A week before she’s scheduled to appear at the AfterEllen booth for a meet and greet during the world famous Dinah Shore Weekend, I had the chance to catch up with Lauren Bedford Russell. the former Real L Word star has been busy since the reality show ended, and here’s what you missed.
AfterEllen.com: AfterEllen has caught up with you a couple of times since you first appeared on The Real L Word, but it’s been awhile. Are you currently living in LA? How would you compare NY to LA and has the move changed you or your life?
Lauren Bedford Russell: I am living in LA now yes, it’s been a few years that I’ve been back. I wasn’t finished with New York when I moved back to LA the first time. But toward the end of my time there a few years ago, I really felt like I had soaked it up enough, and was ready to move on and be back in LA.
I have been so happy to be back and it really feels like home for good. Originally I am from southern California, so my family is all down here as well, it’s also nice being close to them. I miss my NY friends but thankfully, I see them a lot. So now I have the best of both worlds, the LA and the NY friends and what I feel like is a better way of life for me in LA. I feel more settled now and really happy. I go visit NYC and that’s good enough for me!
AE: We love your jewelry designs, can you tell us a bit about how that started?
LBD: Thank you! It all started when I was working for a jewelry company in NYC. As a whole I felt that the market for women was too feminine for me. There was nothing that was more unisex/edgy at that time. I knew that I couldn’t be the only one who wanted to wear jewelry that wasn’t pink or pearly. So I started designing jewelry on my own, one piece at a time. Started building my brand and look, and really went for it. I still can’t believe that I did it, and how much I’ve learned! I love creating custom pieces the most. I also love making jewelry a customer owns, that isn’t being worn, into something wearable that they love.
AE: A few years ago you were in the documentary ‘Girl on Girl’ which, for readers who don’t know, is an excellent film about femme lesbian visibility. You said something in it that really struck a chord with me when you said that you remembered watching The L Word when it first came out and feeling like you saw yourself for the first time. If I recall, you said something along the lines of it being the first time you felt ok about coming out, but you can remind me what you said exactly. I think many lesbians can relate to. What are your memories of that time?
LBD: I’m so happy that I said something that resonated with you! I think I said that it finally felt like home, that I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. My memories are that I was terrified and really couldn’t believe it was actually happening myself. I was pushing it away my whole life. I always tried to avoid going there. I thought I could just skate by and never really embrace that part of myself. But it just got worse and worse for me and the desire was something I couldn’t hide from any longer. It felt like a huge relief and I was excited to start being real.
AE: You also shared a very moving story in Girl on Girl about coming out to your mom. How did that change your relationship with her?
LBD: Our relationship changed so much. Because it took her a minute to really absorb it and know me better. I was hiding so much, and I think she finally felt like a door had opened. There was nothing to hide anymore. Even if someone doesn’t know what they’re missing in how they know you, they know something is missing. That’s how I think she had to have felt before I came out. It’s also been a lot of explaining because she didn’t know about any of my experiences with women. I had hidden them and only had publicly shown the dating men side.
AE: How do you feel today about your time on The Real L Word, and would you do it again?
LBD: It’s funny, I just watched the (Dinah) double episodes for the first time since it aired (!!) I was screaming, haha. I forgot so much that had happened. I was definitely a different person then, so it’s funny to watch. I am always glad that I did it. So much good has come from it. Overall I feel like I would do it again. There is not a lot that I would change. Maybe some of their fibbing on the Amanda stuff. 😉
AE: What have you learned since then about your relationships, past or future, and what you need in a partner?
LBD: I think that a lot happened during my relationship with Kiyomi. So much life happened. I’ve realized it’s hard to survive that and end up together. Just like other couples from the show have also broken up. It can be really challenging when a lot of life is thrown at you. I don’t look at the ending of relationships as failures, ever, though. No matter how long you were together. I have learned what I want to feel and what I don’t want to feel. I’ve learned who I want to be to that other person, and it’s all a part of learning and growing. I am super independent. It’s tough to be anonymous and date after something like this, but that’s the breaks. Hahaha.
AE: Any current projects we should know about?
LBD: Yes! I am filming a feature film called ‘T11 Incomplete’ later this year actually in NYC – I play Kristy, a small love interest of the main character. I’m really excited about it!! Besides that, I will be working on @lyonjewelry / www.lyonfinejewelry.com 🙂
AE: We are so excited that you’re going to be at Dinah Shore weekend this year and we are having a meet and greet with you at our AfterEllen booth. Do you have any Dinah memories you’d like to share?
LBD: Oh man, from back then, I remember being really excited to like someone and feeling the butterflies. And to hang out with someone I had a crush on. That’s always fun. I love being with my friends and boppin’ around with them. It’s been a while!!! Excited to see what this year has in store.
Lauren Russell and the AfterEllen team will see you at The Dinah! Lauren will be at our booth on Saturday, March 31, from 3-4 pm.