Most major luxury jewelers rely on star power to help draw in customers—but David Yurman waited until now to appoint its first-ever celebrity ambassadors: Scarlett Johansson and Henry Golding. For the latter, a trip to New York City to shoot the campaign at the Carlyle Hotel’s storied Bemelmans Bar was a rare bit of excitement in his newfound life as a dad. At least, that’s the impression he gave off when he spoke with W on a usual Friday night in. “It’s daddy life,” the 35-year-old Snake Eyes and Crazy Rich Asians star, who has a 10-month-old daughter with the yoga instructor Liv Lo, said with a laugh. “Early to bed, early to rise.” He tells the story behind his wedding ring and reminisces on his days as a hairdresser, here.
The first thing I thought when I saw this campaign is Wow, I really, really miss Bemelmans.
That place is just so iconic, it’s crazy. It’s a vibe like no other. I have to come back and go in the evening because we shot through the day, and I was told that the night before we filmed a lot of the guys went over there just to check out the space and have a drink. Bill Murray was down there, tickling the ivory, and I was like, What?! Goddamn, I missed it.
What’s your first memory of David Yurman?
To me, it’s always represented men’s jewelry. It’s funny, me being the first representative in the men’s space. When I was back in London in my former career as a hairdresser, all of my mentors and stylists above me would just have wrists full of the beads and the cable bracelets, all sorts of jazz. So for me, it’s memories of a flick of the wrist in the hairdresser’s, listening to the jangle of all their little amulets and bracelets.
How much did you have to deal with people pointing out that hair and jewelry are conventionally considered effeminate?
Well, back then, of course, it wasn’t as open as it is now. I really feel that you can positively be yourself with jewelry and not be fearful of a kickback from some people, like, “Why are you wearing bangles?” It’s such a way of curating things that means something to you. For me, it’s always been about memories of travels I’ve had, collecting pieces on trips, or things that make me think of special moments.
What’s the story behind your wedding ring?
Like I said, I try to find pieces. I was traveling in the backwaters of Karawa in India, where the gold has a much darker, richer hue. I always knew that I wanted that type of gold for my wedding ring, so I went out into the middle of nowhere and just so happened to [come across] these gold dealers. To this day, it’s one of my most treasured pieces. It’s got such an amazing patina. It’s been beat up and scratched, so it has this beautiful texture to it now. I want David Yurman to design something similar. I’m itching to make something special. Just give me the reins for the weekend. [Laughs.]
When did you first come across a super expensive piece of jewelry?
It must have been on one of my first photoshoots, when I was 21 or something ridiculous. There were three bodyguards just sort of being around, and I remember the moment when I said, “What the hell is going on? Why are there huge dudes in black suits carrying suitcases that are handcuffed to their wrists?”
What was the first piece of jewelry you spent a ton of money on?
A silver Saint Christopher’s [medallion]. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them—you give them to your loved ones. It was a gift for my parents because I was leaving on this bodacious journey halfway across the world to live another life. They gave me this amulet to remind me that they were always going to be there waiting for me if ever I fall flat on my face.
Last thing: I noticed that your Instagram icon is an NFT.
It’s funny that you bring that up, because now people have been making NFTs into jewelry, [sort of like] Apple watches. They put the NFT carousel on rings and bedazzle them. It’s one of those interesting subjects—it’s for some people, and it definitely isn’t for others. And it’s definitely [for those] looking to flip in and make money. That’s definitely not why I fell into it, especially with the Cryptopunk I have. I was drawn to it because it was one of the first projects in the NFT realm and it will go down in history. It’s an iconic memento of the year, I suppose. So, what will be of it? Will there be more? No idea. I don’t think I’ll jump in so heavily unless it’s something that means something to me. I’m definitely not that guy who tries to give financial advice. But it’s fun. It’s a whole world of possibility.