Like the ocean itself, Clara Settje contains multitudes. Just peep her Instagram bio: “Rock Climber | Lazy Yogini | Doula | Surfer.” And oh yeah, she models, too, having spent the past 12 years globetrotting for countless campaigns and editorial shoots. This multihyphenate resume made her a perfect pick for our S.C. 59 photo shoot, given how the scent also escapes easy definition—it’s surf-inspired, yes, but in a modern way, with an amber-y finish that evokes the feeling of sun on skin. Clara has that sunkissed look, and it’s one she earned the old-fashioned way: by spending her time riding the waves.
We asked her how she got into surfing, and how she makes time for her varied pursuits. Here’s what she told us.
You have a number of different passions. How do you rank them?
Well, let me start from the beginning. I started modeling when I was 14—for the past 12 years, I’ve been working full-time. When I moved to LA, I decided I wanted to do these things. I started a yoga practice in NYC, and was even doing it twice a day. In LA I wanted to help women, and in that way I found my doula practice. I was around natural birth in my own life, something I got from my mom.
And then rock climbing and surfing. I’ve started skiing, too. Surfing turned out to be the easiest of all of them. Rock climbing is a mental battle more than a physical battle for me. I spend most of my free time surfing. I just got back from Hawaii, where I surfed five hours a day. It’s got everything you want out of any activity—high energy, but also peaceful. You can do it alone or with friends. It can be fun or hard on your body.
That’s awesome. I assume you didn’t get to surf growing up in Texas?
I didn’t spend all my life in Texas—about eight years, in middle school and high school. I would go down to Austin [where PHLUR is based] and did SXSW when I was 16 or 17. But I have no family there. I moved around a lot, ever since I was a kid and especially since I was modeling. I don’t think I’ve ever lived anywhere longer than four years.
And you live in LA nowadays?
Yep. For two years.
Ha. So is that how you ended up surfing?
You might call me crazy, but ever since I saw Blue Crush when I was 8 years old, I wanted to surf. It’s completely cheesy and corny, but I loved it. I wanted to be a cool girl—blonde and tan and on the water all day. I actually forced my now-boyfriend to teach me to surf.
Awesome. Do you have a favorite place to surf?
Oof. Hard question. Well, in California, I probably have … if it was completely free of people, First Point in Malibu. Unfortunately the crowd is pretty gnarly. Queen’s in Waikiki in Hawaii: also crowded, but also fun. My favorite place is Bingin Beach in Bali. You have to hike down this cliff—it looks like something out of Italy. There’s just this beautiful reef break. It’s like clockwork it goes and goes. I sliced my foot open, but it was so much fun.
How’d you do that?
The reef there is so sharp.
The perfumer for S.C. 59 surfed the Basque country in Spain.
I have surfed there. It’s cold. I love the food, the culture. The surf is amazing there. But I don’t like to wear a wetsuit
Fair enough. Do you have a favorite surf song?
Great picks. What does surfing mean to you?
Surfing to me is reminiscent of the feeling of play when I was a kid. It reminds me to live my life around the things that bring me joy. Have fun!
Any favorite stories from the shoot?
The wind. I’ve never seen wind like that on the beach in California. I’ve neer seen waves like that, either. Huge waves. We were having to carry these longboards in and out of the water, and we were just getting blown to bits. Tim had the chance and the strength to ride some waves.
Did you know Tim from before?
No but we have a lot of friends in common. He definitely has a lot of enthusiasm.
Ha, that’s for sure. Had you heard of PHLUR before?
I’ve been tracking startups as a potential investor, and I received a deck from a potential competitor [which mentioned PHLUR].
Sure, ok. Do you have a favorite from our collection?
Did this experience change the way you feel about fragrance, clean beauty, etc?
Yes, 100 percent. Kind of tying it back to being a doula. I’ve researched a lot about women’s health and introducing chemicals into our bodies. Anything anyone does to eliminate those chemicals and additives in our endocrine system and the environment, that’s amazing. I hope those fashion houses that have been around forever will come around because it needs to happen. People are becoming more aware. The cat’s out of the bag, so to speak.
You’re creating a perfume that’s not full of chemicals, but also marketed in a way that’s not hippie or granola. It creates this approachable source of beauty product that people can enjoy.
Exactly. Thank you so much!