I couldn’t look Sean “Diddy” Combs in the eye for the first five minutes of our eight minute interview about his new scent, 3 AM. It’s not because he has some weird famous person rule where he doesn’t allow commoners like myself to stare into his own celebrity retinas. It’s because moments before I sat down to speak with him, I was escorted to a room to watch the fragrance’s NSFW promotional video, featuring Combs and his girlfriend, Cassie Ventura. If you’ve seen it, then you’ll understand why I found eye contact with Combs so problematic (I audibly gasped at the last scene). If you haven’t seen it, spoiler alert: They’re naked doing things naked people do at 3 AM.
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“It was one of the best shoots I’ve ever had,” Combs says. “I wanted to make sure it was provocative and risqué but tasteful at the same time.” He shares that he also “pushed the envelope” with this fragrance, which as you can probably guess from the name, was inspired by that unpredictable hour.
“Anything can happen at 3am, it’s when the craziest things can happen,” Combs says. And the aroma itself: “It’s exactly how you would want to smell at 3am. You know, for your woman or for somebody you’re with. It’s just fresh, it’s clean, it’s sensual. It has bergamot notes.”
If you’re surprised to hear Combs namecheck fragrance notes like a pro, you shouldn’t be. His first fragrance, Unforgiveable, launched in 2006, and raked in $100 million globally in its first year. It went on to win a FiFi Award for Fragrance of the Year in the men’s luxe category. So did I Am King, which debuted in 2009. That’s basically like winning two Best Actor Oscars, but for cologne.
Speaking of Oscars, Combs was just a tad peeved that I didn’t know he won an Oscar for the documentary Undefeated. “Didn’t you Google me before this?,” he says with a smile that could mean “I’m just joking” or “I’m about to have you escorted out of here.” I pretend to laugh and start sweating like I’m watching that promotional video all over again. And just when I was beginning to establish some eye contact!
In addition to documentaries, Combs loves Game of Thrones, Empire and Boardwalk Empire. But his all-time favorite TV show is Downton Abbey. “When I look at Downton Abbey I’m like, I wish that every night we had to go to dinner in tuxedos. I love getting dressed up. If I could wear a tuxedo every night I would.” Note: He’s so proud of his Funny or Die Downton Abbey spoof (which I had never seen, prompting him to question my Google skills again) that he made me watch it on his laptop after the interview while standing over me.
When he’s not creating best-selling fragrances and Oscar-winning documentaries, he’s working on his other businesses, which include a clothing line (Sean John), his Revolt TV network and Ciroc vodka. And soon that list may include a skincare line. I mention the photos of him wearing a sheet mask on Instagram. “I’m a beauty connoisseur. If you go into my bathroom I have the most amount of toiletries you’ve ever seen for a man or a woman.”
So would he do his own grooming collection? “Well if I did create one I couldn’t tell you right now,” he says.
Intrigued, I’m about to press for more information about his possible skincare line when someone taps me on the shoulder to let me know my time with Combs has come to an end. I ask him if we can play a quick round of This or That, assuming he’s going to say no because of that whole documentary/Downton Abbey nonsense. But he tells me to go for it. Apparently, he’s more forgiving than his first fragrance would imply.
Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset. Oh no no no, sunrise.
New York or Los Angeles?
Beach or pool?
Sleep in or workout?
Sweet or salty?
Red or white?
Call or text?
I like call better, but I text…I like call.
Twitter or Instagram?
Baked, fried or mashed?
Classic or modern
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