celebrity shopping

What Justin Peck Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Getty

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Tony Award–winning choreographer, director, filmmaker, and dancer Justin Peck — who recently collaborated with sportswear company On — about the pencils he picked up from Steven Spielberg, a hoodie gifted from Spike Lee, and the hat he wears for location scouts.

Tango Hot Sauce

This is an amazing hot sauce because it’s vegan, organically sourced, and yet still packs a punch. I’m a big hot-sauce person, and this holds up against Tabasco and Cholula. It’s become my preferred hot sauce. I consistently have it in my fridge for breakfast burritos. I found it at a shop in Greenpoint called Upstate Stock. It’s a coffee shop, and they also carry a lot of food products, candles and incense, hiking guides, and stuff like that.

I was never really into packaged already-popped popcorn. But this is a very addictive snack. I’ve read that nutritional yeast kind of boosts up popcorn, and BjornQorn has mastered the ratio. It’s delicious. I always have a bag in my pantry. And again, I’m a spice fanatic, so my favorite’s their spicy popcorn.

Like many people, I started to cook a lot during the pandemic. I cooked before that quite a bit, but in pandemic days it became pretty much every day. During that time, I started researching cast iron skillets and found this brand. They’re a U.S.-based company out of Charleston, South Carolina, and they care so much about their craft. And, they give really great guidance on how to use a cast-iron skillet. This one did not disappoint. It’s a pillar of my kitchen. And I’ve since ordered their wok and a couple other pieces from them. It’s worth the investment, because they’re pieces that will last a lifetime and ones I’ll probably pass down.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils
$27 for 12
$27 for 12

These pencils were first introduced to me by Steven Spielberg. When we were working on West Side Story, we would do a lot of preparation that involved these long meetings about how to stage the numbers. Whenever Steven got an idea, he would pick up one of these pencils and start sketching something out. I took a mental note and started using them myself. They are a game changer because they glide beautifully. It’s a pristine pencil for taking notes, making sketches, and creating storyboards or choreographic patterns. I use a lot of notebooks for fleshing out ideas, and when you’re creating, you want materials that inspire you too.

This is a book that every New Yorker should read and revisit at least once a year. It’s a true testament to the city, what makes it great, and why we love it. The book was written in the late ’40s, but it could be written about New York City today. It still feels so relevant, and you can see all the parallels to the city back then and what makes it consistently great. It’s a beautiful, poetic musing about New York. I’ve gifted it to friends, actors, dancers, and artists that I’ve worked with. It’s something I genuinely love and read every so often because it inspires me. I always share it in hopes that it will do the same for others, and usually it does.

I’ve been using this for about four years now, and usually use this twice a day. It’s lightweight and absorbs really easily, so it doesn’t feel cake-y on your face. At the same time, it’s very hydrating. I don’t use a lot of products, but this is one that’s been a constant for me, and my face thanks me for it.

From $17

My method of commuting in New York is by bicycle. Biking in the fresh air makes me a much happier person. Even when it’s super frigid in January or February, you’ll catch me on a bike. It’s very Danish. In Copenhagen, everyone bikes year round, regardless of the weather, so I’ve tried to embrace that attitude. I own a bike, but I also pretty frequently use the Citibike. I’ve had a membership for, oh man, I wanna say almost a decade now. It’s good to have for those moments when I need to get somewhere quickly or if it rains. I don’t have to deal with the hassle of figuring out how to get my bike home. Also, with bike theft in New York, this takes away some of that anxiety when I’m going from place to place. Citibike is just a whole program that’s reinvented the idea of the commute in New York City, I think for the better.

That’s a funny story because I was biking home on my actual bicycle, and all of a sudden the sky opened up and it started pouring rain. It was one of those torrential summer thunderstorm downpours. I just made it underneath some scaffolding when the rain started, and I didn’t know how long it would last. I looked to my side and realized I was right in front of a Fjällräven store. I walked in wondering if I could find a lightweight rain jacket to help get me home, and I found this. I was all excited, put it on, zipped it up, and when I got on my bike, the thunderstorm completely stopped. All of a sudden it was sunny again. I was like, Are you kidding me? But I am glad it happened, because I just love this jacket. I wear it on plane rides, in the studio when I’m choreographing, when I’m warming up. It’s not heavy, but it’s built to last. And it packs up really small, so it’s good for traveling. It’s one of those products that’s worthwhile and can be used in so many different ways.

I’m a huge fan of pieces that fall in that middle point of being able to dress up or down. You can rock this as almost a deconstructed blazer, or an everyday light jacket for bicycle commutes and moving through New York. I have a few of them in the cotton canvas material. They’re very lightweight. They feel somewhere between a button-down shirt and jacket. I wear them a lot in the spring and fall. It’s just right for a breezy dinner outside.

This was gifted to me by Spike Lee, who’s become a friend. He invited me over to his amazing studio space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, to show me around. At the very end, he gave me this hoodie, which I thought was just a really sweet gesture at the time. It turns out that this is actually a great hoodie. It’s super comfy, and it’s something you don’t see every other person walking down the street wearing. It feels local. And, I’m supporting Spike Lee and his whole operation — his lifelong goal of telling Black stories from his point of view.

I got this about a year and a half ago at the Filson flagship store while working in Seattle. It’s relatively new, and it’s become a go-to for me. I like that it covers all around your head as opposed to a baseball cap with a visor. It feels like it protects your skin, which is great when you’re outside for long periods of time, like day hikes, beach days, or going on a location scout. Also, whenever I put it on, I feel like I’m about to go out on an adventure. It kind of sets the mood for what’s about to come.

These are sneakers that I wear every day. What’s cool about them is they have that classic flat-bottom tennis-shoe look, but they’re incredibly supportive. It’s hard to find that in a sneaker. They’re either big and ugly but super supportive or the complete opposite: sleek and well-designed, but you can’t walk in them. These are those rare sneakers that do both. I’ve worn them everywhere from going for runs to premieres on stage at New York City Ballet at the Lincoln Center. It really functions across the board.

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What Justin Peck Can’t Live Without