The Real L Word depicts its share of lesbian drama — Dinah Shore love-ins, impromptu same-sex weddings, girls who like girls who like boys.
This past season, one of the newest cast members, Lauren Bedford Russell, found a dramatic niche with Kiyomi McCloskey, lead singer/guitarist of Hunter Valentine. Their narrative revolved around their increasing intimacy, i.e., lots of kissing scenes.
One of the critiques of The Real L Word is the limited representation. Add to that the excessive focus on love and lust. There is much more to a lesbian than her relationships.
Viewers may have known that Russell is a jewelry designer and the owner of Lyon Fine Jewelry. Yet that aspect of her life stayed in the background.
It could have made for good television, because Russell has established herself as a socially conscious entrepreneur.
Her style is urban and urbane. Rings, necklaces, bracelets and other items made of black jade, black diamonds and sterling silver are priced in the thousands. However, Lyon Fine Jewelry asserts the gemstones are conflict-free, and Russell plans to offer affordable designs.
At $48, the silver alloy bracelet is inscribed with the Obama/ Biden slogan, Forward, and is available in various colors including a red, white and blue version. Ten percent of the Forward bracelet’s proceeds will be donated to the Obama/ Biden campaign.
In addition, Lyon Fine Jewelry tweeted on Oct. 3 about an upcoming bracelet to benefit organizations that help abused animals; and on October 9, Russell hosted a Rock the Vote event in Los Angeles, which signed up fifteen voters.
In an email interview with SFGN, Russell shared both parts of her life—the business owner who supports social change, and the woman who fell in love on a reality show.
When did you decide to promote social awareness through Lyon Fine Jewelry?
[One] year ago, I started with the Equality bracelet…Once that bracelet was a success, I moved to the next cause. I am able to donate to all of these different causes, and I feel very lucky to be able to do that.
Someone from Obama's campaign came to me with the idea [for the Forward bracelet], and I jumped at the chance to support the President.
I plan on making more charitable bracelets. It has really become a passion.
Who are your business role models? What are your goals for Lyon Fine Jewelry?
My parents taught me how to manage a business and employees, as well as the importance of customer service.
I am also making a lower priced line. So soon I will have the fine jewelry company and a more affordable line of sterling silver jewelry.
How would you describe the experience of beginning a relationship on a reality show? How is your current relationship with Kiyomi?
When we started falling for each other, it was pretty instant and pretty shocking for both of us. Plus add in being filmed in our first few months of dating. It wasn't a bad thing, it was just very different than what I was used to! The hardest part was keeping it a secret from the public.
We've just celebrated six months. Of course every relationship has its moments, but we love each other so much that we appreciate each other and have a good time.
What would you say to voters before this election?
Do your research. I don't think most people do their research before voting.
To view the charity bracelets and other items, visit http://lyonfinejewelry.com