What comes to your mind when you hear the name: Lauren Bedford Russell? While most people will definitely think of her as one of the new faces on “The Real L Word,” Showtime's top-performing unscripted show in primetime, most may not know that this beauty with a head of funky color has so much more to offer.
If you have only learned about that tiny slice of Russell’s life from the show, you will find out about the many other sides that are not shown in the show.
As Russell said, “[The show has only] presented a small part of me, there was only so much they could show in such a small amount of time. I think if there is another season, I would love to show more of my work/charitable life.”
When the cameras are not rolling, she fulfills several impressing roles that constitute her as an accomplished woman, including being a savvy business entrepreneur.
Russell is the mastermind behind Lyon Fine Jewelry –a high-end fashion jewelry company launched in 2011, with a style she describes as “urban/inventive/contemporary. It is jewelry you can buy and wear now, then pass on to your loved ones.”
New York City inspired Russell to create this jewelry line.
“I was living [in New York City] when I created my line,” said Russell. “The buildings, the architecture and the style really inspired me.”
Lyon Fine Jewelry consists of high-end rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, cufflinks and even custom cocktail and engagement rings. Many of her pieces include exquisite black diamonds (the $19,000 Sainte-Hélène black diamond engagement ring and the $1,100 Mauritius pave black diamond pyramid stud earring, for example) that are edgy, yet sophisticated.
Among all the stunning designs in the line, the most well known collections are the two largely popular celebrity endorsed pieces: the “Rock the Vote” and “Equality” bracelet, which have both translated from her civil rights activism and philanthropic pursuits. Celebrities such as Kelly Osborne, Jason Mraz, Perez Hilton, Patti Stanger, Cyndi Lauper and Kevin Jonas have sported Russell’s bracelets.
These bracelets illustrate that besides creating profit-driven jewelries, Russell is also a fervent activist who is devoted to inspiring others through her artistic craft and continuously travails to make a difference.
With the election season happening now, the “Rock the Vote” bracelets are capturing even more spotlight than they normally do. So, how did it all begin?
“Lyon got involved with Rock the Vote [RTV] to encourage people to vote, no matter who they are voting for. My publicist at the time knew someone within the RTV organization, and we approached them,” said Russell. “We donate 15 percent to RTV. I think we have to continuously make that an important topic and to get the public involved -- what better way?”
A front-runner in political activism, Russell has designed another collection of political bracelets that endorses the Obama presidential campaign and its commitment to LGBT rights.
“Someone from the Obama campaign contacted me about the idea,” she said. “I was really excited and flattered. I designed the bracelet and got it rolling as fast as possible.”
And what about the “Equality” bracelet?
“The ‘Equality’ bracelet is really a way to wear your support in a classy and fashionable way,” said Russell. “We donate 20 percent to the charity Friendfactor.org. These are definitely my most popular items in my whole line!”
Russell stated that supporting organizations through bracelets is the most rewarding part of her job. Therefore, she already has plans to create more bracelets of this sort.
“The next bracelets on the horizon will be for animal rights, as well as anti-bullying, and the customer can choose which charity their amount goes to,” said Russell. “As far as LGBT rights, I just designed the ‘Equality’ ring and will be creating a necklace as well very soon. I plan on taking a more hands-on role in the next year as time allows.”
With so much on her plate (being a television personality, a fine jewelry designer, an entrepreneur and an activist) most of us can only imagine what kind of a crazy life she leads.
“Basically, I don't sleep much, and I work all the time! Seriously! I just do my best,” said Russell. “My life is all about making lists. That's my secret.”
When being asked about where she sees her rapidly expanding business going in the next 12 months, she confessed, “New lower priced pieces are being worked on daily. More stores will be carrying the line. I will hopefully hire some people. It is growing so fast, I can hardly keep up. This is a good thing!”
Russell never expects anything less. So, all should also expect more charity projects and edgy avant-garde jewelry designs made for all genders from this accomplished designer in the near future.