Dagmara Dominczyk Burns Shiny in ‘Succession’

Night Leather-based? Too leathery. Bahama Mama? Too beachy. Peaches and Cream? Out of season. Candy Kitty? No.

On the Sunday earlier than Christmas, in a windowless basement underneath a braiding salon in Downtown Brooklyn, the actress and novelist Dagmara Dominczyk looked for the proper aroma. A candle devotee since her undergraduate days at Carnegie Mellon College (“I burn them morning to nighttime,” she mentioned), she had arrived for a “Sip & Odor Expertise”: a free two-hour workshop hosted by Kately’s Candles that she had discovered on Eventbrite.

Upon arriving, Kevin Pierre-Louis, the organizer, seated her on a greige vinyl couch and introduced her with a caddy of about 50 small bottles with hand-printed labels. His assistant handed her a glass of glowing rosé, which she sipped with care.

“I’m a spiller,” she mentioned. “I spill. I stain.”

“You’re too fairly,” Mr. Pierre-Louis mentioned. “I don’t see you spilling.”

“I’m fairly as a result of I did my make-up,” Ms. Dominczyk, 45, replied.

He introduced her extra bottles and he or she sniffed them, rejecting most. “Not Mistletoe,” she mentioned. “I used to love candles that smelled like a Christmas tree, now it’s an excessive amount of.” She reached for one more bottle and skim the label out loud. “Creamy Nutmeg — that’s what they used to name me in highschool,” she mentioned jokingly.

Earthy and chic, Ms. Dominczyk, the eldest of three daughters, immigrated to the US from Poland when she was 6. (Her father, lively within the commerce unions motion, had turn into a persona non grata.) Inspired by a good friend, she auditioned for the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Excessive Faculty of Music & Artwork and Performing Arts, the place she blossomed as an actress. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, she booked the feminine lead in a lush 2002 movie adaptation of “The Rely of Monte Cristo.”

Her profession appeared assured.

As an alternative, she spent the following few years staying out, sleeping in, consuming Polish meals and dealing solely sporadically — a film right here, a tv episode there. She dated the actor Patrick Wilson (they briefly overlapped in school), married him the following yr, had their first son the yr after, and a second son three years later. They stay in Montclair, N.J.

Work remained occasional. Her physique had new curves. When her husband appeared in a 2013 episode of “Ladies” as Lena Dunham’s intercourse curiosity, some on-line trolls prompt {that a} conventionally enticing man like Mr. Wilson would by no means have a tryst with somebody like Ms. Dunham. Ms. Dominczyk snapped again on Twitter, saying: “Humorous, his spouse is a dimension 10, muffin prime & all, & he does her simply wonderful.”

Casting administrators — a few of whom requested her if she may lose 20 kilos — didn’t know fairly what to do together with her silky floor, steelier inside and apparent intelligence.

That modified in 2018, when she was forged as Karolina Novotney, the unflappable public relations government on the HBO drama “Succession.” She was shortly upgraded from a recurring position to a sequence common.

She has requested the producers if Karolina may act out in ways in which the Roy siblings do, however they’ve to this point declined. “I wish to play,” Ms. Dominczyk mentioned. “I wish to have intercourse with one of many brothers. Or Shiv? I don’t know. However the position is such that Karolina stays in her lane. She’s there to do the job.”

Ms. Dominczyk may also be seen as a waspish mother-to-be within the much-lauded Netflix movie “The Misplaced Daughter,” directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. And she or he has not too long ago wrapped the lead position within the HBO restricted sequence “We Personal This Metropolis,” by which she performs an F.B.I. agent investigating police corruption. “The extra settled I turned and the much less apologetic for it, the much less pondering I needed to look a sure manner or act a sure manner, that was thrilling for individuals,” she mentioned.

If she prefers sophisticated characters, her style in perfume skews easier. “I’m rather more of a candy, cozy, pumpkin pie, fall candle individual,” she mentioned.

A bottle labeled Dulce de Leche made the reduce. And Pumpkin Patch and Pumpkin Rum Cake. Additionally Smoked Chestnut. (“Chestnut is a really Polish factor,” she mentioned.) And Vacation Basket, although she joked that Mr. Pierre-Louis ought to have named it Vacation Basket Case. She sniffed the combination with approval.

“I wish to down this like a shot,” she mentioned.

She introduced her selections to the again of the room, the place Mr. Pierre-Louis was melting coconut wax and castor oil in a cauldron set over a tenting range. He turned a spigot and the wax pooled right into a pineapple formed mildew. Ms. Dominczyk measured out a spoonful of every chosen scent, then added burnt orange coloring and a smattering of dried flower petals.

“I don’t prepare dinner,” she mentioned. “That is the closest I’ve gotten to cooking all vacation season.”

Mr. Pierre-Louis advised her to call her scent and after a second she settled on Smoked Dag. “That’s additionally the title of a sausage in Poland,” she mentioned. “Simply kidding.”

Whereas the wax set, she went again up the creaky wood stairs and out onto a business stretch of Livingston Road to stretch her legs and vape a mint-flavored Juul. Was she prepared for the vacations?

She reached for her telephone and pulled up an image of her decorations — an orgy of lights, bushes and tinsel. “It’s like Christmas vomited throughout,” she mentioned fortunately. That night time she would meet family and friends for dinner, then she would assist with a Feast of the Seven Fishes and a Christmas dinner that combined Polish and American traditions.

“Final yr, we had been like, Patrick has been within the household for 15 years — if he desires a Christmas ham, let’s give it to him,” she mentioned, utilizing an expletive.

Again within the basement, the wax largely set, Mr. Pierre-Louis introduced her with a pair of scissors in order that she may snip the wick. “Like an umbilical wire,” she mentioned.

Ms. Dominczyk sniffed, delighted. “Oh my God, it smells so good,” she mentioned. “Bottle it. I don’t even want any fee.”

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