Once in a while, even a reporter likes to be interviewed confesses KIRO radio human interest reporter Rachel Belle, whose “Ring My Belle with Rachel Belle” airs weekdays during the Ron and Don Show — for which she is also an on-air personality — and as a one-hour weekend show. (Find her at www.mynorthwest.com)
Rachel, 34, remembers playing disc jockey as a kid growing up in Pleasanton, Calif., and went to California State University at Chico thinking she would make movies. An internship at the local news station changed her mind.
“I was able to get on the air right away,” she recalls, finding herself drawn to “snarky” news people with their “dark sense of humor.” After producing a morning news show in Sacramento, which required her to get up at 1 a.m., she became a news reporter at Seattle’s KIRO radio in 2005.
Rachel took a break in 2009 to do stand-up comedy and teach English in Japan, then returned to KIRO in 2010 to her current job.
“My dad is from Israel and my mom is from Brooklyn, so I feel like I’m SuperJew,” Rachel says of her upbringing. She’s very open about being Jewish on-air and on Facebook. This hasn’t brought any negative repercussions that she can see. In fact, listeners “get very excited about it,” she says. “People invite me to Shabbat dinner. [They] feel like they know you.”
“A big Scrabble nerd” and cat-lover, Rachel is a foodie who “reads cookbooks in bed.” She’ll frequently grab some friends and make a day trip to Vancouver, BC, to “eat in seven or eight restaurants and drive home.” She’s very funny and was in a comedy improvisation group for a few years.
“To get on stage is my risk taking,” she says. Standup comedy is “the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”
You can meet Rachel on Feb. 8 at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island, when she emcees “A Stage is Born,” the inaugural event of the J’s newly remodeled auditorium (see more at www.sjcc.org).
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They didn’t walk the red carpet at this month’s Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, but for jewelry designer Luminita Gruia, and her sales director Tamar Boden, getting a coveted spot at the Golden Globe Celebrity Gift Lounge was even better.
For the two days before the Hollywood awards event, the business partners showed Luminita’s handcrafted bracelets and necklaces to entertainment industry celebrities who streamed through the exhibit space in the L’Ermitage hotel (see celebrity photos at www.luminitajewelrybydesign.com). Plus, Cosmopolitan Magazine picked Luminita bracelets for its Golden Globes Swag giveaway.
“Our Twitter account is [still] going crazy,” says Tamar (@LuminitaJewelry).
Luminita, who weaves each beaded piece by hand most nights in front of the television, was familiar with many of the stars and says, “we didn’t expect them to be so nice.”
A native of Romania, Luminita trained as a chemical engineer and came to New York in 2000 as a consultant. She met and married her Romanian-Israeli husband and had two sons, which got her interested in education. Returning to school for a second BA and a master’s in math, science and technology, she taught at Bayside High School for a few years before the family came to Seattle in 2006 for a short-term job opportunity.
“We thought we’d be here for just a little while because of the weather,” Luminita recalls, “but then we just fell in love with the JDS [Jewish Day School] community...and coffee.” She has made jewelry since childhood, she says. Her mother was a macramé artist and her grandmother an expert needle worker.
Both women are parents and very active volunteers at the school and in the community. Tamar, a Mercer Island native and UW alum, knew Luminita casually through JDS. Their friendship developed when they ran into each other traveling home from a Hawaiian vacation about four years ago.
“We talked the whole time,” Tamar remembers.
In 2011 Luminita had put up a website gallery, but hadn’t sold much and Tamar was looking for a new work opportunity. Last April Tamar went to Luminita’s to buy a gift and by the time she left, a partnership was born.
Luminita’s signature line is “Candied,” rows of tiny square beads woven on eight strands of silk with an innovative magnetic clasp. Offered in shiny and matte beads, they have a pleasing smooth, but textured feel. Matte beads sell better around Seattle, while the shiny styles are more popular in Southern California and the East Coast. A hamsa bracelet with black beads has sold well locally. Luminita continues to expand and a list of West Coast retailers carrying her pieces is on her website.