21 Aug 2015

Lenny's ornaments: nostrils, nipples, and pubic piercing

Lenny Kravitz has more than just one piercing. But a particular and very special ring came before the public eye during a wardrobe malfunction when his leather trousers ripped open as he jammed on his guitar during a concert in Stockholm, Sweden on August 3, 2015. The pubic piercing I did on Lenny's private parts many years ago became public.

The concertgoers in his audience, along with a huge quantity of lookie-loos all across the Internet gawked and talked. I guess they call such areas "private parts" for a reason, but celebrities are not afforded the same courtesy as the rest of us mortals. He had been quite public about being into piercing and had previously been professionally photographed showing off his nipple and genital piercings. But this exposure brought a whole new level of scrutiny and gossip.

Lenny was not only a repeat client, but also a good friend. We met initially at Gauntlet in Los Angeles (circa 1991) when he came in to get a nostril piercing to match the one he already wore on the other side. I pierced it for him then, and some months later I also pierced a friend he brought to the studio. We later we became reacquainted after he bought a home in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where I had moved and opened my studio, Rings of Desire. He saw me in a restaurant and came over to my table.

"I know you!" he said. "Yes, I know you, too," I replied--though I couldn't initially place where we'd met. He was so warm and friendly, and we would get together whenever he came to town. Sometimes we would have dinner, hang out at his house, or at the home of another friend. He would visit my studio and watch me pierce my clients. You can read about that in Rolling Stone Magazine. Over the years, he brought in countless friends and colleagues for me to pierce. He was such a nice guy; always sweet, humble, and down to earth. Since I didn't watch TV and wasn't much into popular music, I didn't actually "know who he was." I think he liked that I wasn't starstruck, as people often are around him.Lenny Kravitz and I on his motorcycle in New Mexico circa 1996

Our friendship was sealed one day as we walked arm-in-arm through the French Quarter. A young woman was sitting on her stoop, and she stopped us by holding up her hand and inquiring, "Hey, aren't you...Elayne Angel--the piercer?!" I realized later that he naturally thought she was going to ask if he was Lenny Kravitz, and was apparently quite tickled by the fact that the gal hadn't given him a second glance. 

At some point in the 90s, Lenny came in with his girlfriend at the time and (a stunning and very sweet young lady) and I pierced her perfect nipple. She talked about wanting to get her tongue pierced, but they didn't think the timing was right, since she was going to continue visiting with him for some time. He then asked me if I would be willing come out "on tour" to pierce her tongue, before she headed back home. I agreed without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into.

He flew me out and had me picked up in a limo and brought to his "work." It was then, as I was led into the backstage area of an arena filled with at least 50,000 screaming fans, that I realized my friend Lenny was a HUGE rock star. I really hadn't known. 

Lenny Kravitz's nipple and nostril piercings on show

Lenny was a tremendous proponent of piercing. He just loved everything about it. One evening after dinner together he decided he wanted to get his nipples pierced. He thoroughly enjoyed the process, as some people do. I quote his remark exactly: "I wish I had ten nipples so that you could pierce all of them." 

Over the course of time, I pierced everyone from his father Sy (ear lobe) to his ex-wife (formerly known as Lisa Bonet, now going by Lilakoi Moon), chef, sound engineer, bus driver, personal assistant, and every single member of his band when I was his "tour piercer." He also flew me out to California pierce his daughter Zoe's ears at her birthday party--though she wasn't quite ready at the time. Everyone at the party had known of the plan and given her earrings. Lenny even volunteered to get an ear piercing to show her how quick and easy it was. I pierced the tragus of her mother (who is also a truly lovely person) and several other friends as well. It was not to be at that time, but Zoe currently wears a number of visible piercings (including her ear cartilage and septum), and some tattoos. She is just darling.

I believe the year I did Lenny's pubic piercing was 1996, and in some photos where he's showing it, he still has dreadlocks. So it has definitely been in there since the mid-1990s--quite some time.

Here's David Yi's Mashable.com piece interviewing me about Lenny's pubic piercing. Mr. Yi did take some artistic license and paraphrase many of my quotes (I've never been known to utter the words "belly" and "ring" together!) but it is an amusing article. I did say I was glad to see that the piercing still looks happy, healthy, and very sturdy 20 years later--especially since pubic piercings are rumored to be prone to migration andrejection.

I saw that he was still wearing the special piece of gold jewelry that we had made for him, which features a large white diamond taken from a pair of his late mother's earrings. So, he's wearing the family jewels on...his family jewels.

That article (and others like it) brought on some additional attention and I gave an interview on an Irish Radio Show.

He spoke about the piercing in a 2004 interview with Contact Music:

Kravitz explained the piercing and boasted that: "I've never taken it out. It's a hoop about the size of a quarter. It hits the lady where she likes it and, because it swings, it can be effective in any position." 

Photo above of Lenny and I on his motorcycle, and below flashing our nipple piercings (c. 1996), and at his home in the French Quarter of New Orleans, 1997, are from my personal collection. Upper left image: 1998 photo of Lenny in Nassau, reportedly taken by Mark Seliger. Source of that info is courtesy of NYMag.com.

Lenny Kravitz and I showing off our nipple piercings circa 1996Lenny Kravitz and I at his French Quarter home, 1997


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