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Hari Nef: Growing Pains x Gucci

Actress and model Hari Nef on the beauty of not conforming

Listen to the third episode of our new podcast, Growing Pains, featuring Hari Nef

Enter the luscious world of Gucci Bloom, the first Gucci fragrance developed wholly under the vision of creative director Alessandro Michele. To celebrate the trio of fragrances, Dazed Beauty has partnered with Gucci to profile three women who champion the values of the Bloom family: self-expression, authenticity and vitality. Three ultimate feminine icons for the modern world. Our first episode was with musician Kelsey Lu, our second with visionary choreographer Holly Blakey and our third is with the amazing actress and model Hari Nef.

“When I was younger, just a couple of years younger, I wondered what it would look like, what change from the inside could look like?” Hari's modelling career has been much documented, but, for 25-year-old Hari, who is one of the faces of Gucci Bloom alongside Dakota Johnson and Petra Collins, her unique path has led her to Hollywood, and it's made her introspective too.

Hari's first feature film, Assassination Nation, is out in cinemas now. The dark comedy and Sundance hot tip is a take on the Salem witch trials for a digital generation and sees Hari starring alongside a long list of other bright young things including model Suki Waterhouse and musician Abra. Before then Hari was busy appearing in Amazon Prime’s hit show, Transparent, writing for DAZED magazine and walking the runway for the likes of Eckhaus Latta, Hood By Air, and Adam Selman (she signed to IMG in 2015). 

As Hari is busily and wittily fulfilling her position as a role model for a younger generation less happy to be boxed in and dictated to, she's also ploughing serious time and effort into her burgeoning acting career. “Is the platform of somebody who is there primarily to entertain or entice others, are those people effective voices for pressing issues that they care about, but do they know about them fully?" she asks. "Just being a voice or saying something or starting a conversation, is that enough?”

In our new podcast series, Growing Pains, we decided to talk to Hari about her childhood in Boston, cultural tokenism, how she carved out her own niche in the TV and film business, stopped being her own worst critic and why fitting in is overrated.

Listen to the podcast below, and read an excerpt from the conversation between Hari and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, contributing editor at Dazed Beauty and the deputy editor of gal-dem magazine.

What was growing up in Newton (a town just outside of Boston) like, as a place to be a young person?
Hari Nef: It can be overwhelming, I think, for every kid who grows up there. You have to be a certain kind of learner, a certain kind of person to thrive in Newton and succeed. I rose to the challenge, but I knew a lot of really brilliant people who didn't have a way of learning or seeing or you know doing that was valued in Newton. And I would say it's a pretty homogenous place in terms of ideology.

What kind of a student were you?
Hari Nef: The main things that I did in high school were theatre and the speech and debate team. I did the improv group; I took photography classes all through high school. I didn't sleep for four years. I rode myself really hard because I just felt like I had too. I wanted to have as much control as possible about – or rather in terms of where – my life was going to go after I graduated from high school. I really just tried to make myself accomplished in the most conventional, obvious sense that was perceptible to other people. I just wanted to be good at things.

How did you feel when you started to rebel against normal ideas of what people should look and dress like?
Hari Nef: I felt like I was waking up, and all of a sudden I felt like I was so painfully, laughably different from everyone around me. It was preposterous what I was feeling about myself, but I realised that I could make a statement about the way I felt about the world by how I looked. And I could walk into a room and be the problem, and I think when I was 12 or 13 that was a really compelling idea to me.


Director: Camille Summers-Valli
Agent: Peggy Pannocchia at Parent Global
Producer: Rachel Murray at Parent Global
Executive Producer: Sarah Pearson at Somesuch
Producer: Gloria Bowman at Somesuch

Local Producer: Ilona Klaver
Production Assistant: JD Banks
Production Assistant: Nicolo Carlson
Director Of Photography: Trevor Wineman
1st AC: Ajiri Apolko
2nd AC: Steve Doyle
Steadicam: Drew Weaver
Sound Recordist: James DeVore
Gaffer: Drew Valenti
Grip: Forrest Penny Brown
Stylist: Charlotte Roberts
Stylist Assistant: Marcus Cuffie
Hair: Gregory Russell
Hair Assist: Brian Cowell
Make-up Artist: Holly Silius
Make-Up Assist: Yukari Bush

Production Company: Somesuch
US Service Comany: Mai

Podcast Producer: Josh Grey-Jung

Editorial Director: Bunny Kinney
Project Director: Simone Sebastian
Interviewer: Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff
Editors: Amelia Abraham and Nellie Eden
Commissioning Director: Lauren Ford
Producer: Saorla Houston
Senior Project Manager: Giuditta Dallerba
Digital Designer: Marianne Wilson