Meet the Warriors behind our new campaign. This fall, we called on real-life leaders who aren’t afraid to go within to let their light out. From the symbolic pieces they wear to the powerful stories they tell, see why these spiritual trailblazers are redefining what it means to be a warrior.

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Tell us who you are in a few words:

I’m a writer, neuroscientist, and natural beauty and skincare formulation expert with an expertise in aroma.

What does being a spiritual warrior mean to you?

Being a spiritual warrior means honoring what your mind and body is telling you—even when you don’t want to listen, or the world makes it hard to. It’s understanding yourself and feelings and creating space for them when you feel misunderstood by others. It’s about not being afraid to “go there” with yourself when feeling the depths of sorrow and the natural highs of true love and sharing that experience with others.

Tell us about a moment that changed the course of your life.

All of my photos for this collection are shot in downtown San Francisco, California, which is a place I had never even set foot on until 2016. In fact, I had never even been to the west coast of the continental U.S. before two years ago, but something was always drawing me there. I had always loved California and hoped to live there, but I didn’t have a reason to go.

I moved to California last year when my partner, Jack, was accepted to a PhD program at Stanford University. A cross-country move with a half-baked plan can raise a lot of eyebrows. In the end, it was the right thing to do for me. The truth is that moving to the Bay Area was one of the best things I ever did for myself. I was able to experience a new place where I knew no one, my relationship with Jack grew stronger, and I was able to embark on my dream career that made me happy about what I was waking up and doing every day. At times, thinking of giving up everything I was working on in NYC filled me with dread, but at the end of the day, I knew I wanted to see what else this world had to offer me. Sometimes we have to give up who we are to become who we’re meant to be. And that’s what my move to California represents to me.

What gives you the courage to keep going?

My potential to make a difference gives me the courage to keep going. I believe we are all on this planet for a purpose and that inspires me to carry on with my own work and support the amazing work I see others doing.

Tell us your story in three sentences. Who are you really?

I’ve lived and traveled all over the world from my childhood until now. I’d do anything for my two sisters. The best part, most comforting part of who I am at 24 years old is that my path is still evolving.

Which fall piece speaks to you most and why?

When I was 21 years old and about to graduate from college, I had a sweet job lined up in New York City at a bank. Two months before my May graduation, I picked up David Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity thinking it would be a great beach read and foray into learning more about meditation and spiritual psychology. This book opened up my world into thinking about my future and who I wanted to be. That next week, I interviewed with Columbia University for a spot at their clinical psychology graduate program in the Spirituality Mind Body Institute. A few weeks later, I accepted my offer and began school in NYC that summer, where the David Lynch Foundation taught us Transcendental Meditation. Looking back, that book was a sign that changed the course of my life.

To me, wearing this necklace is a constant reminder of how life comes full circle. I wear the fish hook every day, not only because it is my style, but also because it reminds me of what it means to be a spiritual warrior. When a wave comes, and things get tough, I go deep and tap into calm. It also reminds me that inspiration and good ideas are all around me if I take the time to be present and let them come to me. It also reminds me that no matter how murky the ocean may be, it’s worth diving into even if you’re unsure of what it holds for you. It will likely lead you to treasure that’s beyond your wildest dreams and you’ll be grateful that you made the leap.

When it comes to picking pieces to wear, what do you look for?

Simple, understated elegance. I love layering finer pieces of jewelry and have been playing with mixing different metals for a subtly more edgy look that still feels like me.

Do you wear the same jewelry every day or switch it up? 

To me, jewelry can be like a tattoo. It’s a constant physical reminder of something— a memory, a dream, a person, a place. Just looking at and wearing a familiar piece of jewelry of sentimental value can re-calibrate our mind, body, and spirit.

Every day, I wear the Arrow and Infinity pull chain bracelets on my left wrist as a reminder that life always pushes us in the right direction and to remember I am unconditionally loved. On my right wrist, I often wear the Hand of Fatima precious cuff for good energy and women power!

Tell us a little about each of your picks for your curated boutique. What inspired your choices? What do you love about each one?  

Path of symbols bangle stack: I love all of the imagery in this silver bangle stack. The guardian angel, the moon bracelet, which has a lot of importance to me since a lot of my major life events happened with major sun and moon movements, like I got engaged during a solar eclipse—  you feel like you get a lot of good energy and protection from wearing it.

Earrings: I love the look of these dramatic earrings. They’re bold, but still go with a lot of my other picks and can be worn with nearly any outfit!

Entire 14k gold collection: I could wear every piece of this collection every single day of my life and never need any other jewelry. It’s classically stylish, effortlessly cool and I always get asked where I got them! I love this whole collection because it makes you feel like you’re wearing timeless and super fancy jewelry that is beautiful enough to get noticed, but not overbearing.

David lynch fish hook necklace: I touched on this in another one of my previous answers, but this piece is something that I now wear every day. Its purpose is two-fold for me— it’s my one reminder to actively go digging for great ideas to make the world a better place, but to also slow down, take a deep breath, and let those ideas and people with those great life-changing ideas find me when they’re meant to cross my path.

Tell us about a piece that helps you tell your story / share your truth. 

The crown chakra bangle is a piece I absolutely love. Even if you’re not into yoga or buy into the chakra system, I think this piece can be meaningful for a lot of people. It’s gold and white color is aesthetically pleasing, but the 7th chakra reminds us that we are always a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Are any of these pieces gift-worthy? Which ones and who would you give them to.

I would absolutely give my sisters the 14k gold collection and David Lynch Foundation collaboration pieces. They all have meaning, but they also give back. I think that’s a unique and thoughtful feature in a gift.

How do you mix and match pieces to make them your own?

I love the layered look and think it’s fun to mix and match items from different collections. Even when mixing and matching, all pieces still lend a uniformed look that allows you to switch it up!

What inspired you to collaborate with ALEX AND ANI?

Their commitment to giving back and inspiring spiritual connection with each of their pieces. ALEX AND ANI is all about intention. Every aspect of the brand is socially conscious— from the product design to the making of the jewelry. What an honor it has been to collaborate with you! 

What’s your favorite symbol and why? Why would you wear this product?

I love the grounding symbolism of the LOTUS PEACE PETALS. To me, the lotus represents the innate inner strength and human ability to get through anything. A lotus has to get through the mud to blossom into the beautiful flower that it is— humans are like that too.

What three words would you use to describe our products?

Timeless, intentional, and versatile.

Click here to shop the Leigh Winters boutique.

Follow Leigh on Instagram: @leighmwinters

Stay on the lookout for all of the Warriors this fall sharing their stories. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more!

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Sarah Viens
Written by Sarah Viens
A twenty-something-year-old learning how to navigate life’s paths through Spotify playlists and her fashion blog. Sarah is a Jr. Copywriter and the voice behind our social media as well as the ALEX AND ANI blog.