DWTS Behind the Scenes: An Exclusive Look
by Park Lane Vice President Tara LeVin
For 14 seasons, I have faithfully tuned in to Dancing with the Stars. Each episode, I enjoy watching the fabulous dancers and their celebrity partners hit the stage!
The show truly takes on another tone for me since I’m able to meet all of the professional dancers and their celebrity partners prior to their dance debut. Helping them select jewelry for the show as well as for their personal lives and future appearances is truly rewarding. I grin from ear-to-ear with tears in my eyes when the contestants unveil Park Lane Jewelry in their performance!
All of the dancers remembered Ryan and me and welcomed us back very warmly. After all, how could anyone forget Park Lane?!!
The energy, excitement and nerves in the air the day before and the day of the premiere are certainly felt. However, there is no tension between the contestants…just love, respect and camaraderie. There is even a strong bond between the dance professionals.
Over the two-day extravaganza, co-owner Arthur LeVin was in a particularly generous mood, and Ryan and I were not going to stop him!! We loaded the dancers up with Park Lane! With that being said, during the frenzied gifting, we can’t recall each item every celeb received, but it has made watching the show that much more fun!
Donald Driver kissed me — twice!!! What can I say…I ADORE the man! And I’m not just saying that because I’m a HUGE Green Bay Packers’ fan! GO PACK GO! Being a Chicago Bears fan, Arthur felt it necessary to taunt him. Despite my panic, Donald remained cool and collected and gave Art a taste of his own medicine… commenting that there are two games the Packers must win each season – both against the Bears!! Driver selected Crave bracelet as he mentioned he was a bit superstitious and needed a good luck charm for the upcoming season.
Peta, Driver’s dance partner, was eliminated in the first round in season 13. She is enormously talented, and we’re (I’m!) so glad the two are a team.
On Jay Leno on Wednesday, March 21st, Sherri Shepherd donned the Rihanna bracelet, Eclipse ring and Mix and Match earrings in hematite. The Chicago native walked into our suite and said, “I know Park Lane! I’m from Chicago.” She mentioned that she would be on Leno that week. I picked Rihanna bracelet, and the two of us worked around the bracelet for her Leno appearance. Shockingly, Sherri’s time was cut short on the program as she was eliminated in the 3rd round results show.
Val Chmerkovskiy, Sherri’s partner who is a bit on the shy side and completely opposite of his brother Maks, is certainly not reserved when it comes to his dance skills!
Gavin DeGraw was over the top easy-going, pleasant and harmonious. Gavin and Ryan really hit it off. Ryan is from a music background and, previous to Park Lane, worked for Sony Music. The two had much in common, and Ryan has the utmost respect for the platinum recording artist for that label.
Gavin’s partner Karina Smirnoff said, “I remember Park Lane! Chicago!” I reminded Karina that JR wore Park Lane’s Fame necklace throughout her winning season. She asked Gavin to take a look at Fame necklace and Rockefeller necklace; as a result, Gavin walked away with both!
The duo had fantastic chemistry!
“A lot of cool pieces…love the necklace.” – Gavin DeGraw
Karina also mentioned that I should Google her for pictures of her on the red carpet as she wears Kimberly earrings all the time!
Gladys Knight is a genuine empress! Gladys tempted the DWTS audience with her superior class. She also attracted everyone in the DWTS Lounge with her charisma as she paraded through the Lounge entertaining all of us! Her eyes seemed to look deeply into everyone’s soul as she engaged in conversation. Just a few of the items Gladys selected were Over the Top bracelet, Venice ensemble, Roma necklace and Mix and Match earrings.
Oh, so handsome! Tristan, with his big blue eyes, bright smile and BEAUTIFUL accent, was Gladys’s knight in shining armor. He selected the Rose Garden bracelet for his mother for Mothers’ Day!
Jack Wagner was positively charming. When Arthur told him how excited I was that he was casted for the show, Jack responded, “Tara, I love you!” He followed this with a big hug and kiss! Unfortunately, my teen heart-throb was eliminated in the 2nd round.
Anna Trebunskaya, the stunning red-head and Jack’s partner who is no stranger to Park Lane Jewelry, selected the Rose Garden bracelet.
Jaleel White was a refreshing surprise. The mature, now BUFF actor dropped a part of a cookie he was eating during his Park Lane visit. It took everything for all of us to hold back his Urkel catch phrase…”Did I do that?”!!! Jaleel was so gracious and kind and had a wonderful sense of humor.
Mark Ballas said, “I’ll get something for the girlfriend! She will love this!” Mark later visited Park Lane with his girlfriend to show her where he selected the jewelry.
Melissa Gilbert commented, “Oh, you’re from Wisconsin; you grew up watching me!” Did you know that Melissa is the president of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition? With Park Lane being a strong advocate for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, we shared a common-thread. We spoke to Melissa about her incredible work and she was so very humble. She mentioned that the families who go through these situations are the “brave ones”. One of the children Melissa knows from her position on the board of directors will be in the audience supporting her!
“Wow, these are fantastic! I’m really into bangles!” – Melissa Gilbert
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Melissa’s controversial but gorgeous partner, selected Crave bracelet. Maks was in rare form… fully clothed. Bummer!
William Levy, the “Latin hottie” has certainly made his stage presence known! Even after practicing all day, he was still striking in his workout clothes!
“I like it. It’s nice! This is the best part!” – William Levy
Once again a judge, Bruno Tonioli entertained us with his comical comments using Over the Top bracelet as a prop – that’s all I’ll say!!!
Judge Len Goodman corrected my grammar. He said that his wife was truly enjoying the Venice ensemble we gifted to him last season. “She’s worn it many times.” I commented, “You did good then!” He politely corrected me by gently saying, “Yes, I did do well!” Always a critic but also a true gentleman, Len also mentioned he would be “nice” this season!!
Carrie Ann came through the lounge with just two hours to spare before the big premiere. She didn’t have a lot of time, but she did for “JEWELRY!” Carrie Ann selected several pieces and then emailed to ask for two additional Roma necklaces. One for her mother and one for Bruno??!!
The dancers, their celebrity partners and judges weren’t the only lucky recipients of our fabulous jewels; celebrity audience guests also had a chance to visit with us.
Neicy Nash, a recurring Park Lane visitor, bowed down in respect to “daytime’s leading lady” Susan Lucci’s arrival! “Oh my Goodness, you’re so tiny!” observed Neicy.
Susan Lucci – “All of these are pretty! They are beautiful. I love your stuff!”
Susan’s husband Helmut Huber admired Fame ring, noting, “It looks like the ring we bought in Florence [Italy].” “But much more sparkly!” commented Susan. Susan moved on after selecting her Park Lane goodies, but her husband stayed back still enamored with Fame ring! Susan returned for a second time laughing, “Honey, I can’t believe you’re still looking at jewelry!”
Disney’s Kyle Massey told us he wears his Fame ring daily. Kyle’s mother, naturally his biggest fan, was thrilled to add pieces to her Park Lane collection as well!
The last “Pip” and Gladys’s brother Bubba Knight fell in love with Sparta bracelet, while his wife chose the popular Venice ensemble.
The 6th season celebrity champion Kristi Yamaguchi chose Rose Garden bracelet and the Roma ensemble. Perfect choices for the delicate and elegant figure skater.
“What great pieces.” – Kristi Yamaguchi
Although certainly not surprised, I am always SO PROUD that so many stars find Park Lane to be red-carpet and TV-appearance worthy!
After the event, Ryan was convinced that the show’s name be changed to “Park Lane with the Stars!” because we are always the BIGGEST HIT!
Country Music Sensation Miranda Lambert looks rock star glamorous wearing Park Lane’s Sleek Necklace, Italia Necklace, Supreme Ring, and NYC Earrings, during a live concert!
Click here to buy the same stunning sparkles that complete this country rocker look!