Lauren Bedford Russell Is A Beauty With A Cause
A beauty with a cause, Lauren Bedford Russell is a rebel fighting for causes near and dear to her heart one bracelet at a time.
Most women know Lauren from the Showtime’s “Real L Word” and of course her rocker girlfriend Kiyomi McCloskey, who is the frontwoman of Hunter Valentine, but she’s also a talented jewelry designer creating edgy, chic accessories with a cause or shall I say causes, as she supports LGBT equality and President Obama’s re-election and voting rights and she most recently added multiple sclerosis.
The duo won’t be on the next season of the “Real L Word,” which is changing its format to a documentary style which is rumored to be heading South next season.
Perhaps it’s for the best. In July 2012, Lauren, 32, was diagnosed with MS. She was tipped off listening to Jack Osbourne, son of legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne and reality TV star and co-host of “America’s Got Talent” and “The Talk” Sharon Osbourne, spoke openly about his multiple sclerosis diagnosis a and symptoms month before her diagnosis, she says. There was something about what he said that inspired her to get tested. It’s a good thing too, she was diagnosed with
“They were able to diagnose me very quickly,” says Lauren, whose first signs were a little blindness in one eye. Her girlfriend (pssst … they are celebrating their one year anniversary at the Dinah) and “Real L Word” co-star Kiyomi was by her side the entire time, she says.
“She was with me the whole time,” says Lauren, adding the couple is excited to return to Dinah for their one-year anniversary. “She’s been there and helpful in any way she can be. I feel so blessed to have her support me. I don’t know what I would have done.”
Doctors immediately put her on daily injections called Copaxone.
Lauren has taken more charge of taking care of her health.
“It’s definitely made me take care of my health, even better than I was before,” she says.
Power Of Positivity
She’s also infusing positive thoughts for her own good health as she faces an unknown future, she says.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” says Lauren. “Think positive. That really matters at the end of the day and definitely influences your body.”
Positive thinking also inspired her to develop the Positivity Bracelet that is a part of her jewelry line, Lyon Fine Jewelry. Proceeds, 15 percent, of the sale of the bracelet will be donated to the National MS Society, she says.Lauren will be selling the bracelet along with other adornments from her jewelry line at the Dinah.
“They are fun to make,” says Lauren about refocusing her life after MS and the “Real L Word” back toward her true passion: jewelry.
Lauren inherited her father’s love for gem stones and jewelry. After college she worked for Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line, Ivanka Trump Collection, that’s when she began designing her own jewelry.
Lauren’s background gives her jewelry for a cause a unique pedigree and chic style that is all at once clean, elegant and edgy.
“For me they go towards a good cause and raise awareness,” she continues. “I think there is nothing better than that.”
Lauren isn’t allowing MS to disrupt her life. At the same time, she has embraced the fact that she has MS. She’s committed to raising awareness about the disease, just like she has for raising awareness about femme lesbians and LGBT equality on the “Real L Word” and through her jewelry line.
“There are girls out there that don’t necessarily look gay, but it’s okay if you do,” she says, adding that eventually, she would also like to add a bracelet for animals and another invisible disease lupus.
A similar type of invisibility femme lesbians experience plagues MS and lupus, which affects many women of color, in particular black women and Latinas. Looking at Lauren today it wouldn’t occur to anyone that she’ living with the disease and for those not in the know that she loves women, in particularly Kiyomi. Yet, MS is not holding her back and keeping her from living her life one bit.
“Nothing is holding me back right now,” says Lauren, who is very conscious of her stress levels which can trigger a symptom of her MS. “You only get symptoms when you exert yourself too much.”
Fans will be able to catch Kiyomi and Lauren at the Celesbian Poker Tournament benefiting the Human Rights Campaign tonight (March 6) at the Palm Springs Convention Center (277 N Avenida Caballeros, 760-325-6611, PalmSpringsSCC.com) and the Wet and Wild Pool Party at the Hilton Hotel (400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-320-6868, Hilton.com).
After the Dinah, she plans to hit the road with Kiyomi touring with Hunter Valentine through Australia and New Zealand later this year promoting the band’s latest album, “Collide and Conquer,” she says.
“I love traveling,” she says. “As long as it’s not crazy traveling it will be fine.”
Travel has been a major part of Lauren’s life since she was little she says. Her parents would pack up the family
“My parents were always into traveling,” says Lauren, who hit the road solo backpacking all over Europe when she was
Tripping through Asia and Europe, her favorite countries are Greece and Bali, she says.
“I wish we were able to go over there while we are in that part of the world,” says Lauren about wishing to hit Bali or one of the Southeast Asian countries on her hit list during her upcoming adventures in Australia and New Zealand. “Those are my two favorite places I’ve been, but there is a lot that I haven’t seen.”
On her hit list to see, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Southern Italy, including the Maltese Coast and Sicily.
“My favorite thing about traveling is the feeling of freedom and unexpected adventure,” says Lauren. “That’s really, for me, the best part.”
So much so that she has it emblazoned on her body in a tattoo that reads, “Embrace the unknown. In adventure there is power,” that has become her life motto, she says.
Travel transformed Lauren’s life.
It was during her backpacking trip through Europe after college that Lauren discovered who she was, she says.
“That is where my individuality and my personality really took shape,” she says. “I started realizing that I was more into girls … I kind of really came into my own.”
“When you are forced to be out there and adventurous it really makes you a better person,” Lauren believes.
Lauren encourages people to get out and experience and see different cultures.
“It’s really important for people to do it,” says Lauren, touting the benefits of learning about other cultures and people. “I just think that seeing the world is one of the greatest gifts that we have.”
“I was traveling alone most of the time and it forced me to step out of my comfort zone,” she says about having to open up and meet other people on bikes, planes and trains.
She truly believes that travel has made her become a better person by bringing her closer to her center and grounding her as well as making her a bit more fearless when facing the world.
Travel “only makes you stronger, especially as a woman.”
Travel also introduces many tasty delights that Kiyomi and Lauren will be on the lookout for during their next adventures.
Like Kiyomi, Lauren is a self-identified foodie.
“I have a major appetite that she jokes about,” she says, talking about her Food Network travel app that allows her to search and locate the latest and coolest culinary finds.
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