For as long as we’ve been going out in this city, we’ve been spotting Waris Ahluwalia, the hip young Sikh in the corner, dancing—not drinking—and flashing his disarming smile to a well-chosen few. His social connections have led to appearances in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Inside Man, even though he’s not an actor. Who, we wondered, is Waris? On Wednesday, the launch of his idiosyncratically beautiful jewelry line, House of Waris, at Bergdorf Goodman, and later the Indian Consulate, and finally (if Waris gave you a card that said “Waris ♥s you”) at the Beatrice Inn, gave us a chance to find out.
How’d the social networking start?
I was 17 and I liked to go out. It started at Limelight because that was the only place that would let us in, that and Danceteria. So it wasn’t so much social networking, as I’m drawn to night and nightlife and I love it. And, you know, this is my home. Every time I come back into town there’s a welcome-back party.
How many times did you go out a week then?
I try not to. It feels irresponsible. I have so many friends and obligations and I want to go out and support people. But we eat at home.
How long would you say you’ve had a real job?
It’s officially a year and a half, but three years I’ve been doing it.
Does the turban help with the bouncers?
Yeah, it does make me distinctive.
Where do you find space in Manhattan to make your jewelry?
I don’t make anything. Want to touch these hands? I have the best craftsman in Rome, and I’ve got the best craftsman in India. Why do I want to learn that? It’s going to take me twenty years.
You’re at Beatrice Inn all the time.
Andre and Paul [Sevigny] are two of my really good friends. This [jewelry line] has only happened because people have taken care of me, so I’m going to do whatever I can to take care of them. I just want to create, and socializing is part of the experience. It might sound crazy, but I don’t see myself in the jewelry business. It’s an experience.
Is Beatrice the only place you go out?
Lately, yeah—I love it. It’s the oldest restaurant in New York City. I love anything to do with history. I’m driven by history and our past. That’s why I work in gold. It’s in your veins. We’ve been lusting after gold since the beginning of time. God, glory, and gold. —Jada Yuan