Willow Smith is a very cool teen. She can’t help it. She says cool things, plays cool things, teaches cool things, and shoots cool things. She posts a lot of fan art on her Instagram; way more than she posts actual pictures of herself, which is pretty cool now that I think about it. She has cool parents and a cool older brother. I’d also argue that she has a pretty cool last name, too.
This impressive works cited makes Smith’s latest beauty role a very appropriate one. She’s one of the six “mutinists” fronting Maison Margiela’s new Mutiny fragrance. The scent is all about the “redefinition of conformist archetypes” and “defiance of a new world order,” both things I’m certain are somewhere on her CV. But what else is the 18-year-old Gen Z philosopher thinking about these days aside from tuberose and rebellion? In an airy hotel room that honestly smelled amazing (“It’s Mutiny! By Margiela!” a very self-aware Smith informed me), the Cut caught up with Smith to discuss hair, parents, and bedtimes, naturally.
Parents are our first teachers. What have you learned about beauty, self-image, or self-esteem from each of yours?
I’ve definitely learned a lot from my mom. She’s showed me — and told me — that your inside is your outside; what’s going on inside shows on the outside. My dad has showed me that a big part of self-love and beauty is knowing what you want and being able to execute those things, and I’ve definitely observed that in other women and other people as well.
Being able to know how to efficiently communicate what you’re trying to create, communicate what you’re trying to do, and being able to have vision is all a part of it. Knowing how to execute things is very important. Those two things are definitely what they’ve showed me — it’s not really physical beauty, but what’s inside.
How would you describe your current relationship with your hair?
Best friends! We’re best friends. I love my locs and they love me. I’m just really calm about it now. When I had my hair out and not in locs, it was such a hassle every single day, trying to do … whatever to it [laughs]. Having the locs is just amazing. I can go about my life now and not worry about it.
What was the last song you listened to?
“Heaven or Las Vegas” by The Cocteau Twins.
What was the last book you read?
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which is a beautiful book — it’s spectacular. It completely blew my mind.
How did you hear about it?
My mom! She had it in her library, and she’s read it like, three times. And she always used to tell me, You have to read this book, you have to read this book, you have to read this book … and I was like Okay, okay, okay … And then I finally went, “You know what? I’m gonna read this book,” after years of her being like, “It’s so good, you need to do it.” I recommend it to all women … and men, too. But mostly women.
What time do you go to bed?
I go to bed … latest? 10 o’ clock. Earliest? 9:30 p.m. And then I’m up at 7 a.m. I literally can’t go past 10:45 p.m. — I’m just out of it, and just so tired.
You’ve worn a lot of fun liner looks — how did you get so good at eyeliner?
I’m terrible at eyeliner! I know how to draw lines and dots and tribal looking stuff on my face, but my eyeliner is terrible — I can’t do it.
Well, the good news is that’s what everyone is doing lately. I think you may be unconsciously good at it now…
I try! I’ve tried many times and it never comes out how I think it should but, that’s good — thank you for that! [laughs].
What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Really early morning. Before the sun is up, but when the sky still has the light of it. It’s my favorite because it’s so calm and nothing is really happening. It’s so peaceful.
A lot has already been said about younger generations’ relationship with Instagram, but how do you feel about your dad being on Instagram?
I think it’s hilarious — I think it’s absolutely hilarious. I think it gives a lot of people joy, and it gives him joy. I love that he’s doing it.
Do you ever feel embarrassed by it?
Not at all. He’s a funny dude and I’m so grateful to be his offspring. He’s definitely … silly. But I love it — I love the silly.
What advice, beauty or otherwise, would you give your future-self?
Vision and intelligence are the most importance things. Keep both of them, and keep growing. Never stop.