Post by Ainslie Walker
Jasmine Awards 2014
Ainslie Walker wins Australian Jasmine Award 2014! My Story
I had no idea what I was doing, back in January, when I entered the Jasmine Awards 2014. I’d received an email from Portia, but I’d not heard of them before, though, I’m relatively new to the fragrance world.
I mentioned entering the awards to my beauty PR friends a few weeks later and they were like “OMG do you know Vogue writers and Instyle writers win/enter that?” I shuffled off, embarrassed to have accidentally sent my rogue writings into some kind of “professionals only” competition. Eek!
I did a bit of research about the Jasmine Awards and found out:
They began in France 20 years ago, and were set up, to recognize the ongoing contributions of journalists to the fragrance industry. The Jasmine Awards are the most highly recognized and prestigious awards for fragrance journalism, internationally, and are held in France, Canada, USA, the UK and Australia. The first Australian Jasmine awards were held in 2003.
“The Jasmine Awards recognize journalistic excellence in the fields of literary and visual achievement for articles on the subject of fragrance. Journalists are acknowledged for communicating their specialist knowledge and information of fragrance to the public, as well as promoting further discovery of fragrance to readers.” (Jasmine award website)
In Early April, an invite arrived for the breakfast ceremony. I thought, “I’ll go if I can take Portia, it will be a hoot!” I got the OK, and suddenly the next week we were going!! Portia picked me up at 7am(!!). In the car, I said, “You don’t think I could actually win, do you?”– Neither Portia nor myself remember his response (…still FAR too early in the morning), but I think we both just thought “NO WAY” and talked about something else.
We arrived at Darling Harbor and were seated by Fiona Keogh, of Star PR, the organizer. The place was gorgeously laid out and filled with chatty industry types- all beautifully presented and seeming to know each other…we got a few “who are they?” glances, but were undeterred. It was then I picked up a brochure of the day and saw my name in print. HOLY SHIT! I suddenly started to SWEAT and the ceremony began.
There were 6 categories, with the following criteria:
• Best In-depth Feature on Fragrance Award – for the best in-depth feature in a printed publication (minimum 501 words)
• Best Short Feature on Fragrance Award – for the best short article in a printed publication (maximum 500 words)
• Best Online Feature on Fragrance Award* – for the best online article on fragrance published on an online beauty portal or beauty website ONLY
• Best Blog Post on Fragrance Award* – for the best personal blog post on fragrance published online (please note: entries must be written in a personalised style and in the 1st person)
• Best Practical Guide to Fragrance Award – for the best ‘how-to’ style article in a printed publication or online
• Best Visual Story on Fragrance Award – for the best visualisation of a fragrance story or pictorial feature in a printed publication or online
The ceremony started and the first prize was drawn. Suddenly “best blog post” was announced AND WAS ME!!! Squeals from Portia kept me conscious as I headed to the stage, my blog post projected, on the wall. Margaret from Fragrances Of The World presented the award. I was given a box containing the trophy, a huge bunch of flowers and a big purple envelope containing a big cheque! Ushered to the side for photo’s, finally Portia was in front of me – it was real! We were laughing in disbelief and sooooo excited. I was shaking. THANK GAWD Portia was there. What an absolute surprise!!
The awards have led me to consider fragrance journalism. How we put smell, perfumes and fragrance into words for readers to “see”. How we describe the senses: taste, smell, and art. It’s kind of tricky, but if we manage it, readers can gain an insight and an understanding that would normally perhaps, not be able to put into words on their own.
The words we read from fragrance journalism can draw from within us – an agreement on notes/ingredients/images provoked? Point out something we recognize as familiar, a memory, for example, until we can almost smell that perfume being described….and burst to go try it.
Articles can direct us into what to buy or wear for a particular occasion, season or outfit. Fragrance journalism is what helps the fragrance industry make those billions of dollars every year. And I guess that’s why the perfume industry recognizes the efforts of those behind these articles.
They’re not “news” as such, they won’t save the world, but they express creativity, and spread the beauty and magic of fragrance.
Perfumes and fragrances are one small luxury, that worldwide have always been used by humans to put a little extra spring in their step, attract some attention and or express themselves – I like to think that fragrance journalism can do the same – put a little spring in the step of the reader as they start their day at work, finding it in their inbox, or reading a magazine whilst on a train for example.
TF was the first ever fragrance blog I wrote. It came about by sweet coincidence. Portia, who had been invited to the TF meet up, but was too busy to go, so said I could go along in his place, as long as I wrote something for APJ. I said I’d never written anything before, and he said “don’t worry it will be fine!!” I had recently met Catherine, the meet up organizer, so I agreed to help out. It seemed I had accidentally fallen into something I am good at! Isn’t it funny how life maneuvers you? This was September 2013, I have written fortnightly ever since for APJ and love being part of the team.
For us folk in Australia, far far away from Paris/Grasse, stores like Harrods, Selfridges, Barneys etc, with their giant beauty halls, many fragrances are hard to experience and get our hands on, especially with such strict customs and postage laws here. I believe this is why APJ has become so popular and the network of people involved incredibly tight. I am proud and thankful to be a part of it and thank you all for your support, comments and incredible encouragement. It’s a win for us all!
Ainslie Walker x
Photos donated by Ainslie Walker