While in the middle of a successful career working as a fashion model, Jenny Bahn started jennyblovesyou.com, a blog of comedic tales about the industry and the highs and lows of traveling internationally for work. Bahn has written for V Magazine and online publications The Aesthete, Selectism and Base Magazine. She’s also been a regular contributor to Flip Collective and its online magazine, Cartel. Along with managing freelance writing projects, she’s currently editing two books and wrapping up the writing of her first TV pilot.
Victoria: What do you normally do? And what’s your role in Fashion Week?
Jenny: I’ve been modeling for almost 10 years, so I’ve done the whole Fashion Week circuit. Now, I’ll do a few [runway] shows, but that frantic, 12-shows-a-day schedule is for the 16 year olds! I started writing for a fashion and lifestyle site called The Inside Source where I’ll be doing coverage during Fashion Week.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A: An 8-cup French press waiting for me and a healthy amount of never-ending anxiety.
Q: What’s your favorite neighborhood shop?
A: Greenpoint does OK with shops, but Williamsburg does a bit better (though I’d hate to live there). Bird is an amazing shop, on par with anything you’d find in the city. To fill my closet with even more black items of clothing, I’ll head over to OAK.
Q: Your DO and DON’T of fashion week?
A: Do wear flat shoes while running around. Keep a pair of heels in your bag. Don’t take pictures at runway shows with your iPad. Unbelievably irritating.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about NYC fashion?
A: When I first moved here in February of 2010, it was absolutely freezing cold, and I was wearing this horrible puffy coat and an ugly pair of boots. This girl comes parading past wearing the most beautiful, non-functional coat with tights and boots and — man — she just looked gorgeous. Totally freezing, but completely gorgeous. That’s what I love about fashion in New York, the unwavering, silly dedication to it.
Q: Describe your style in two words.
A: A bit boyish
Q: Who was the most glamorous person when you were a teenager?
A: When Angelina Jolie first appeared on the red carpet for the 1999 Golden Globes wearing that Randolph Duke gown. Huge moment.
Q: Who is the most glamorous person now?
A: Cate Blanchett can do absolutely no wrong. What a muse. Same goes for Tilda Swinton...maybe not glamorous in the traditional sense but so inspiring. In terms of the “new guard,” Diane Kruger and Jessica Chastain are killing it.
Q: What’s a piece or a trend that you’re seeing for fall that you want to wear now?
A: Structured purses: Proenza Schouler PS11, a Celine box bag, a Givenchy Obsedia Crossbody. I want all of them.
Q: Have you ever had a behind-the-scenes catastrophe at a fashion show? What happened?
A: No, but I’ve had plenty of “wardrobe malfunctions” on the runway.
Q: What are three things you want right now?
A: I want to travel to Vietnam. I want to sell my book and screenplay, and get a regular column somewhere. I’d like to have a place in LA by the end of the year. I’m very demanding of the universe, apparently.
Q: What is a style that you liked once but no longer admire?
A: For five seconds I was into the Isabel Marant sneaker heels. All the stylists were wearing them in the showrooms and around Paris and New York...always with the same Celine purse. Now, they’re everywhere, and, after a couple months of use, they look like sloppy dishrags tied to feet.
Q: What would you never wear?
A: Ironic 90s clothing. All of that was great when I was in second grade. I don’t feel like re-living floral spaghetti straps.
Q: How did your blog start?
A: In 2008, I was doing a runway show in Chicago, and someone stole $300 out of my wallet (I had been garage-sale shopping with my boyfriend that weekend, otherwise I’d never carry more than $60 in my wallet.) Anyway, I wrote a piece on the plane ride home called “Letter to a Thief.” I was totally furious, but whenever I feel any extreme, unpleasant emotion, it translates into humor. That’s the only way you can get through life: make a joke out of it. When we landed, I read it to my friend, who died laughing. I went home, signed up for WordPress and started writing every day.
Q: What’s a new street style that has caught your eye lately?
A: It’s hard to pick. I sort of love everything that’s going on in street fashion right now. Anything goes.
Q: Describe a good day at work.
A: Since I’ve essentially got two full-time jobs, I’ll break them down separately because they’re totally different. For modeling: a makeup artist who cleans her brushes, a client who doesn’t intimidate you for no reason, a good vibe with the photographer and crew, healthy food, good money. For writing: creating something that means something and that was truthful and connects with people, submitting new work to magazines, finishing what I started out to do in the morning.
Q: Describe your perfect evening.
A: I’d meet up with three or four friends and spend a whole dinner laughing. Then someone would get a random invite to a party, and we’d end up somewhere totally bizarre, surrounded by people we don’t know, dancing by ourselves.
Q: What is the sexiest look of all time?
A: Anything Kate Moss has done, been in or worn over the last twenty years.
Q: Is one born cool, or is it something that can be learned?
A: Oh, boy. Cool people are to be avoided at all costs. Cool can mean disconnected, surface, self-consumed. I want real people. If those real people happen to be stylish, all the better. Style, however, is something that can be learned. There are definitely people who are born with it, but I wasn’t one of them.
Q: What blogs do you follow?
A: I’m so busy with my own work that it’s hard to follow other blogs. For fashion, I do love Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil. For intelligent, hilarious writing, I’ll check out McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. For music, blog aggregator hypem.com is a must.
Q: What’s your advice to young women getting into modeling?
A: Take risks and take them while you’re young. Travel the world. Find the good people and stay away from the bad. Be smart with your money. And, most importantly, if it doesn’t come easily enough, do something else. Go back to school and contribute to the world in a bigger way. There are so many bigger things to do with your life; modeling is just a little drop in a very pretty bucket.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A: “You should be a writer.” Said to me by a photographer.
Q: What was your first year of modeling in NYC like?
A: I was here for the summer of 2007 working. It was pretty brutal. I got stuck in a closet with a Brazilian chick who kept saying “bay-bee bay-bee” and would roll her eyes whenever I couldn’t fit into this one particular dress.
Q: What are your favorite books that take place in NYC?
A: Bret Easton Ellis’s “Glamorama.”
Q: Do beautiful people know they’re beautiful?
A: Of course they do. They’ve likely been hearing it since they were children. It doesn’t mean they’re nice people though!
Q: What’s the typical “model” outfit you see girls wear?
A: Oh, the uniform. That’s easy. Black jeans, drapey top, leather jacket, boots. Always with no makeup, undone hair, and a little canvas tote for their portfolios and shoes. You can spot them a mile away.
Q: What’s something people would be shocked to know about the fashion world?
A: Fashion can be a lot like cozying up to the beautiful mean girl at your high school. If you were smart — and you may very well be — you’d steer clear. But you’re just dying for the day when she tells you she loves you and makes you her best friend. It’s sick, really. I’m a victim of it, too.
Meet the New Yorkers Who Make Fashion Week Happen
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