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A Golden Moment with Fashion Icon Jenna Lyons

Jenna Lyons wears, at left, the Single Diamonds Line Mini Hoop, Large Hoops, Curb Chain, Engravable Tag Necklace, Diamond Letter Pendant, Bold Stacker, Signet Ring, Thin Dôme Ring, Charlotte Ring, Eternity Band, Engravable Bar Bracelet and Diamond Tennis Bracelet. At right, Diamond Mini Studs, Pavé Diamond Bold Hoops, Diamonds Open Ring, Baguette Diamonds Open Ring, Pavé Diamond Thin Dôme Ring, Twist Ring, Pavé Diamond Slim Signet Ring, Large Diamond Necklace and Tarot Sun Necklace.

As part of our campaign Golden Together, we’re introducing “Golden Moments”: an seven-part interview series highlighting women who are barrier-breakers empowering others to do the same. Here, Jenna Lyons introduces the Golden Crew Sweatshirt where 100% of proceeds will be donated to the Mejuri Empowerment Fund in support of under-represented women and non-binary people.

There is a lot to say about Jenna Lyons. You probably know her from the two decades she spent making everything America wanted to wear as the Creative Director and President of J.Crew (yes, even Michelle Obama). Last fall, she launched her own company LoveSeen, setting out to reinvent fake lashes. Jenna, who has a genetic condition that impacts lash growth, sought to bring the transformative power of beauty to a wider audience. Most recently, she stars in Stylish with Jenna Lyons, an HBOmax show where a group of creatives learn the ins and outs of the fashion industry and compete for a position on her growing team.

The through line of her remarkable career? Jenna has consistently invited us in—especially to the heretofore inaccessibility of high fashion—building a community that embraces individuality as much as it does inclusivity. We spoke to Jenna about her latest projects, championing diversity within your team and how your break-through moment can happen without you even realizing.

Jenna wears Diamond Mini Studs, Diamonds Line Mini Hoop, Diamonds Line Necklace, Bold Herringbone Chain Necklace (Jenna styles to Bold Herringbone Necklaces chained together), Bold Bangle, Bold Stacker, Signet Ring, Thin Dôme Ring, Charlotte Ring, Eternity Band and Thin Bangle.

You have made a lot happen in the last year, launching a company and releasing a TV show. Tell us a little bit about the ride and how you’re feeling now.

It's sort of like screaming into a vacuum. It's hard to imagine; we launched a television show with no wrap party, launch party or in-person experience. I walk around town with a mask, and while my face is on a billboard and it’s super exciting—it feels like it never happened. Has anyone seen the show Stylish with Jenna Lyons on HBO Max???? If it weren't for my friends, family and community, I wouldn't even believe it happened. It's been a very strange thing, not that dissimilar to launching a business in a pandemic, which is akin to playing Twister with butter on your feet. While the business successfully launched in September and is off to an amazing start, there isn't the opportunity for our customers to wear LoveSeen lashes to a party and for someone to say, "I love those, you look amazing, where did you get them?!" You lose the in-person connection and ability to share a project you've put love and attention into with an audience in a really direct way.

Our series, Golden Moments, focuses on the moment that a barrier was broken. The “aha” moment when you realized your calling and found a way to build a platform, community, space to amplify your voice and that of others. Can you describe your Golden Moment?

I think the moment the barrier was broken was a moment I didn't even realize. I had been told more than once, in particular by one person who I've become close to, that years ago when I was candid about coming out in The New York Times at the age of 43 in an article quite notoriously called "The Woman Who Dresses America,'' that I changed her life. Realizing that it has had an impact on not only myself, but allowed for what might have felt like a stigma or a point of concern to become a point of pride, and a connection to a new community, was profound. A breakthrough moment can sometimes happen for someone outside of you, and I feel grateful and honored to know that I had any sort of positive impact on anyone who may have found themselves sitting on the outside or not feeling like they belonged.

Jenna wears the Golden Crew Sweatshirt with the Diamonds Line Mini Hoop, Flower Studs, Curb Chain, Flat Curb Chain, Bold Stacker, Signet Ring, Thin Dôme Ring, Charlotte Ring, Eternity Band, Engravable Bar Bracelet, Diamond Tennis Bracelet, Bold Bangle and Thin Bangle.

How does your community give your strength and resilience?

I think I'm fortunate to have an incredible team and group of people I consider my family. The best part about having a core group around you is that oftentimes your highs and lows don't match, and we're there to pick each other up and support each other. Everyone has moments, and we all need extra help sometimes. That is a point of strength I draw upon almost daily.

In your work, how do you find or create opportunities for women to support each other?

In every project that I'm involved in, I make an effort to insist on female directors, producers, photographers, partners. I have realized that I am in a position to insist that the people around me are diverse, not just in gender diversity, but diversity as a whole. It's always been important to me, but now that I'm truly at the helm of my own projects, it affords me the opportunity to be vigilant. In addition, when thinking about potentially working with Mejuri, I liked the jewelry even before I found out the company was female led, which I find inspiring and am so thrilled to support.

At Jenna's apartment the Engravable Tag Necklace, Pavé Diamond Thin Dôme Ring, Beaded Ring, Diamonds Team Ring, Diamond Tennis Bracelet, Pavé Diamond Slim Signet and Baguette Diamonds Open Ring.

What have been some of the most important connections in your life and how have they helped make you who you are today?

I've had some very influential leaders in my life, the first being Emily Cinader Woods who was my first boss and the president and creative director at J.Crew. You have to consider that this was 1990, and my first real job had a woman at the helm. In addition, I worked with Mickey Drexler for over 13 years. He was a leader who immensely supported and valued female leadership and gave me opportunities I will forever be grateful for.

As someone with a lot of influence, what's something you hope your community gets from you?

I think one of the biggest challenges in society today is this concept that women in particular need to be ageless. They need to inject themselves, poke themselves, and prod themselves in ways that reduce their ability to age with grace. While I can say with absolute transparency that I have tried it all, I have found that I feel most comfortable in my skin with wrinkles and gray hair and a substandard ass. I was so happy when our initial conversations about retouching [with the Mejuri creative team] were met with a mutual understanding that there was no need to erase the signs that I've lived more than 25 years. I hope that comes through in the work that I do, as well as the project we did together.

Jenna wears the Diamond Mini Studs, Pavé Diamond Bold Hoops, Large Diamond Necklace and Tarot Sun Necklace.

What are you most proud of?

While I have no doubt I’ve given my son a lifetime of therapy, he is smart, warm, independent, funny AF, and will absolutely be more than 6 feet tall. From a career perspective, I am most proud of my unilateral ability and desire to admit all of my faults and share them broadly.

Is there anything that you still struggle with that you go to others for support with?

There is not a day that goes by that I don't question my ability or my intuition. On a daily basis I seek out information, knowledge and ego stroking (insert crazy face emoji).

When you need advice or counsel, who do you go to first and why?

There's no one source for counsel. The best lesson I ever learned was truly understanding that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of curiosity and a desire to do well and share with your community. Culturally, I was brought up to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, which is truly unfortunate. I've overcome that, probably to fault.

Jenna wears the Diamonds Open Ring, Baguette Diamonds Open Ring, Pavé Diamond Thin Dôme Ring, Twist Ring and Pavé Diamond Slim Signet Ring,

“I have realized that I am in a position to insist that the people around me are diverse, not just in gender diversity, but diversity as a whole.”

What are the things that make you most excited about 2021? About the next generation?

I grew up in a time where my information came from a single source. My parents, and the news station they watched. There was no access or ability to form my own opinions or reach a community with similar beliefs or values. While the world of social media presents massive challenges, as we are all aware, the opportunity to find your voice and opposing or similar views is exciting. I'm encouraged to see the opportunity for the younger generation to grow up in a world where they have access to information that I did not.

What motivates you?

Ice cream. Fear of failure. Naps.


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