Celebrate Pride with Boy Smells

Celebrate Pride with Boy Smells

GEN V

Celebrate Pride with Boy Smells

This year, the cult-favorite candle company partners with GLSEN to fight against anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.

This year, the cult-favorite candle company partners with GLSEN to fight against anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.

Text: Kala Herh

We’re all familiar with the story of Adam and Eve–Eve eats the Forbidden Fruit and tempts Adam to do the same. As a result, they’re cast from paradise. Well this year, Boy Smells reimagines the biblical tale and turns it on its head. Casting Meg Stalter as their “Bi-Sexual Eve” and Charlie Carver as their “Gay Adam,” the company sets out to empower the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“At Boy Smells, we are always interested in re-writing history, especially if it means we can reframe outdated constructs that don’t serve,” co-founder of Boy Smells Matthew Herman shares with V. “Queerness is often portrayed as a sin, and that it goes against nature.”

To celebrate Pride this year, the company debuts its extra special Marble Fruit candle. Rebuking the conventional notions associated with sexuality and gender, the candle company adopts the word “fruit,” which is a term commonly used against the queer community, and combines it with the word “marble,” which is often associated with resilience. To translate the community’s strength vis-à-vis the senses, the company created a candle that was a fruity blend of nectarine and pear, with a tinge of warm musk and woods. 

“Marble Fruit reflects the convergence of femininity and masculinity by highlighting an unconventional association of aromas,” Herman elaborates.

The Marble Fruit candle is part of Boy Smells’ larger “Nurture Your Nature” campaign, which supports the GLSEN and the organization’s efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in K-12 schools. Throughout the months of June and July, 15% of the sales for Marble Fruit candles and Genderful Fine Fragrance will be donated to GLSEN and their efforts. 

“By uniting to embrace each individual’s unique nature, we are laying the groundwork to forge change for the future of queer generations to come,” Herman reflects on the importance of GLSEN. “Having LGBTQIA representation in education is so important to make queer youth feel seen and loved.”  

For more on Boy Smells’ latest campaign, read our interview with their co-founder. 

V Magazine: Hi Matthew, thanks for being with us. I understand that Boy Smells launched their “Nurture Your Nature” Pride campaign. What’s the significance of the campaign title?

Matthew Herman: At Boy Smells, we are always interested in re-writing history, especially if it means we can reframe outdated constructs that don’t serve. Queerness is often portrayed as a sin, and it goes against nature.  So we went all the way back to the scene of original sin, the Garden of Eden, recast with Bi-Sexual Eve (played by Meg Stalter) and Gay Adam (played by Charlie Carver).

V: Nurture your Nature is our call to accept, love, and nourish your truth.  Whatever your sexuality is, it is a part of your identity and it deserves to be celebrated.

MH: The man-made concept of sin is a social construct that informs us how to nourish dialogue and action surrounding gender, identity, and culture, and this Pride is no exception.

V: What is the mission statement of the campaign?

MH: By using “Nurture Your Nature” as our campaign title we want to showcase a battle cry on behalf of queer youth and their advocates combatting anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation sweeping the country. The theme of the campaign aligns with GLSEN’s mission and promotes affirming and positively cultivating the authentic identities of LGBTQIA+ youth.

Photographed by Carl Ostberg.

V: I read that the campaign also supports GLSEN and will be donating 15% of sales from the Marble Fruit candle and Marble Fruit Genderful Fine Fragrance to their initiatives. What do you love about this organization?

MH: GLSEN exists to guarantee every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools via action at the national, state, and local level. Boy Smells wholeheartedly supports GLSEN in the organization’s efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in schools. By uniting to embrace each individual’s unique nature, we are laying the groundwork to forge change for the future of queer generations to come. Having LGBTQIA representation in education is so important to make queer youth feel seen and loved.  Early understanding and acceptance is so important.

V: Why are their initiatives more important than ever?

MH: Anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation is sweeping the country and harming the LGBTQIA+ community in more ways than ever. We are continuing to see state legislation that targets the community and foreshadowing more legislation on the state and federal levels to come based on recent events. Since 1990, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQIA+ students and helped launch an international movement to address LGBTQIA+ issues in schools. They are committed to advancing equity and justice and advocating for gender and disability justice in education.

V: How did the collaboration with Meg Stalter and Charlie Carver come to be? Were you a fan of theirs originally?

MH: As we were planning our Pride campaign this year, Boy Smells wanted to amplify its voice through the voices of influential LGBTQIA+ luminaries and advocates like Charlie Carver and Meg Stalter. Both Meg and Charlie evoke Marble Fruit’s ethos of boldly owning one’s identity with unapologetic self-acceptance.  I am a big fan of both Meg and Charlie. We were so thrilled to have Charlie and Meg a part of our PRIDE campaign and they both were so down to have fun with the concept; they did not hold back on set at all. It was so much fun, everyone was laughing all day.

V: How would you describe the Marble Fruit candle you guys created? What does it stand for and how does it smell?

MH: The Marble Fruit candle epitomizes the celebration of owning one’s identity and inner self-acceptance, reflecting on the theme “nurture your nature.” Marble Fruit is a metaphor crafted to illustrate the juxtaposition of dueling concepts as “marble” symbolizes the armored  perception one inhibits as a form of self-protection followed by “fruit,” a derogatory word historically used against the queer community. Denoting scent notes of pear, pink peppercorn, and nectarine combined with jasmine and rose centifolia with a drying down base of sandalwood, cedar, and ambrox, Marble Fruit reflects the convergence of femininity and masculinity by highlighting an unconventional association of aromas.

V: Previously you've used the word ‘genderful’ to describe your fragrances (as opposed to “genderless”). What is that so imperative to your brand identity and why is it so important today?

MH: While ‘genderless’ or ‘gender-neutral’ ignore gender altogether, ‘genderful’ champions pro-gender-multiplicity — it’s about embracing rather than erasing your unique identity and acknowledging that one’s full spectrum of self is always unfolding and developing. Boy Smells signature genderful fragrances intertwine traditionally masculine and feminine olfactive notes together in unexpected ways to create post-binary scents for modern identities.  It’s important now more than ever to be your true self and celebrate your boundless identity and honor the uniqueness of your personal mixology.

Photographed by Carl Ostberg.

V: And more generally, as we’re rounding out the month of Pride. What does Pride mean to you?

MH: I think Pride means something different to me every year. My own relationship with my queer experience is also always evolving. I have been feeling a lot more playful in my identity lately and am bringing a lot of that into June with me. But, it is also a difficult time with the overturn of Roe v. Wade.  I worry about the other liberties that may be at stake in the future. It is extremely important to celebrate ourselves and our community as things are more fragile than ever.

V: In your opinion, what’s the importance of the month and its festivities?

MH: It is a time of joy. A time to celebrate the choice of love over hate. It is a time to be in our queer bodies together. I love Pride.

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