A woman who used perfume to protect herself from racist bullies as a child is now addicted to expensive scents – and has spent more than £20,000 on fragrances.
As the only black girl in her school, Shade Selema would spray her mum’s perfume to stop the other kids from calling her ‘stink bomb’.
The 36-year-old has now become obsessed with perfumes and can spend up to £4,000 in fragrance in a month.
Shade wears different perfumes to fit her mood, mixes them up to create her own unique scents and always plans which one she will wear the night before.
The IT worker, who lives in Manchester explained: ‘When I was seven my family moved from Nigeria to Brunei where I went to an English/Dutch school.
‘As the only black girl there I was cruelly bullied and called names, mainly telling me I smelled – which of course I didn’t.
‘But I didn’t want to stand out and I wanted to make sure I smelled nice so by the time I was ten, I was squirting my mum’s perfume.’
Now Shade is an expert in the history and chemistry of perfume.
She spends hours every night watching YouTube videos on perfume reviews and peruses department stores for even longer.
She is familiar with the scents of each ingredient, rose being her favourite, and can even envisage what a fragrance will smell like before she opens a bottle.
Shade, who is a big fan of Dior and Chanel, has refined her collection down to a cool 350 bottles, which she keeps in their own cabinet in her bedroom so they don’t evaporate.
Shade added: ‘The sense of smell is such a strong one, it evokes memory and feelings. I love it so much.
‘From something that was so bad in my childhood, I have developed something good.
‘Some people love handbags or shoes, for me it is perfume.
‘Luckily my husband is understanding. I keep him happy by also buying him cologne, and he knows what I will love if he wants to treat me’
Shade is a glass half full person and thinks perfume helps her positive attitude.
She said: ‘I will buy a new fragrance at the airport when I go on holiday so that when I smell the smell I am transported back to good times.
‘I wore Jean-Paul Gautier on our wedding day and Davidoff Cool Water when I graduated.
‘All these amazing smells I associate with great times in my life and when you walk down the street and have wafts of these when you walk down the street it is lovely.’
Shade says you should wear perfume on pulse points, where veins sit closer to the skin to create heat and emit more fragrance, but also on points where part of the body rub together emanate yet more scent.
Shade said: ‘I will put perfume behind my ears, on my neck, chest, on the inside of my elbows and behind my knees and always have a quick mist of my clothes.
‘But you should always be aware that some perfumes are stronger than others, so you can’t always use this much – you don’t want to choke anybody out.’
Shaded says she has never run out of a bottle – because she has so many to choose from.
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