Interview and photograph by Florence Noble.
Yes, the Jo Malone London assistant offering you a perfume swatch really is Loryn Reynolds, co-winner with Manu Vatuvei of this year’s Dancing with the Stars.
Are you from Auckland?
I am. I’m from the North Shore. I’ve been there all my life and I love it. And I’ve worked in town for all my working life.
How do you get to Britomart?
I bus in every morning. I go on the Northern Express and it’s about a 10-minute ride in. So convenient.
What do you do here?
I am a full-time stylist at Jo Malone, London. I had to go away from it for a couple of months [for Dancing With the Stars] and now I’m back.
So what does a stylist do?
We help all our clients find their perfect scent. A scent can represent a memory, or a time in their life. We do fragrance combining, to create your own unique scent for you. There’s no right or wrong combination.
Are you sure? Do some people turn up and mix things that shouldn’t be mixed?
There are things that I wouldn’t put together! Like something really intense with something very floral – that to me is not quite right, but you know what? If the client loves it, then I don’t care! They’re embracing who they are and it reminds them of a time of their life and that’s special. It’s quite personal, and you do get into a lot of people’s stories through it. And I share my journey. I’ve had an interesting life. From pageant girl through to dancer and now doing retail here. And I love it.
Do you still dance?
Yes, I teach at night, and I do dancing at night. I’m still dancing with Manu so we’re a partnership now. We’ve got a couple of gigs coming up. Life is busy, but incredible, and I never thought that I’d be in this position, to be honest. Doing everything I love. I consider myself very grateful. With Dancing With The Stars, although it was hard, I’ve grown so much and I’m a tough girl now.
What were you doing in pageants?
I was a contestant in Miss Universe New Zealand. It was whole year out of my life that I dedicated to the pageant that was all about fundraising for charity. We had Variety, the children’s charity, and I was able to sponsor a child for a year and give them everything they needed: school books, Christmas and birthday presents. It made me realise the value of even a dollar, and what that can do for somebody’s life. And with the show we did KidsCan, we visited a low decile school and it was eye opening. If everyone could give even a dollar, it can make a huge difference to a kid’s life.
How long have you been dancing?
Since I was four and a half. I’m a ballroom and Latin dancer. Never done any other styles so being thrown things like salsa and Argentine tango, I didn’t know anything so I had to quickly make it up in one night for the next day. But it got me out of that box I was in for a while.
What’s your idea of fun?
I love dancing obviously, so I would say going to the studio with Manu and having a dance and coming up with creative choreography. We have briefs that we’ve got to meet for certain gigs, and it’s just letting creative juices flow, and he and I can come up with some quite cool routines. I’m not a party girl. I love having a good time with friends and people, of course, but for me it’s about achieving something. That’s fun for me.
Has Dancing With The Stars changed your life?
Strangers recognise me and congratulate me, which is very sweet. And It’s only been a short time since the show, but it has impacted certain areas of my life. Some people are scared to talk to me who I’ve known for years and I’m like “Why are you changing? I’m the same person, I haven’t changed at all.”
Whats your favourite thing to spend money on?
I love perfume – that’s why I’m here – so every time a new scent comes out, I always buy it.
Whoa. How many have you got?
You don’t want to know! I’ve got about 52. A whole fragrance wardrobe, and the entire Jo Malone collection because that is the brand I love. I got Manu into Jo Malone too. So he’s an English Oak and Hazelnut guy. He wore it all through the show, so that reminds me of Dancing With The Stars.
Have you got your eye on anything to buy at the moment?
I’m not a thinker, I’m a doer. There’s nothing I need or want right now, but we do have some new fragrances coming out. The new one is called Poppy and Barley.
I didn’t know poppies had a smell.
Neither did I! But that’ll be my next purchase.
How does it work? Because you can only ever wear one fragrance, right?
I mix a lot! I match my notes together. And if it doesn’t work, who cares? You shower, move on. You’ve always got to try new things.
Where’s your favourite place to eat around here?
Amano is amazing. Amano’s hazelnut slice. And their coffee is so good. I have a sweet tooth so I like their sweet things.
Favourite place for a drink?
I’ve been to Caretaker. They do amazing cocktails. I’m a cocktail girl. I don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious. He made up something. And I love the vintage feel. I’m a bit of a Golden Age of Hollywood fan – Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn. And it just reminds me of the old days. And I get my coffee from White’s & Co every morning.
What’s something not many people know about you?
I’m quite spiritual. I do a lot of meditation and yoga. And not a lot of people figure me for someone who is like that, but I do it to balance out my mind so I can have a very open perspective on life. During the show, that’s the only thing that kept me sane at times. Because being in an extreme situation like that, the pressure will get to you. I did break, I’ll be honest and I’m very open about this – it was an amazing fulfilling journey, 100 percent I would do it again – but it was a hard journey. A lot of pressure. And I used this so I could be in my own bubble when I needed to be.
I want to offer free dance classes to kids who really want to pursue a dream and a goal, and dancing is one of the ways that they can. Showing your emotion through movement can be so healing. That’s what I would like to achieve next.