Lauren Gerrie, Co-Founder, Big Little Get Together

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"I started dancing when I was three. For a long time, it was ballet. But as I got older, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to really express myself through ballet. I’m much more intense, sexual. Now I co-teach an all-levels dance class called Moves with Marisa Competello. You know, I think the way I’d describe it in a New York sector is like, it’s very downtown. It's very J. Lo, Janet Jackson—sexual, but moves that anybody can do. And we are lovers of dance, so we create an environment that is just based on that. You don’t have to have technique, you don’t have to even keep a beat or know right from left, you just have to come there because you love to dance. We try to pick songs that everybody can relate to.

When we first started Moves years ago, it was only our boyfriends and our friends, and sometimes no one would come at all, so then we stopped. And then the friends that used to come started talking about it more and they started telling friends, and everyone was like, ‘Why don’t you do this again?’ Finally, we were able to do Moves on a Thursday night from 8:30 to 10PM, which is still our slot, at Gibney Dance Studios. I attribute a lot of our success not only to the fact that like, we—Marisa and I—love it, but it’s a lot of creatives… There are a lot of fashion and art people who come, but it’s not just limited to that. There are lots of other people who don’t relate to that who are there. They’re important to us, too. A lot of people from fucking Brooklyn come. You can’t sign up anywhere, you don’t have an account, you just show up. It’s $20, you just dance. It is… like pure joy. The best! It’s totally the fucking best!

FOOD & CAREER
My dad is an artist, so he did a lot of trade with restaurants, and I grew up really appreciating food. My jobs were always in food, but front-of-house. When I moved to New York to go to school and to work professionally as a dancer, while I was doing that I was always working in restaurants and bars. I ended up going to Italy for a summer where I worked in this family-owned restaurant in Tuscany, and I realized that that’s what I wanted to be a part of. I met Flannery, my business partner, right before leaving and we started cooking together. On a whim we started our company, , which we have now had for 12 years. I started working for Marc [Jacobs] as his personal chef seven years ago. I worked for him for six and a half years, which was incredible. I mean, he’s such an amazing person, he’s so kind and so generous. When I think about it now, it’s fucking crazy the people that I’ve cooked for—in general, but also because of Marc.

A lot of people get super stressed out when they’re hosting a dinner or party. I think it’s a good idea to do a cocktail that’s pre-mixed, if you’re gonna do a cocktail. Or have two wines—you don’t need a huge selection. And snacks are great. Nuts and veggies—keep it simple! Everyone loves chips and crackers and something snack-y. I love to get like three really great cheeses and two seasonal fruits—like right now, stone fruits are amazing. Or a big bowl of sungold tomatoes. You know, stuff that’s just not messy. And then, as a host, just be available—you should be a part of it!

BEAUTY
I’m incredibly, incredibly ritualistic with everything in my life. I love a cold shower in the summer—a really cold shower. I use as my body soap, because I love the smell. When I get out, I use as my body oil. I get this really great lotion from the farmer’s market, which is not really a lotion, it’s more like a salve. But it has honey and all these essential oils, and I started using that because I used to have really dry-but-oily skin, and this just evened everything out. And I use geranium essential oil on my face. And then, the thing that gets the most attention out of my entire regimen, is I wear in my hair. I put it in my hair and at the nape of my neck. One of my closest friends one day was like, ‘You know, I think it’s like the smell of like a hamster cage, but in the best way.’ [Laughs] It’s cedar, so it’s the wood chips. For women, there’s got to be something with pheromones, because I will hug someone and they’ll be like, ‘What are you wearing, what is that smell?!’ It’s been crazy! I’m not going to say where I get it. I’m just kidding, it’s from fucking Whole Foods. I use the vetiver as deodorant, I use the peppermint oil if I have cramps, I use the lavender and the eucalyptus in the shower... The Texas cedarwood is just like, it’s money. I love essential oils.

Aside from my essential oils and wearing sunscreen, I don’t do a ton. Sometimes I’ll use baking soda as a natural face scrub. I mix it with a little coconut oil–I only use coconut oil now, to wash my face or remove makeup. And I love doing a honey scrub. In the summertime at the farmer’s market there’s a lavender vendor, so I’ll do honey with lavender beads and some coffee grounds as a full body scrub. I’m a big advocate for like working from the inside out—drink a lot of water, drink a lot of coffee. I think for women, probiotics are really good. I do have some sun damage, so I wish I had been better about it as a teenager, but like… what are you gonna do, you only live once! [Laughs] You know, dance. Make yourself happy in all the ways possible. Get a crazy dog. It’ll keep you young.

MAKEUP + HAIR
In terms of makeup, I put on mascara and a little bit of bronzer. And I put Nars lipstick on my cheeks—that’s . I use in Black, and also, since I am in the sun and biking around all the time, I wear on my face. Then —'cause I love oils, I’m not a big lotion person. My boyfriend Daniel launched Milk Makeup as their digital director when they opened, and this is their , which I really love as like a glossy eyelid to get some glow. Although when it’s this hot and sweaty out, you don’t need any additional glow—you’re naturally shimmering.

I don’t do anything to my hair. I just let it air dry and put that cedar essential oil in. I started out using it at the base of my roots for strengthening, cause I used to dye my hair black and had shorter hair and it needed it. But now I just wear it as a fragrance. Plus I dance a lot, I ride my bike everywhere, and when I go to yoga and I sweat, it releases right there on the nape of the neck and now it’s the scent that all of my friends identify with me. I like that, because I don’t like when people are like, ‘Oh, is that Le Labo?’ I think scent should be very personal. In terms of getting ready that’s it. Then I get stoned—that’s huge… I get stoned, dance around. That is the key to my daily routine. My business partner will always joke, because I’m very punctual, but if I’m a few minutes late she’s like, ‘OK, stop dancing in the apartment, don’t get more stoned, just come and meet me!’

GOING OUT
I’m not a big club person—I go out to a lot of restaurants. If I’m going out, it always involves dinner and drinks and then going somewhere else. I’m a part of , so I love going there. I also love going to , which is their sister restaurant in Bed Stuy. It’s small—both their restaurants are smaller. I love going to in Bed Stuy. Always crowded—their reggae nights, though, are really fun. I go to and all the time, I love that place. I mean, Andrew Tarlow is a really great person. He’s the guy who owns all of them—I love all of his places. is really beautiful. is a new restaurant that a lot of my friends work at, and it’s beautiful and sexy. It’s not my favorite food, it’s a little bit heavier French food, but the restaurant and the bar are so handsome. I love going to cause it’s like an old New York staple, and that’s a great place to have a martini. It just like feels chic and fun. I love in the West Village—I think it’s the best Italian restaurant in New York. is around the corner, but it’s fancier.

I love wearing bathing suits out. My summer staple is a bathing suit with slinky shorts and high heels or just a simple slide. But that's very, very different from winter. In the winter I only wear Dickies—I have maybe 30 pairs of Dickies in different colors, and then I’ll wear a different top. I think the thing is that I’m not a big clothes person, to be honest. I love clothes, but I’m not a shopper, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. I wear a lot of —she’s a friend a mine who makes a lot of really beautiful leather pieces. I have all of her harnesses and fanny packs. Get some lipstick on. Those are my outfits. Not into labels—I wear a lot of hand-me-downs though, and my mom does love labels, so I acquired a lot of great things from her. But I do just like to have something that is great for summer and riding my bike, but I know it’s not going to last, so I don’t have to worry. If I were like, taking cabs everywhere and delicately walking, I’d be fine spending more money on my clothes. But I hustle, and ride my bike, and I have a fucking dog, and I spill… so I wear a lot of black, and a lot of very durable material."

—as told to ITG

Lauren Gerrie photographed by Tom Newton on July 2, 2018.