Jewelry designers and brands court major celebrities—and their stylists—all the time, hoping to get their designs photographed on notables at high-profile events. But how many of them pursue world-class athletes?
We’d guess that independent jewelry designer Sonia Hou was among the few to reach out to the figure skaters on the U.S. Olympic team—which is why, at least in part, the Los Angeles–based designer was able to get three skaters to wear pieces from her collection during performances at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last month.
And one of the skaters, Mirai Nagasu, was wearing a pair of Hou earrings when she became the first American to land a triple axel on Olympic ice, which made news worldwide.
Nagasu, dressed in a bright red skating dress, had on a pair of Hou’s $89 micron-plated Fire Ear Jackets, which feature round quartz stones and a cool little gold spike, when she pulled off the momentous jump.
CNBC.com reports that Hou first contacted U.S. figure skater Karen Chen, who ended up wearing Hou’s Trill earrings during her Olympic short program. Chen reportedly connected Hou to Nagasu, and Nagasu connected Hou to Bradie Tennell. (We’re not sure which Sonia Hou earring design Tennell wore, but it was certainly a stud).
The Sonia Hou Fire Ear Jackets Mirai Nagasu wore during the 2018 Winter Olympics
Karen Chen performing in Sonia Hou earrings at the 2018 Winter Olympics (Photo courtesy of @soniahoujewelry)
Hou, a 35-year-old entrepreneur with a 16-month-old baby, got into jewelry-making after coveting earring styles worn by celebrities that were way out of her price range, she told CNBC.
She describes her collection, which features gold-plated gemstone styles, as “Tiffany meets Forever 21.” And she’s been hustling for promotional opportunities from the get-go: “I asked my contacts to put me in touch with the TV personalities and their agencies,” she told the news outlet. The push led to exposure on The Wendy Williams Show and a placement on The View, when cohost Sherri Shepherd donned a pair of her earrings.
“I decided to pursue Olympic female figure skaters because they receive a ton of press during the Olympics,” Hou said. “And if they become breakout stars, the publicity is huge.”
Top photo: Mirai Nagasu after her Olympic short program, wearing Sonia Hou earrings (Photo courtesy of @chrysmela)