Elle – As a kid growing up in downtown New York City, Scarlett Johansson would regularly see Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen on David Yurman billboards overlooking Soho. So it was “a very nice, really big deal” when she was handpicked—along with actor Henry Golding—as the latest David Yurman muse to get her very own XL ad, along with a short film where she gets chased by the paparazzi, rolls around in bed, and sings “New York, New York.” (Yes, besides fighting Thanos and fighting for fair pay, Johansson can also sing very well.)

To talk about the new campaign, Johansson called us from home in New York—we love a local girl!—to discuss male gazes, female expectations, and what happens when she really needs to talk to someone.

You’ve posed in a bed for Dolce & Gabbana, for your recent Amazon commercial, and now for David Yurman. Did they come to you and say, “Okay, it’s a bed shot!” or at this point, is that just a given?
Oh yes, you know, I’ve tried to do every campaign in my life from bed. [Laughs.] Yeah, I find it really great to roll out of bed, and then go through about six hours of hair and makeup, and then just get back into a bed.
So the secret to bedhead is six hours of glam.
Yes. You look better when you get back into the bed after all that hair and makeup! I’m sure there’s a quote from Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor about wearing diamonds in bed…But yeah, I guess advertisers—I mean, I guess, male advertisers or men who are advertising executives, love to see me in bed with lots of jewelry. I guess it’s a thing.
I assume when you actually go to bed…
I take off all my jewelry. Yes. So this idea that I’m asleep wearing such incredible jewelry, all this amazing David Yurman, it’s cool, but I’m sorry to say, it’s sort of counterintuitive! And yes, most nights I have like, a ring or two that I wear to bed. But eight gold bangles on each arm? No. And a giant gold and diamond hugger? No. I don’t just have diamonds kicking around in my bed. That would get kind of dangerous.
Speaking of dangerous, do you ever subscribe to superstitions when it comes to jewelry? Some people believe certain pieces are haunted.
I have that feeling about some material objects. When I was younger, I used to collect Victorian jewelry. When I started, like, making my own money, if I traveled somewhere, I would track down antique collectibles and rare pieces. I remember working in England, and working in New Orleans, and finding pieces of Victorian jewelry and…I don’t know, it’s like, the jewelry would choose me. Suddenly, I’d be really drawn to a particular piece and I wouldn’t even know why. I think only jewelry can do that to you!
The theme of the campaign is “come closer,” which I suppose is something you can do in a bedroom. But also, how have you had to adjust your idea of coming closer during these past two years in isolation?
I’m always a face-to-face girl. If I need to tell you something important, I want to tell you face to face. So on the one hand, thank God for video chat and FaceTime and all that. That’s been a lifesaver. On the other hand, even though I love seeing my nieces and nephews grow and I can do that via video call, I hate talking about anything important on the phone! I want to see you in person. Either that, or I want to send you an email or write to you. I do like writing long letters to people.
Is there an element of “come closer” that’s also connected to being famous? Like, you’re a real person, but you’re faced with images of yourself every day, even though they’re not exactly you, per se.
I have an advantage because I’ve been [acting] for such a long time that it doesn’t phase me as much. It’s not that I’m jaded, but I just see that “image” as an extension of my work, you know? It’s like, “Okay, I’m in this thing. My face will be everywhere. That’s marketing; that’s not me.” To be honest with you, it might also come from growing up in New York where there are images everywhere, and then the next day, they’re gone and new billboards or posters go up…I think it’s probably weirder for my daughter, because if it’s not your [job] and you’re not used to it, those moments can be extremely startling. And you know, I’m sure I do have a lot of other feelings about this! [Laughs.] But I guess I’m used to it.

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