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Jenna Lyons Transcript

new ways for the holidays with jenna lyons

Jenna Lyons: When the doors are closed and you're alone, and all of the noise has gone away and all the invitations have gone away, it's just you sitting there on your couch, you have to be okay with that or you're never going to get back up.

Kerry Diamond: Hey, Bombesquad, welcome back to New Ways for the Holidays, our holiday mini-series on Radio Cherry Bombe, I'm your host, Kerry Diamond. I've been chatting with some of Cherry Bombe's favorite entertaining experts to get their tips and tricks on décor, cooking, virtual celebrations and more. Today we're wrapping up our mini-series with none other than Jenna Lyons, star of the new HBO Max show, Stylish with Jenna Lyons, Jenna is also the founder of LoveSeen, a new beauty brand.

Of course, many of you know Jenna as the creative director and president of J. Crew, she dressed everyone from movie stars to Michelle Obama and so many of us fell in love with Jenna and her style. Jenna is one of my all-time girl crushes and someone I have always admired, so I was thrilled to chat with her. Stay tuned for Jenna's take on decorating during the holidays and binge-watching your favorite television programs, plus her very timely advice on pivoting, picking yourself up and believing in yourself.

Let's do some housekeeping, Cherry Bombe's Holiday Baking Extravaganza kicks off the Sunday with a rugelach demo from pastry chef Caroline Schiff. We've got a Cookie Queen Panel on Monday, a Susan Spungen demo on Tuesday, and lots more. Check out for the schedule and to sign up for these fun and free events. Thank you to the Wines of Sicily for sponsoring today's episode and supporting our New Ways for the Holidays mini-Series. Sicilian wines are terrific all year round but especially during the holidays, here's a word from Sicilian winemaker, Lilly Ferro Fazio, on what makes us Sicilian wines perfect for the holiday season.

Lilly Ferro Fazio: Ciao, everyone, I'm Lilly Ferro Fazio and I am a member of a proud wine-making family in Sicily. Our winery is based in the medieval town of Erice and our grapes grow on the slopes of Sicily Monte Erice, hundreds of meters above sea level. Past, present and future come together in our beautiful wines, which are characterized by their unique terroir, a focus on sustainability from our vineyards to our cellar, and the love and the passions we put into everything we do.

If Sicilian wines are new to you, there's no better time than this holiday season to try our red and white wines that pair very beautifully with any holiday dish, from Nero d'Avola and Moscato to Grillo and Lucido, there is something different and unique for everyone at the table. Be sure to look for Sicilia DOC on the label, the next time you are at your favorite local wine shop. On behalf of all of us at Wines of Sicily, cin-cin! Visit to learn more.

Kerry Diamond: Let's jump right in with Jenna Lyons and some TV talk.

I'm not a binger, do you binge?

Jenna Lyons: I mean, I am only a binger. I watched The Undoing and it was torture because they parse them out and didn't let them out all at once, and it killed me. Have you seen it?

Kerry Diamond: I did, I was just going to say that Undoing must have undone you because they didn't let us binge it.

Jenna Lyons: It was crazy but I binge-watched the Queen's Gambit, which was fantastic. And I guess, I mean, I've binge-watched, I mean, Ozark and Schitt's Creek and, I mean, everything.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. You have to weigh in with your fashion assessment on The Undoing.

Jenna Lyons: Everyone is asking me about Nicole Kidman's dress and I'm not going to lie. It's like it gives me, I don't know, upstate pottery, art future vibes. I'm like, "Not my thing," I mean, you also have to remember, I am the person who would purchase men's tailored suit before I would purchase anything crochet. It's just probably not up my alley, crushed velvet and long full-length coat. But the fact of matter is, she's so gorgeous, she can pull off everything. However, I died a slow and painful and loving death, for that dress that she wore to the party with the lamé, absolutely stunning.

Kerry Diamond: The school fundraiser dress, that was a good one. I'm guessing The Queen's Gambit was more your style?

Jenna Lyons: Well, I loved how stylized the entire movie was. The Queen's Gambit, I just think the entire thing was so stylized and it was visually just mesmerizing, it was really beautifully done.

Kerry Diamond: Speaking of TV shows, you have your own new TV show on HBO Max, Stylish with Jenna Lyons, congratulations.

Jenna Lyons: Thank you, still so weird.

Kerry Diamond: It must be really. It's weird watching it, knowing you, so I can imagine what it's like being you.

Jenna Lyons: I was literally in my car yesterday and I looked to my right to see if I could make a lane change. And there, on the top of a taxi, is my face with Kyle and Sarah. I was like, "Oh, that's weird, it's so strange."

Kerry Diamond: That's a very Sex and the City opening moment. Jenna, tell us what the show is all about.

Jenna Lyons: Well, the show is really about two storylines. There's the main story line, which is doing transformation, we pick different things, whether it be beauty or fashion and home, and we transform a space or someone's look. And then the undertone is that, we are also having people who we're calling associates because that's what I would call someone that I hire, who are basically vying for a job. And in the end, we hire one of these people after we put them through the projects that ideally are projects that I would have given somebody in a regular job. We tried to come up with things that felt really real and so there's two narratives there.

Kerry Diamond: Now, I would not have pegged you as a reality show girl, although, I think your life and career felt like a reality show sometimes, what led to this? Did you pitch this? Did someone pitch the idea to you?

Jenna Lyons: I mean, it happened in this weird, stumbling into it. I was having breakfast with somebody in LA, this guy who was a producer, his name is Matt Hanna, came up to my friend, Jay, and said, "Oh, can I introduce myself? You must be Jenna Lyons, well, would you like to do television?" I'm like, "No way, can we just talk?" I talked to him, he's like, "Can I just put you in front of a few network executives? Let's just try," and I said, "Fine, I have nothing else to do, I don't have a job."

One of those conversations ended up snowballing into another two-hour conversation, into a three-hour conversation, into really deciding to try it on for size. It evolved, it was never meant to be a competition, I was scared of reality. We started off with a documentary team and a reality show team, and the idea was that we were going to meld the two disciplines and that went really haywire. We had to completely rethink everything after shooting one episode, it just didn't work.

And so then we marched to the end with more of a reality-based team and so it became my role, to hold the line for what I wanted reality to be, which was real. But technically, it's normally not and so it was really challenging, it was fun, I cried, I laughed, I definitely sweat. There was a lot of emotional fortitude that went into it but I'm really happy, it seems like it's getting a good response so it's been really fun.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, I love the show. I mean, I don't watch many reality shows but I love this one. And I mean, there are certainly reality elements and condensed time periods, when you send the team running to ABC Carpet to buy whatever, and they have set time to do something. But it doesn't feel... It feels very real and I think you are a big part of that, because you are equal parts, tough and vulnerable and honest, did that just come out naturally?

Jenna Lyons: It's so hard because we're calling it reality but the fact of the matter is, we did not do any of the constructs that happen in reality television, as you know it. When we send people to ABC Carpet & Home, we gave them real time and real money.

Kerry Diamond: You did? Okay.

Jenna Lyons: We did. We didn't actually make it some wild dash, where you have five minutes and you've got to run through the store. I wanted to see what people can do and I wanted to see how they worked because, ultimately, I was looking to hire someone so it was important to get a glimpse of what they were really like. Now, that being said, they were on camera so I think some of that was probably not completely honest because, when you have a camera on you, you behave somewhat differently.

I tried really hard to be myself, when you have cameras on you for 14 hours straight, you forget they're there at some point. You do actually have to just keep moving and so the honesty comes out, whether you want it to or not. There were definitely moments where I went to the bathroom with my mic on or maybe said somethings in the corner, complaining and I was like, "Oh, I'm still mic'ed?" That happened. I was like-

Kerry Diamond: Hot mic.

Jenna Lyons: Yeah. I learned the word hot mic very quickly.

Kerry Diamond: Tell me about Kyle, I only knew Kyle from email and it was so much fun to see Kyle and I feel like Kyle's a potential breakout star.

Jenna Lyons: He and I met when we were at J. Crew, he was Mickey Drexler's right hand, he was one of those people... I don't know if I could explain to you what it's like to have a proxy brain, but Kyle was that, he was the person where Mickey could say, "Who was the woman that we met when we were in the store in Minnesota and we were talking about black pants?" And he'd be like, "Her name was Charlotte and she wanted a black pant in a size two but we only had a four, and she was upset and you called her and you fixed it." And it's like he would just literally... He remembered everything but he also had this incredible way of crisscrossing and intersecting, with all of the different teams that came into Mickey's office. And he was a soothsayer, he was the golden ticket in order to be able to get to understand what's going on with Mickey.

We were literally calling and being like, "What's the mood today? What should we do? What should we show?" He'd be like, "Don't show this, don't show this, this is a good thing to talk about today." He made that office run in a way that no one really could have understood, it was pretty amazing. And on top of that, he was just whip-smart, funny, always got a one-liner, just an incredible pleasure to be around. And so I remember when I was looking to hire someone, I knew Mickey had left and I was like, "And if I want to do something with somebody and who do I want to be looking at every day? Who do I know is going to have my back but also make me laugh?"

Kerry Diamond: Well, you two have such good chemistry and we should say, Mickey Drexler, who was... Was Mickey, technically, your boss?

Jenna Lyons: He was everyone's boss.

Kerry Diamond: At J. Crew? He was everybody's boss.

Jenna Lyons: And I think a lot of people's, even though when you don't work for him, you still feel that way.

Kerry Diamond: You know what? I met Mickey a few times and I think I felt that way. I don't want to give too much away but most of the show was filmed before the pandemic, how did the reality of what's going on impact the show?

Jenna Lyons: I mean, it had so many impacts, I mean, it's a long list. I mean, first and foremost, we had to stop filming and we were originally going to have 10 episodes and we had to cut it down to eight. We decided to make the final episode, the finale, but we had already started filming it so then we had to re-architect the storyline, in order to be able to tie everything up in a bow. We had originally had two more shows, within which to decide who we were going to hire, now we had to make that decision.

We also had planned to do an in-person pop-up shop and so it was going to be a culmination of all of the things that you had seen, over the episodes. And the arc was going to be that we were purchasing them along the way, which we had been doing, and some of it vintage, some of it new, we were making things. And that we were going to be able to sell them in a physical space, so we rented a space downstairs in... I live on Mercer Street and we rented a space here and had purchased all this product and all of a sudden, we couldn't have a real store so now we had to flip to doing virtual. We had to really completely rethink the pop-up shops so that we could really think about, "How do we show it and sell different things?" Because we couldn't have people come in.

Kerry Diamond: Jenna, you were working toward an actual pop-up shop, what happened with that?

Jenna Lyons: What happened was everything shut down and, on top of that, some of the vendors and people we were purchasing things from were like, "Couldn't ship, couldn't make." Also, I mean, there were some people that were actually closing, it was really an incredibly emotional and hard time.

We really had to flip our thinking and say, "Okay, instead of having a physical pop-up shop, we're going to have to do it virtually," which really then is a whole other added element that means, if you sell things on Instagram, you have to have a website. We couldn't build a website, A, we couldn't build it in time, B, during COVID, hiring and collecting all the data and all the imagery, it was just not possible and we were already in the process of building another website for LoveSeen, which I was deeply embedded in how difficult that was and so there was just no way.

It became, "We're going to sell it on Instagram." We literally are, as a group, receiving the DMs, we have a team here, a tiny little team of three people who are trying to answer questions and share with people. We have people sending us pictures of themselves and saying, "What jumpsuit do you think would fit me?"

Kerry Diamond: What's the Instagram handle for the pop-up shop?

Jenna Lyons: Popupish, the show is called Stylish so we just called it Popupish. Things are selling out, I can't believe it, everyone said that stuff would sell, I was like, "Nothing is going to sell." I'm like, "You guys, none of this stuff is going to sell," but it's actually really selling, it's been great.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, good. Congratulations. Everybody should check that out. Okay, Jenna, the whole theme of this mini-series is about the holidays, and the holidays obviously are very different and the news has been very tough recently. I think as different as we thought the holidays were going to be, they're going to be even different than that. And I know, even just some small things I was personally planning, those have all been canceled. What are you doing, holiday-wise? And I wanted to talk specifically about decorating because I thought that's the one thing we know we can do safely, is decorate our homes.

Jenna Lyons: Normally, every year, I am obsessed with Christmas trees. It's one of my favorite things and I always get a massive, huge alive tree. I love the smell, I mean, I just love it, I love the pine needles everywhere, I don't know why, I grew up that way, my mom always had a real Christmas tree. I have these incredible Christmas lights that ironically I got at ABC Carpet & Home, years ago. I don't think they sell them anymore, I wish they would bring them back, but they undulate in different colors, they go from pink to purple to green. My Christmas tree, literally, it looks like a gay pride festival, it's insane, there's so many colors, it's totally out of... It's literally the most over-the-top thing you've ever seen but I love it so much.

Kerry Diamond: Sweet, tell us more. Do you have vintage ornaments?

Jenna Lyons: I've been collecting ornaments for years, I have vintage ornaments, I have ones that have been made. Then, also, one year, with the kids, went out into the hallway and sprayed all of these globe ornaments. And I had this Martha Stewart glitter pack that was the most amazing glitters I've ever seen in my life. And we sprayed glue all over the ornaments and then put glitter all over them, I mean, the tree literally... I'll send you a picture. My other favorite thing is I really love Magnolia leaf garland and wreath, I usually put that on my mantle. I don't have a front door, technically, so I don't get a wreath anymore, I used to when I had a house but I don't do it anymore.

Kerry Diamond: Which ornament is the most precious to you?

Jenna Lyons: I would have to say, my son made me an ornament one year and it's just the cutest thing, it literally was a snow globe but all the water has come out. I could still put it on and it's the cutest and he made it when he was in, I don't know, kindergarten, but still, it will always be... I mean, anyone who's a parent knows, when your kid makes something and gives it to you, it's like the Holy Grail.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, that's so sweet. Where do we even start? I don't decorate for the holidays but I'm always like, "Oh, I should." I used to decorate our restaurants but I don't know, for some reason, I treat my home differently and you know what I think it is, partially, Jenna? I'm always sad to take the decorations down.

Jenna Lyons: It is that, there's no question. I mean, I leave my tree up for way too long, literally, everyone's always like, "That's a fire hazard." I let it go to, I mean, the thing is so dead, it's ridiculous. It's the funniest conversation, every year my son is like, "Do you think we can go two more days?" I'm like, "I think so," all the branches are falling down. I mean, I don't know, I think in terms of starting, I find that once I get the tree up and put all the lights on, it just tumbles from there. I mean, I'm not crazy decorator, I just like going nuts with the tree and then once you-

Kerry Diamond: Well, it sounds like the tree makes enough of a statement.

Jenna Lyons: Well, it's huge, I have really tall ceilings so my tree is huge, I get big giant ones and then I have them bring it over here and the people are always like, "Are you sure you want a tree this big?" I'm like, "Bring it on," it's the best thing ever. I'd do my other favorite thing, I don't do it because I don't have a house but my mom used to do this when I was young and my grandmother used to do this, and she had tons of windows. It's when people put the single candle in the window, my favorite, the most elegant, most beautiful thing, I love that. But I also love, in California, where I grew up, there's these neighborhoods where they take little brown paper bags, lunch bags, and put sand in the bottom and candles and line their front lawns. It's so beautiful, I don't have a front lawn but I would do it if I could.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, that sounds so pretty. I've never seen that, I have to look up pictures of that.

Jenna Lyons: It's so beautiful, I'll send you pictures if I can. It's the most... Because it's so quiet and the crazy thing is, people go out there and light them all. Now you can get those little tealight candles that are on a battery, and I think more people are doing that, for all kinds of reasons. But honestly, when you put it in the sand, half the time, they blow out but it's just the most beautiful, magical thing.

Kerry Diamond: And where are you on holiday music?

Jenna Lyons: Deeply committed. Two weekends ago, we were driving back from the beach and my son has the best Christmas playlist. I was shocked, he was like, "Play the TikTokers," or something, I was like, "What are you talking about?" And he was like, "Can we have Mariah Carey?" I'm like, "How do you even know that?" I don't know what happened but he completely has nailed the holiday playlist, I'm fully in. That and my other favorite thing to do, and my mom used to do this when I was young, she would take clothes and cinnamon and put them on the stove and just boil the water and let this... You'd come in and the house smells like-

Kerry Diamond: Oh, that's so nice.

Jenna Lyons: It's the easiest thing to do because it just makes the whole house smell incredible, and especially if you don't have a working fireplace.

Kerry Diamond: Favorite holiday movie?

Jenna Lyons: Well, my favorite holiday movie is Home Alone but my favorite thing, and I'm so sad that I can't do it this year, at Lincoln Center, they sometimes do Home Alone and they have the orchestra play the live music.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, that's so sweet, I didn't know that.

Jenna Lyons: I'm dying to go but it's everything that's happening this year. But it's a really fun New York thing to do but, Home Alone, always.

Kerry Diamond: All right. Let's talk about Zoom celebrations, we know people are going to be doing a lot of their holidays via Zoom this year, and I have a feeling you have a lot of thoughts on Zooms.

Jenna Lyons: I mean, listen, I've had many Zoom birthday parties and Zoom cheers and toasts and we had a Zoom launch party for the show, because we couldn't be together. I don't know, I mean, also the one thing I like about Zoom, that I appreciate, is that you can actually see someone's face and share in a way that right now we can't. I mean, when we were shooting for LoveSeen, we were with people and all of a sudden masks on, and I didn't realize how much seeing someone smile or acknowledging what you're saying, how connecting that is, until you don't have it. I'm happy that we can actually Zoom, I feel like Zoom is a little bit like maternity wear, literally, once this is over, I'm going to burn it. I can't imagine, other than doing my exercise class with my little crew, I'm not going to ever get on a Zoom call. Parent-teacher conferences, way better on Zoom.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, okay. You have always had a thing for lighting, any thoughts on Zoom lighting?

Jenna Lyons: Yeah, I care. Especially if someone's going to see my face, I want to give them a little... I want to try, I've been trying, I think, more at the beginning, I was so clueless and now they have this thing where you can face tune yourself. I don't do that but-

Kerry Diamond: On Zoom?

Jenna Lyons: Oh, you didn't know that?

Kerry Diamond: No, I guess.

Jenna Lyons: There is a setting, on Zoom, that can basically give you a little glow up.

Kerry Diamond: I might have to investigate that later.

Jenna Lyons: I didn't get it but I have pretty good light in my apartment so I usually just try to sit, and my bathroom is by far the most beautiful light so I sit in my bathroom.

Kerry Diamond: Your bathroom is also just beautiful, in general. I am going to investigate that Zoom option, Jenna, for the days when coffee, there's not enough coffee in the world to make things better. Okay, let's talk about dressing for the holidays because, again, that's something you can do by yourself and potentially make yourself feel better. I know you do wear track pants but you style them in a way that doesn't make them look like typical track pants. But has even Jenna Lyon succumbed to just wearing the same track pants over and over again, for days, weeks on end?

Jenna Lyons: I mean, now, my modus operandi is like, "Does it smell? Does it have a stain?" I mean, I'm alone, I'm in my apartment, there was a little bit of time where things had eased up a little bit and we had people coming to the office and my office is downstairs, and I found myself completely confused about what to even put on. I mean, I will say I have worked on improving my sweatpant game, do you know Suzie Kondi?

Kerry Diamond: No.

Jenna Lyons: She's done the new version of what the old Juicy Couture velour sweatpants, but have a wider leg opening and interesting colors and nice cuts and they're a little bit more... There's more cuts today. I do think that upping your sweat game is great and then also, I've been, I don't know, wearing these ones from 123 Child that are super cute and every time I wear them people want them. I'm trying, I really am trying, it's hard.

Kerry Diamond: You make yourself dress up some days just for yourself, to feel better?

Jenna Lyons: I have had to do some photo shoots and stuff like that and I do realize that I feel a little... I'm always like, "Let's go out to dinner," when I'm dressed up but it's hard, it's getting cold so you can't go out in New York. I mean, it's a very... I don't know, are you literally wearing sweat pants the entire time?

Kerry Diamond: I mean, I have one... Well, I only own one pair of sweatpants and they are these black Adidas track pants with a white stripe and I love them.

Jenna Lyons: Well, I found a really good one for guys, there's this company called Stampd, S-T-A-M-P-D, and they do a really nice men's sweat suit, I love they're cut out for me because I'm really tall.

Kerry Diamond: I know you love men's wear.

Jenna Lyons: But also, I'm really tall but you're tall too, it might work on you. Just really straight and he does a great job with cut, anyway, I'm in, I have more tennis shoes and socks and sweat than I've ever had.

Kerry Diamond: I do wake up some days, though, and I'm like, "You know what? Just make a little effort today."

Jenna Lyons: Well, I put on eyelashes for you so there we go.

Kerry Diamond: Great segue to the next part of our conversation. You have launched a beauty line and I used to be a beauty editor, so that thrilled me to no end. It's called LoveSeen and the first offering is all about eyelashes, tell us what LoveSeen is all about.

Jenna Lyons: Well, it evolved through just this unusual thing that I noticed when I was at J. Crew, everyone in the office was wearing eyelash extensions. I tried, I only have four eyelashes on one side and three so it was a little bit crazy, I looked a little, "Nah, it didn't really work."

Kerry Diamond: People might think you're exaggerating when you say that but that is true, can you explain why?

Jenna Lyons: I have a genetic disorder and one of the side effects of the genetic disorder is that, I don't have any eyelashes and I have very few eyebrows. And so I noticed them because I don't have them and so I look at everybody's. And so I noticed eyelash extensions and then on the flip side, I was watching all of those crazy, amazing videos of Huda Beauty and all these incredible makeup artists, who were putting on 17 layers of contour and 12 layers of highlighter and concealer and powder, who knows? And then at the end, they would finish off with an eyelash.

And I thought it was so interesting that two completely different groups of people, with really different ideas of what beauty looked like, were still focusing on eyelashes. I thought, "How is that happening where there's really nothing in between someone who wants to wear eyelash extensions, who might wear you, or wants a natural beauty look but that's not for them?" Eyelash extensions are expensive, they take a long time and they pull out your eyelashes over time. And then the flip side of that is full-blown contour and that's not really for everyone either. And so I thought, "Well, maybe I could do something that's at a little bit more in the zone that I wanted to play in," which was like, "I want it to look natural but I want a little pump." And it's been working, I can't believe it.

Kerry Diamond: Because of your condition, Jenna, did you always wear fake lashes or lash extensions?

Jenna Lyons: I only wore them for big, special events or particularly if I was doing TV. On TV, my eyes can really disappear so I wore them for the first time, I was on Oprah years ago and Troy, who is my partner in the project, came with me and we saw Oprah and we were like, "Oh... " She came towards me and we were like, "Oh my God." She just looked... Everything was just full-blown, the hair, the eyelashes and he's like, "Girl, get in that chair." And so he put eyelashes on me for the first time and I was like, "Wow, they really make my eyes look bigger and make me just look brighter."

And so I only really did it in moments where I felt like it was a really special occasion. But now that I've been... But also because the ones that were available in the market, I had to cut and trim and we were piecing them together and trying to make them look more delicate and more natural. And so I couldn't really wear them because it was too much effort, now, the ones that we've made there, I can wear them on a regular Tuesday and I don't feel crazy. We also have ones that are a little bit more dramatic for more special... If you want to look a little bit more drama, but I love being able to wear them just like today. It's been so interesting, it's fun being in the beauty space, it's totally new, it's so different from fashion.

Kerry Diamond: It is. And I was going to say, were you always a beauty girl? Because J. Crew never really got into beauty in a big way.

Jenna Lyons: It created a lot of attention to it in the sense that we really made sure that, for Madewell, I was like, "Okay, let's not do any lipstick in Madewell, let's keep Madewell, tousled hair, natural, just skin and maybe a little bit of eye but very minimal." We really did try to keep that, that way and then with J. Crew, we were like, "Okay, J. Crew can have red lips, red nail Polish, particularly at holiday times, a little bit more eye, a slicked back hair."

And we really did think about how the brand was sculpted by the beauty look because, as you know, I'm going to fashion shows, the clothes are the clothes but the finishing touch and how you portray and how you complete the story, is the face and the hair. And so we really did pay a lot of attention to it and I think Troy and I spent a lot of time, talking about beauty and the look and, when we were doing our shows, we really talked about it. And sometimes I think we went too far, sometimes we got it right. And I think I'm obsessed with the message or how you put a look together, how it all comes together. I don't believe that beauty is separate from completing who you are, and it says a lot about how you view the world and how you want to be seen and all of that. And I think it's really important, I'm fascinated by it.

Kerry Diamond: Hence LoveSeen, it's a beautiful name by the way.

Jenna Lyons: Thank you. It was a funny accident, we had gone... The way that we built the lashes, we had invited 21 different women to come and so there were all age ranges. It was interesting, we had people who were 18 to 72 and we really tried to expand the skin tone and eye range. And so as we were going through, we were putting the lashes on and we were showing them and saying, "Do you like the way you look? How does this feel to you?" And they were like, "Oh, you care how I feel like I want to be seen?" It was interesting. And we were like, "Well, because we want to sell them to customers and we want them to feel good so you're a good starting point."

Jenna Lyons: When they were talking to one of the copy editors who was there, just following the process to see, she said one of the things that kept coming up was the women felt really seen. And I was like, "Well, that's amazing, that's so nice to hear." And then when we were texting back and forth, because I'm trying to find the name and land on it, one of my partners said, "Love seeing." What he was actually saying was, "I love seeing," and I read it as love seeing and I was like, "Well, that's cute." A love seeing is about the person you love, seeing you as being beautiful and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and seeing that person reflected back on you. And a love seeing can be a mother-daughter, it can be a father-daughter, it can be a father-son. It gave a lot of options in terms of how we grow the brand as well and what that can look like, that's how it happened.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, that's so sweet. And I hate to ask this question because this always drove me crazy, you launched something and everyone wants to know what's next. Are there plans to grow this into a bigger beauty line?

Jenna Lyons: I mean, listen, I have come from a world of intense complexity, meaning having three different brands and having so many different skews and multiple websites and multiple teams. Complexity just makes it hard to focus and so I feel really excited to be able to work on something that doesn't have an expiration date, that is something that is for everyone, there's always an opportunity, I think that is a nice place to sit. Right now, I'm really happy in the space we're in and I think we want to continue to really do it right, who knows? I don't want to say, "No," but, right now, we're really trying to do one thing well.

Kerry Diamond: Right, you have a niche business, it's very from what you spent 25 years working on.

Jenna Lyons: Very different, 27.

Kerry Diamond: 27.

Jenna Lyons: Listen, honestly, I should not say that, I should let the 25.

Kerry Diamond: Listen, even just 25 years with one company, someone your age, is remarkable, remarkable.

Jenna Lyons: Unusual, I know.

Kerry Diamond: Before we let you go, I have to ask about your kitchen because, Jenna, you know how much I love your kitchen. And I wanted to shoot it for Cherry Bombe and I still do, we're going to get in there one of these days and shoot it. You have so many smart, clever storage ideas and different things incorporated into your kitchen, can you mentally walk us through... Or not even mentally, verbally, can you verbally walk us through your kitchen and point out some of the highlights?

Jenna Lyons: One of the things that I was always driven crazy about, was when I would go into my knife drawer, I had to pull out every knife to see what they were. And I found that so frustrating, I was like, "Well, I should be able to see them." And then I had seen online, I don't know, on Pinterest or somewhere, you can magnetize wood. Basically, I had a long piece of wood that is laid horizontally inside the drawer and it's magnetizing underneath, so that the knives can slide down on their side and so when I open the drawer, A, they don't slide around and move, which is obviously safer. And also, I can lay them really clearly and it's easy, you open the drawer and they're all they're laying on their sides, you can see exactly what knife you're pulling out. It makes a huge difference just in terms of not pulling every single one out, to find the one you want.

And then one that's probably one of my favorites is, I have a tall utensil drawer and so it basically is holes that are cut into a really deep drawer, with a wood panel. And so basically, it allows you to slide in whisks and wooden spoons and spatulas and all that stuff that's awful. And unless you have really beautiful ones, you can leave them on your counter. But mine are a hodgepodge lodge and they just stand up and you pull them out of the drawer, and you can see everything so they... Well, they're not laying flat, I found when they were laying flat, they got all tangled in each other and I couldn't see anything and I was constantly fighting to get them out of the drawer. This allows you to just look down on them and pull one out, I don't know if that was a good description.

Kerry Diamond: It is, I was obsessed with that drawer, I remember, I think I took 10 photos of that and I was just like, "Oh my God, this is genius," because mine are always in a jumble. You also, I seem to remember, organize your spices really beautifully.

Jenna Lyons: They're just there... Well, that was another thing I found, that they were always in the back or I couldn't find them. They're in a drawer and they're in the back, they're in a shelf and they're too far back and you can't find them. And so I have a pretty large pantry door and that when you open the doors, there's these shallow spice racks. They only fit one spice and they go all up the side of the doors. And so that way, you can see everything and they're only one deep, and I just do them by type so peppers and things that are regular. I say all this and just for the fairness, for everyone, I'm a terrible cook.

Kerry Diamond: I was just going to say, everyone must be wondering, "Does Jenna Lyons cook?"

Jenna Lyons: I'm terrible, I can barely boil an egg, it's so embarrassing. I just didn't grow up that way, my mom was a piano teacher and so her day at work started after kids got out of school. And so she did the best she could but there wasn't a culture of cooking in my home, because my mom just wasn't able to. She did the best she could and she was really incredible at trying to make... She made food but she was always making and prepping it when I wasn't home, and then warming it up in between her lessons and then we would sit down at dinner. That's the way it was and so I didn't ever really learn how to shop and cook and plan meals, I'm just not good at it. And then I became really busy and so-

Kerry Diamond: Right. You had a relentless work schedule for 27 years.

Jenna Lyons: It was intense and also, I live in Soho, it's like there's everything you could possibly imagine here. I love having Thai one night and Indian the next and Japanese the next, and I can't cook that way.

Kerry Diamond: People have tried to teach you how to cook, I was involved in a story with Missy Robbins and Missy Robbins did come over and try to teach you how to make pasta.

Jenna Lyons: Okay.

Kerry Diamond: Did any of that stick?

Jenna Lyons: I mean, I can still make the one pasta she showed me.

Kerry Diamond: Carbonara? It was Missy's carbonara.

Jenna Lyons: Yeah, it was for my son, this was his favorite. I mean, I think the thing missing in that is that, the bigger thing for me is learning how to plan for the weekend, cook and purchase food, cadence that things don't go bad. I was always getting a recipe and buying everything, but then the remnants of whatever wasn't used would go bad. And I think what I didn't realize is, you can know how to follow a recipe, I can follow a recipe, that's not my problem. My problem is not knowing how to stock a fridge with things for the week, and have a way to actually-

Kerry Diamond: A plan, right. Okay, Jenna, the last thing I want to talk to you about because I know a lot of folks are going through this, is about reinventing yourself and starting over. You did have this remarkable career, 27 years, not 25, and you've been honest about how vulnerable you are afterwards and how hard it was. A lot of folks today are having to think about pivoting, new careers, shutting down businesses, tragically. Do you have any words of advice or even comfort for them?

Jenna Lyons: First of all, I think that anyone who thinks that it's not hard or that there isn't a mourning process, and that there isn't a moment, I did not realize how upset and sad and devastating it was to leave this family. I do think allowing yourself to be sad and to mourn, that process is really healthy and I remember everyone saying, "Are you doing pottery classes? Are you doing dance classes? Are you working out?" I'm like, "I got a gym membership I never went." I had all of these ideas of how I would practice self-care and what I really needed to do was just sit with it and be sad, it was hard.

I do think allowing yourself is important but the other thing I would say, I had this idea that I had to do what I was doing before. I thought I was just going to go and work in fashion and that was going to be my... And I remember really distinctly, in my first conversation after leaving J. Crew, was with Anna Wintour. And she said, "I don't think you should do fashion, I think you should do television," and I was like, "How ironic is that"? And I was scared, I didn't know I could do anything else, I really did not think I had another skill that I could apply.

And so I do think having the moment to actually realize that if you have a business and you're doing something, you don't realize how many different things you're doing and being open to possibilities and taking random conversations. Every random conversation that I had has ended up leading to something way more exciting and bigger, than I ever would have thought possible. And I mean, I took every lunch you could possibly imagine and, honestly, I'm so glad I did. And also I got free lunch so there's that.

Kerry Diamond: Were you a good networker? Was this new to you, to have to network?

Jenna Lyons: Oh I'm a terrible networker. Not to mention the fact that no one knew how to get ahold of me, I had no Instagram, I'd been at J. Crew for 27 years, my phone number and my email were no longer functioning, people didn't know how to get me. And my assistant, Nicole, who worked with me for 13 years, was in her new job, still getting... She had access to her old Gmail and she was still getting requests for like, "How do I find her?" And so I had cut myself off in a pretty deep way and I wasn't really networking. And I also didn't know what to say, what was I going to say? I didn't know where to start.

Kerry Diamond: Where does somebody start?

Jenna Lyons: I think the best thing I could ever recommend is, whatever that thing is that you want to spend your spare time doing? Like I love pouring through home magazines and I loved looking at beauty and I'm still obsessed with fashion, but I'd obviously spent a lot of time in that chapter. But if there's something that you love doing in your spare time, then it doesn't feel like work because then when you're doing it or when you're in your spare time, you still are interested.

I find I'm constantly looking at home magazines or shelter and furniture and wallpaper and pink colors, and I love all that stuff and I do that whether it's part of my job or not. And I think that is always good, if there's something that you're obsessed with in your downtime, if you can make that your main time, it can be really incredibly inspiring and just easier to expel, because you don't look at the clock and be like, "Oh, I've been doing this for... " I can disappear into a rabbit hole until 2:00 in the morning, chairs and bedspreads and chest of drawers, any number of things.

Kerry Diamond: I definitely took strength from you in terms of how honest you were, about the situation. Because, again, not to keep saying you had this remarkable career but you did have this remarkable career. And you had a hard landing and you didn't hide that, and you didn't pretend like everything was perfect and you had all these business deals lined up, I thought you were remarkably honest about the situation.

Jenna Lyons: Thank you. It's funny, I'm a huge fan of people who are very transparent as well. I love Chrissy Teigen's Instagram because she really does all of the hard parts, all of the stuff that isn't perfect. And Ashley Graham, I saw her the other day in a big picture of her beautiful stretch marks. And it's like I know that when I see people's vulnerability, I feel human and connected and it makes me feel like it's okay to not be perfect. And I think that, that's really... It resonates for me so I've tried very hard to be as open and honest about it because I do think, also, people are so afraid. When the doors are closed and you're alone and all the noise has gone away and all the invitations have gone away, it's just you sitting there on your couch, you have to be okay with that or you're never going to get back up.

Kerry Diamond: I think that brings it, full circle, back to StylisH with Jenna Lyons, because I do think that's one of the messages of the show, to be honest, to be vulnerable and not be afraid of trying new things.

Jenna Lyons: I'm glad that you said that, I do think it. I think a lot of people get stuck and get intimidated or overwhelmed and it's like, "It's okay, we all do." I do too, I really struggled in some of those moments and we're all just trying to make it work.

Kerry Diamond: That's it for this episode. Thank you so much to Jenna Lyons, for joining us, and congratulations on your two new ventures. Be sure to check out Stylish with Jenna Lyons on HBO Max and the beauty brand LoveSeen. Thank you to the Wines of Sicily for supporting New Ways for the Holidays, and thanks to Lilly Ferro Fazio, for sharing her wine-making story. Maybe next year I'll see you in Sicily and we can hang out over a glass of wine and some great food. Be sure to ask for Sicilia DOC or Sicilia DOC, however you like to say it, at your favorite local wine shop and visit for more.

Radio Cherry Bombe is edited by Kat Corelli and produced by Cherry Bombe Media. Hang in there everybody and thank you for listening, you are The Bombe and I hope your holidays are too.