From her thoughts on the meaning of life to her greatest fear, what will the perfumer make of our existential questions?
What is the meaning of life?
The journey of life is to find out what the best of yourself is and share that with the world. Mine is my sense of smell.
What is the difference between right and wrong?
Everyone’s gauge is different. The danger is when people stand on blurred lines. Eventually you spend so long there, you look down and see you are on the wrong side.
Where is your happy place?
My husband Gary, my son Josh and I ride horses on a ranch in Montana for one week every year. We get up very early one morning and go up into the mountains to watch the sun come up. It’s how I imagine heaven.
Nature or nurture?
To me, nurture is much more important because it has so many more possibilities.
Is it more important to be liked or respected?
Respected. You could like me today and I’ll do something to you tomorrow that you’ll think “ugh” about. Respect is much more solid.
If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?
I’m trying to change the educational system. I want entrepreneurialism taught in schools from the ages of 7-17. I’d be happy to be remembered for that.
Who or what is your greatest love?
My husband, my son and my dog. My dog, Teri, is one of my best friends.
When did you last lie?
When I went to get my CBE from the Queen [earlier this month]. I shimmied myself into a red lace dress that I told myself I’d be able to get into. I bent down and it ripped. I lied to myself.
Does the supernatural exist?
Yes. It’s ignorant to think there is only life on earth. I believe the people we love, we will see again.
Are you fatalistic?
I’ll accept some things I can’t change, but sometimes what people call fate is actually just laziness, that they can’t be bothered to make something work.
What is your greatest fear?
To be stuck in a situation that I can’t do anything about.
Animals or babies?
Animals! I just adore anything that has four paws and a tail.
What talent do you yearn for?
To play the piano. When you can play a musical instrument people gravitate to you.
Do you like to be complimented?
Love it! Don’t you? Who doesn’t like to be told “well done” or that we look nice?
Do you have a high pain threshold?
Yes. When I had breast cancer and went through my surgery, I had a bad reaction to the [prescribed] painkiller. I believe the mind is such a powerful place and I can talk myself out of pain. So I was just on headache pills with 100 stitches running across my chest.
What book do you recommend most to others?
The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C Morais is about an Indian chef from Mumbai who loses his way, returns to a gift that he really believes in and finds himself again. I give it to anyone who is having a hard time.
Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?
Trusting people. The more successful you become, the more you need people to trust but the less you do.
What food sums up happiness?
A Sunday roast. It brings everyone together.
What have you never understood?
People who are cruel to animals. It gets me in my gut.
What is the one thing you want to know before you die?
I’d like to see my son Josh happily married with someone he loves.
Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?
When I had cancer, I wasn’t scared of dying. I can’t believe that this is just it.
Quinoa or Quavers?
If my son was listening, it would be quinoa. If not, Quavers. I love a crisp.
Jo by Jo Loves, £70 for 50ml, Jo Malone CBE’s first eponymous fragrance, is available now; joloves.com
Images: Courtesy of press agency