Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Jenné Lombardo

January 11, 2017

Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Jenné Lombardo

Meet Jenné Lombardo below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and opens up about the fashion industry, motherhood, body image and self confidence.

Jenne Lombardo The Houghton Girl

Jenné: "I have a company, MADE Fashion Week, that we sold about a year ago to WME-IMG. My business partners Keith Baptista, Mazdack Rassi and myself are still very much involved, we sit on the board as consultants. We just launched in LA not that long ago, we’re gearing up for Australia in November, which is really exciting, and we’re in Berlin now. We’re also going to do something in Paris this season. I also have a company called The Terminal Presents, which is a strategic marketing company, so I help to keep a dialogue between the product and consumer, specifically with millennials, making sure that the brand maintains its relevancy in an authentic way. I work with brands like Buick. Playboy and PEPSI, all really amazing companies, and American heritage brands which I really love."

Katharine: "What exactly is your role at The Terminal Presents and what exactly do you do for brands like Playboy and PEPSI?"

Jenné: "I founded the company 7 years ago and I just never set out to set up an agency, it’s a consultancy, it’s small and malleable. When a brand reaches out to me, they’ve heard of me through reputations, and they’re usually coming to me for help.  I’m not pitching them like "so this is why you need me"- they recognize that they’re in a place where they need to be revitalized and they need change. The process with me and clients is to sit and listen a lot and also make sure that they’re willing to change. Changes are hard and scary, and it’s going to feel unnatural, but if we can do this together we’re going to intimately succeed. And then we look at what the objectives are and diagnose their problem. Okay, here’s your objectives, you want a younger demographic, but yet you’re doing this. We spend a lot of time together in the beginning figuring out what the problems are then coming up with viable business solutions that will help them retain their existing clients and acquire new customers. It’s really a lot of fun, because you get to understand the psychology behind brands and the relationships to their consumer. I think for all of us the conversion rate’s always going to be higher if you feel something. If it’s not touching you then you don’t want to spend money, so that’s what we do."

Katharine: "What’s important about this film is that it’s about image and what’s real and what’s fake. What you talked about just now is that you’re creating an image and trying to create a genuine real image that connects with people. How do you create that balance? How do you make sure you create a brand or image for somebody, while making sure that it’s also something real. It’s, a struggle, as we are constantly dealing with social media, which we all talk about it a bit in this film... social media is an image and people are judging us constantly about that image. So this film is about pulling back that curtain and showing who we truly are, but it’s interesting that as a career you’re creating images for people."

Jenné: "I mean there is very big difference between an image for myself personally and an image of a brand. I think there is nothing that I do that is not authentic, I will lash out... like if I don’t believe in what I’m doing it’s not going to happen. And there have been projects that we’ve had to do and my enthusiasm is not behind it because I didn’t feel like it’s real. For me personally in terms of image, I’m unapologetic, I’m very honest. I’m not trying to make anything seem prettier or more romantic or easier than it actually is. It’s important when you’ve got followers, either at a big brand with hundreds of millions of consumers or as a person... I guess people have become brands now... with a couple of thousand of followers, you still have responsibility and I think your responsibility is to be true to your core. If you’re not true to your core people are going to feel that and I think that some of what resonates the most with people now is making your life, your brand and product accessible. Not alienating people through it because they feel like you’re not inviting them in. If they don’t wanna be there, they’ll go somewhere else. It really is an invitation to feel good about yourself and you’re not invited into my world or into my brand because I want you to feel bad- I’m like your hostess, I want you to feel good and comfortable. It’s like not even a choice, it’s a duty and a responsibility."

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Katharine: "How has being a mother affected you?"

Jenné: "I  have three kids and they were all under the age of four when I was before thirty so naivety was clearly a key because if you were to tell me that I had to do this now, I would say hell no, get the fuck out. I think naivety was really on my side and it means everything to me, I’m not who I am without them. I feel sort of vacant and empty when I’m not connecting with them and I’m not spending time with them and they need me and I need them. Your mom can tell you you will understand this if you decide have kids one day, but at first it terrified me I was like oh my gosh... I can’t fail, I don’t have that luxury. It’s not an option for me to not do well, because if I don’t show up every day in life then their lights do not go on, they don’t have food on their plate, so that was terrifying to me. But I also was terrified because I’m responsible now for their well being and we’re shaping their personalities and growth so I’m responsible as a human to set a good example and be a good person. Because of that pressure you are forced to have to look inside yourself and see things that you might not wanna see. Things I don’t like about myself I most certainly don’t wanna pass down to my kids. Because then I’ll have to look at them through that and see them struggling with what I’m already struggling with. So it’s really a bit of a catalyst to be able to say okay this is how you are and here are your shortcomings, let’s work on them to make a better and healthier family life for you and your kids."

Katharine: "How did having kids affect your self-confidence and body image?"

Jenné: "Actually it didn’t affect my confidence, it made me stronger, it made me see that my body was capable of carrying three kids to term. Delivering three healthy children made me feel really powerful. And it still does. And if I can do that I can get through anything. I’ve had challenging deliveries and challenging births and because they were so challenging, it made me feel really alive. I was like holy cow, you can create a human being and it’s coming out of your body and it’s bananas. But it made me appreciate how dangerous the process of delivering a child can be and so terrifying and how precious life is. After my first two, my body went back, because I was an athlete my stomach bounced back but when my third one came everything went. He was just like chilling in there, and my ribcage got wider and I have a few tiny stretch marks that I sometimes see and sometimes I don’t. But I kind of just attribute that to genetics, like cellulite and stretch marks there is not much you can do about it. I breastfed all three of my children, and after I just decided to just get my boobs done. But it didn’t come from a place of insecurity, in fact it came from a place of loving myself, and being like "you know what I fucking deserve these". I wasn't looking to change my image, I was just looking to be back how I was, now I’m gonna give back to myself.

Jenne Lombardo The Houghton Girl

"When we were in the car last night, my kids were like “who do you love more, us or bla bla bla?”  I was like you don’t understand, there’s nobody I can love any more than you guys, but myself. I was like I’ve gotta love myself first and you guys do too. If you’re not numero uno then everything else is going to fail, if you don’t love yourself then nobody’s ever going to be able to love you and never going to be able to give it back."

Katharine: "Can you define confidence?"

Jenné: "Confidence to me it is really loving yourself,and it’s not being arrogant and unapologetic, but just saying I’m working with the best that I’ve got and to the best of my ability. And it’s not trying to be an ace and wiz at everything, it’s just being able to say at the end of the day I tried and that makes me confident. Being confident for me also comes in place with accepting that you’re not going to be the most popular and you’re not going to be the prettiest and the smartest and the richest and that’s okay why do you want to do that to yourself? Just say thank you God for letting me be here I owe you to give back and do my part and be the best that I can be. How can you not... that sounds like an awesome way to live, it sounds liberating and freeing and that’s pretty damn confident to me."

"To be able to say like, to be able to say with confidence, “I’m different, yes, and different is OK,” whether that’s your sexual orientation... Like, why do we have to have answers for things? Maybe you like boys today, girls tomorrow... I dunno. Maybe you’re a vegan today, meat eater tomorrow. Just give people a place to be able to explore themselves and feel safe."

Katharine: "What gives you strength?"

Jenné: "My love for my family and my family’s love for me."

Katharine: "What gives you joy and happiness?"

Jenné: "Hanging out and laughing.... Memes... legit."

Jenne Lombardo The Houghton Girl
Katharine: "What part of your body do you love?"

Jenné: "My bum and my stomach."

Katharine: "What part of your body don’t you love?"

Jenné: "The backs of my thighs... fucking hell."

Katharine: "What role does your industry play in your life and what would you change?"

Jenné:  "If you had asked me this ten years ago it would have been a significant role. I would have felt like I had to be keeping up with the Joneses, and had to afford all those nice shoes, this that and the other, and now it’s like, I’ve got three mouths to feed. If I can afford them great, if not, no sweat, it’s cool.

"I would introduce a new guard of people to help lead the fashion industry. I would stop forcing designers to enter an industry that I don’t particularly think is sustainable. In fact, I know it’s not. Not he way it’s currently set up, unless you’ve got the money to keep plowing through, it’s really challenging. Designers need to have more access to customers. The way that store policies and returns and production schedules work, it’s antiquated.

"Idealistically, we wouldn’t hero just this front row, perfect, skinny perception. You know, most of my friends, a lot of them are models, and I’m not mad at them for being tall and skinny and successfully making their careers, that’s great. They’re blessed, they know that they are. But there’s more to fashion than just that. And it’s like, the women you design your clothes for aren’t just girls who look good on the runway.

"I wanted to be a part of this project for several reasons. I mean, first and foremost, it really is to let your audience and the industry know about real women struggling with real women things doing real women things. We’re imperfect, and our flaws and our imperfections I think it’s the most beautiful thing. I’ve been a fan of yours from the beginning, and I still am. Everything that you’ve created, are some of my favorite things- so to put women in these beautiful garments with context? It’s so much more meaningful than just sending them down a runway without any history about why, and it just makes things prettier."