While most moms at Coachella don’t dare venture beyond the drop-off zone, Tish Cyrus and Nicole Winnaman aren’t most moms. “We are working Coachella,” says Winnaman on a recent Skype call from Cyrus’s home in Toluca Lake, where the flaxen-haired BFFs were loading up an all-white, shabby-chic trailer with candles from their new line, Original Scent Home Fragrance. “Now that I’ve raised [my] kids,” says Cyrus, mother of five including Miley and Noah, “Everyone’s like, ‘You’ve got to do a line of this or that.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m going to do candles with my best friend, and go to Coachella and have fun.’”
And while Coachella’s bouquet of dust, smoke and sweat-laced bodies might seem like the last place to sling scents, Cyrus and Winnaman’s insatiable appetite for fun is evident even in their home fragrance’s packaging. With names like “Girlfriends,” “Tipsy” and “Booty Call,” the fragrances break the mall candle mold. “I was kind of tired of everything being ‘Vanilla’ or ‘Tahitian Vanilla,’” says Cyrus. “We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done, because to me, every single candle kind of looks exactly the same.”
Best friends since being introduced by music manager Larry Rudolph, Cyrus and Winnaman seem to match perfectly, both personally and professionally. “I’m more the creative,” says Cyrus. “I can be a nerdy perfumer and spend hours in the lab,” contrasts Winnaman, a celebrity branding agent and perfumer who shepherded Britney Spears’s indelible “Curious” fragrance franchise.
To Winnaman’s science chops, Cyrus – an interior designer by trade – brings a sunny, fun-loving sensibility. “I’m such a beach person, so right away, I wanted something that smelled like sunscreen,” says Cyrus of her signature orange blossom and suntan oil-infused scent, “Beach Cove.” “You walk into Tish’s home,” adds Winnaman, “And even though it’s not really near the beach, you’re like, ‘Wow.’”
Apparently, Tish isn’t the only family member fixated on fragrance: “Miley is the most candle-obsessed person I’ve ever known,” says Cyrus. “She buys so many candles. And as soon as she started smelling ours, she literally won’t burn anything else.” So what’s the pop princess’s favorite potion? “Her and Liam both love South Beach, which is grapefruit-scented, and Happy Hippie, which is only available online. $10 of every one sold goes directly to Miley’s Happy Hippie Foundation.”
As Miley, and more recently 17-year-old Noah’s music careers blaze on, at least one Cyrus child is following in their mother’s footsteps: Tish and eldest daughter Brandi both will star next month in Bravo’s “Cyrus vs. Cyrus: Design & Conquer,” a makeover show set in Nashville. “I wasn’t ever going to just put my name on something just because I could,” says Tish of the show. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be a housewife, and all these different things, but I would only do [something like this] if it represented who I really am.”
It’s clear these same principles led Cyrus and Winnaman’s collaboration, which reflects not only the pair’s kindred entrepreneurial spirits, but their infectious chemistry as well – a dynamic that shines through, even on a Skype call.
“Say you light one of our candles with someone you really love being with… You’ll remember that and you’ll just want that scent around you,” muses Winnaman.
“Or not!” counters Cyrus, with a wholehearted laugh. They may not be Real Housewives, but this duo certainly deserves a show of their own.