saying, 'Don't cut your hair! You might hate it!' But, then I thought, Why am I letting other people tell me what to do? "
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The low-maintenance style is perfect for the new mother. "I can just wash and go," she says.
It turns out, this no-fuss philosophy applies to all things beauty in the actress' life. "I've never had a crazy routine," she says. And, after giving birth, she's realized just how precious free time is. "I'm on somebody else's schedule," she says. But, she's quick to add: "It's hard for...any parent with a new kid. Your brain is totally preoccupied. But, I'm very fortunate to have a job where I can take time off, and I can have my baby at work and people are more understanding. A lot of people don't have that luxury."
That makes those rare moments she does spend on herself even more crucial. "If I have a few minutes to transition from day to a holiday party, I'd probably use red lipstick," she says, pointing to Dolce & Gabbana's Lipstick in Real Red. (She's currently a face of the brand's Makeup and Fragrance Collector's Editions.) "Then, maybe a couple lashings of mascara, and if I had the time, a little [cat-eye] flick. But, that would be it."
She seems to put much more thought into her fragrances, alternating them based on roles she plays. For example, for her turn as Maggie in Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, "I wore a lot of old Southern fragrances, like magnolia and gardenia. I found this old company in New Orleans that does Victorian scents, and I wore them, and it actually makes a difference."
For her, scent goes beyond embodying a character — which is refreshing to hear from someone who's been endorsing luxury perfumes for a few years. "Fragrances are of a certain time," she says. "Recently, my partner [Romain Dauriac] bought a bunch of fragrances his dad used to wear, like [Yves Saint Laurent] Jazz, and it's crazy because they smell like a different era."
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And now, as a whirlwind year in the life of Scarlett Johansson comes to an end — an engagement, a baby, three major film roles, and many more projects in the pipeline — she may be entering a different era of her own, especially considering she's reached a birthday milestone today. "My work has been sort of far-reaching in these past couple of years," she says. "As an actor, I've learned to be more flexible...to take greater risks. I've learned that if you don't take a risk with the choices you make, even in one particular scene, you never know what you could gain."
She says, after a pause: "So, maybe I'm more accepting of failure. I would never know if I didn't take the chance."
All of this may sound like solid New Year's-resolution material, but the actress says she doesn't believe in such things. For the rest of us, there's a great deal of inspiration to take from Scarlett, who's clearly in charge of her career, her personal life, and even her own damn hair — all without the hint of a fumble. Yes, change can be a beautiful thing.


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