The stage has never been Lauren Lovette's favorite place to be. She may be a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, but she's actually quite an introvert.
"I've struggled with the stage my entire career," Lovette recently reflected over the phone. Yet after years of dedicated work, she's learned to find happy moments in front of an audience. But now, pandemic restrictions have left her out of practice, and she hasn't performed anywhere since March.
In fact, Lovette didn't even dance much at all this year until September, when she found herself at a photo shoot to model the fall 2020 collection from fine jewelry brand Laura Stephanie. "I was feeling extremely insecure about doing it because I hadn't worked out or taken ballet classes in months," Lovette says. Nevertheless, she took a leap of faith because she liked the jewelry and hit it off with the designer, Laura Stephanie Benkowski.
The brand is inspired by Benkowski's own background in a range of dance styles. To her, dance and jewels are quite similar. "Dance is storytelling with movement," Benkowski says, "and jewelry is storytelling with moments in history. At the end of the day, both are experiences with living art."