At a recent press event, beauty editors and male style influencers were trying hard to play it cool despite sitting two feet away from Thor himself: Chris Hemsworth. Despite a summer chock-full of guys named Chris, it’s impossible to feel jaded as he tells us he’s charmingly “chuffed” — that’s Aussie for “pleased” — for his first-ever fragrance campaign with Hugo Boss’s BOSS Bottled Tonic.
Hemsworth isn’t the only one experiencing a first here. He’s representing a scent that earnestly is based around the concept of being a “good person” (with the hashtag #ManofToday) — the first I’ve ever seen in an industry where most fragrances are based around lust, love, or sex. “Success is nothing without integrity. Your belongings don’t make you a better man. Your behavior does,” Hemsworth says in the ad, explaining how today’s men are different from the men of yesterday.
The Cut talked to Hemsworth for ten minutes, about the scent of Australia, the best waves he’s ever caught, and how a man of today thinks about aging.
What was your first scent memory?
I love stepping off the plane and being instantly hit by those scents that take me back to different parts of my life. There’s a surf spot near where I grew up where there’s a pathway down to the beach that is full of a particular plant — maybe a bramble bush? It’s quite a sweet scent. But when I smell it, I’m taken back to surfing with my brothers and dad. It reminds me of who I was at the time — the girl I was in love with, who my friends were. It’s a vivid memory.
As for my first scent memory, I think it was the Australian bushland — the scent of gum trees, eucalyptus leaves, and the hot summer. You can hear the leaves and vines crackling. The eucalyptus is so iconically burnt in my brain. I grew up in Victoria, out of the suburbs; we had an acre of property near a national forest. We didn’t really have any neighbors. It was quite isolated. Then we lived in an Aboriginal community and that was very different, with a lot of diverse countryside and coastal landscaping.
Do you ever wear scents to connect to your characters?
No, not really. I certainly don’t wear cologne on set. You want to be more of a blank canvas — unless it helped that character in some way. But I haven’t played that character yet. I mean, Thor isn’t one to wear cologne.
Probably not. What do you think he would smell like?
Metal from the hammer — maybe a bit metallic, coppery, or the scent of electricity. He doesn’t sweat. He’s a god. [Laughs.] He smells like a god. He probably smells amazing.
Do you have a beauty routine?
Moisturizer that I steal from my wife and she tells me I should wear. Prevention is the best thing. Lots of sunscreen — that’s my tip. It’s too late to fix it if you’re already sunburned. I usually use zinc; a lot of them are up to 46-hours waterproof. It’s great since it’s a physical barrier against the sun.
What was the most memorable wave you’ve caught?
A place called Currumbin or “the alley.” My friend has a Jet Ski so he would ride it around the wave. You then sit sidesaddle on it with your board and hop off, and then you can stand up straight into a barrel. It’s a really fast wave. In Indonesia, there’s a place called Sumba that’s a beautiful reef with very few people around. I’ve had some amazing waves there.
Then, I went to Cloud Break in Fiji with Kelly Slater. I was at home on the couch at 9 p.m. and I got a text from him saying, “I’m going out tomorrow, you want to come?” I looked at my wife and was like, “Can I go to Fiji?” She says, “Who’s asking?”
It ended up being one of the most memorable sessions in my life. Watching him dominate that place was pretty special. The waves were massive. I probably shouldn’t have been out there. I was shouldering him and he was telling me what to go for. He was my hero when I was a kid and now we’re mates! It’s crazy.
How do you think about aging?
In the last few years, I’ve felt like it’s a reality. Before that, it was like, You’re going to live forever and be indestructible. When you have kids, the reality of it hits you. This is life and it’s moving forward. The clock is ticking and I don’t mean that in a morbid way. It’s just like, Holy shit, got to make the most of it.
I’m 33, and it felt like yesterday I was 12. As a kid you feel immortal — in high school, the most important thing was a relationship or whatever else was going on at the time. But now you start to notice everyone around you aging when maybe you never noticed it before. But it’s good. It makes me really appreciate things. Time goes quickly.
What about the physical effects of aging?
Uh, well, I notice injuries. I don’t heal as quick. But I do feel fitter than I have in years. I’m aware of aging, but I’m not going to sit down and take it. I’m making sure that I work even harder to have longevity and make sure this body is willing and able for many years to come.
This interview has been condensed and edited.