It is no wonder that, as part of his 20-year partnership with Puig, Antonio Banderas fragrances has spread its wings to South Africa to continue its philanthropic work with charities all over the world, including Unicef.
Puig is a Barcelona-based company that has been instrumental in the success of some of the world’s biggest fashion and fragrance brands (including Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier, Prada, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Valentino. and Comme des Garçons).
With the help of the auction of his latest photography series, Women in Gold, Banderas and Puig were able to raise funds of up to R1.2million for Nkosi’s Haven, the charity he chose to support in South Africa. “They were quite invisible and we want to make the invisibles visible,” Banderas said. “They have been working hard and are, in a way, created by angels that basically sacrifice their lives to obtain a result. I visited Nkosi’s Haven the other day and it was very emotional to see all those kids and they explained to me how they work and the funds that they need. We chose Gail Johnson’s dream, so we are going to share the dream with her. The idea is that it doesn’t stop here.”
As well as acting, Banderas harbours a secret talent for photography, a passion that began as an activity to while away time on set, snapping behind-the scenes shots of cast and crew. Even with a second photo exhibition under his belt, Banderas maintains he is not a photographer. “I am an aficionado and I do photography just to serve some other purpose,” he explains. “In this case, it’s a charity. It’s true that as an aficionado, I’ve been taking pictures for a long time to obtain more funds for the charities that we have been working with for a number of years. Photography in particular, I love photography. I think that a frozen instance sometimes can say more than a book, depending on the circumstances.
“I remember when I was doing the preparation for Pancho Villa, a character that I played years ago (in the TV film And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself), I read and read about Pancho Villa and I thought I had it — then there was one picture that actually gave me the key of who this guy was. It was a picture and he was going to be executed — it didn’t happen — but he was going to be executed at some point, and an order arrived in the last second to say ‘cancel this’,” Banderas continues. “But there is a picture of him, with guys pointing at him with rifles and he is like ‘what the heck’ and that picture, of a guy who in front of death, in minutes could be dead is confronting this — defying the ones who were going to kill him and I thought wow, that is powerful. And that actually gave me the strength to play that character.”
The launch of his latest olfactory offering, The Secret Temptation and Her Secret Temptation proves that after all the movies, photography and his vocation as a humanitarian Banderas shows no signs of slowing down.