Jersey Banks grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Co. Leaving Denver after high school, she attended The New School University in New York City where she studied contemporary dance and began a lifelong love of the city. Like many graduates in the arts, she was a “starving artist”; a professional dancer, by day, and a “jack of all trades” in the city’s hospitality workforce by night. Engaging in high profile guest services, hosting events, being the scantily clad and untouchable entertainment, beverage “aka” bottle service, bartending, and even “working the door”, she caught more than a glimpse behind the curtain, becoming satiated to both nightlife and her performance pursuits.
After taking a break from dance and wanting to refine her service experience into something that fed her interests in art, people, and working during daylight hours, she eventually cartwheeled into real estate. She hated it. It did, however, foster the meeting of Lyon Porter, (her soon to be life and business partner). In 2014, they accidentally turned a single-family townhouse located in Brooklyn into a boutique hotel and lifestyle brand, Urban Cowboy Hotels. What started as a passion project became a much-needed antidote to the mind-numbing pace of Manhattan. “The Cowboy” evolved into a community of travelers and artists. Now with 4 properties under their umbrella, the Creative Studio in Brooklyn, their luxury boutique hotel in Nashville, their Luxury Lodge “adult camp” in the Catskills, and a 70’s Motel, Dive Bar and Swim Club called the Dive Motel, they are building their 5th location, their first venture in the West and homecoming operation for Jersey opening this year in Denver.
As a co-founder, Jersey’s role with both brands has evolved from the innkeeper of the mom-&-pop B&B, to overseeing operations across all locations. She is now focused on brand development through experience, merchandise, and design as the CEO of the Urban Cowboy Creative Studio. The Studio serves as the in-house creative and brand management team for all Urban Cowboy projects as well as private clients and collaborations. Jersey also shares a terrific two year old with her partner Lyon.