As far as bragging rights go, being able to say that your voice was chosen to match the face of Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima has got to be pretty high up there. The celebrity, known for walking in Victoria’s Secret fashion shows and posing in ads for everyone from Donna Karan to Jason Wu, was hired for the new Marc Jacobs Decadence fragrance campaign. This story isn’t about her, though. It’s about the woman behind the scenes, raspy voice unfolding into the microphone. Her name is Aubrey Arnason; while Lima is the face of Decadence, Arnason is its voice.
The Vancouver-based film and television actor jumped at the chance to audition for the Marc Jacobs campaign when casting directors came to the city, and by luck or fate or both, she nailed the job. “They had already cast Adriana Lima as the model,” Arnason recalls. “They knew that they were looking for a voice to match the feel of what they’d done.” Arnason’s deep, sultry tones clearly made sense to the Marc Jacobs team. “I was like, ‘This is GREAT!’” she says of being paired to Lima’s much-lusted-after mug.
In the ad, a golden Lima is seen strewn sultrily about a dark room, clutching the purse-shaped bottle of perfume; Arnason’s voice comes in at the end, huskily announcing the name of the product. Her part only took one afternoon of recording. “I knew they were looking for a seductive and flirty and fun kind of feel—that’s what the spot is, it’s very seductive but also kind of fun—so you just go with that,” says Arnason. “The most important thing with voiceover work is that you have to make it real and make it authentic. Yeah, you’re in a recording studio with a microphone in your face, but you’re a trained performer, so you ground yourself and envision the scene.” As for Decadence itself, no acting was necessary: Arnason was a quick convert. “It’s very sophisticated, very decadent,” she says playfully. “It’s very fun, too, it has a fun quality to it. It’s not taking itself too seriously, which is so Marc Jacobs: very luxurious but not super conservative.” It’s a smell to be taken with, and a voice to match.