Born in 1925 in rural Alberta, Canada, Irene Jewell aspired to become a singer and dancer. Moving to the United States in the 1950s, Jewell began a thirty-year career in show business, including theater, small parts in television and film, but especially burlesque, under her stage name "Ricki Covette." Billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer" at 6'8" and the "Glamazon," Covette's career spanned the peak of burlesque's popularity; her career highlights included headlining at clubs, including an 82-week stint at the ShoBar in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a solo act world tour in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Americans. Besides her burlesque career, Covette also had parts in theater, including playing the role of Gymnasia in the 1963-1964 tour of
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
, and appearing in the 1966 film
. After she left show business, she started a successful second career as a real estate broker in the Los Angeles area and travelled with her husband, cinematographer Stuart Jewell, shooting footage of nature and culture. In 2010 she appeared in Leslie Zemeckis's documentary,
Behind the Burly!
Covette died in February 2016.