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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New York City

Why Jenna Lyons Wanted to Join The Real Housewives Of New York City

Style trendsetter Jenna Lyons is looking at her casting on RHONY as an opportunity to show more gay women on television.

By Caitlin Schunn

Many were surprised when style icon Jenna Lyons was revealed as a member of the revamped The Real Housewives of New York City cast at BravoCon in October 2022. But the former J.Crew president said it’s simply time to “trying something different and challenging” according to an interview with Page Six.

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The fashion guru attended Parsons School of Design and started working at J.Crew as an assistant menswear designer at the age of 21 — moving up through the ranks to president and executive creative director of the company until she left in 2017.

Jenna admitted to Page Six she imagined her phone would be ringing off the hook after leaving J.Crew, but the calls didn’t come.

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“And then all of the sudden I didn’t have anything on my agenda, and no one was calling, and no one was getting me lunch, and no one was inviting me anywhere, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’” she told Page Six. “Now I can look back and say…I was really struggling. I was just exhausted.”

Jenna said the casting is a chance to reinvent herself, and to do something just for her without the pressures of a high-profile job.

“I worked my ass off, and I sacrificed, and put a lot of things aside doing that [working for J. Crew],” Jenna told Time Magazine. “I didn’t take any risks and I really couldn’t for a lot of reasons because I was part of this brand. And I’m not a part of anything other than myself at this stage.”

She joked on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, “[It’s] not the most, like, natural career change, I know.”

Jenna will make history as the first openly queer New York City Housewife. As a result, she is also looking at her time on the show as an opportunity to shine a light on the queer community.

“There’s not a lot of gay women on TV. There’s Rachel Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres, but there’s very few if you really think about it,” Jenna told Time. “I think if I had seen myself when I was young, I think that might have been a healthy thing for me, so I felt like maybe it was important to show up.”

RELATED: The New York City Housewives Exude Modern Glamour in Their Iconic Season 14 Cast Photo

Jenna first came out after being married to artist Vincent Mazeau for nine years (the couple have a son, 16-year-old Beckett).

“I was lucky to come out later in life,” Jenna said to Page Six. “I’ve received nothing but support. I know some people aren’t going to like me or understand me, but I’m ready for that….everyone has something to say, but I’m going to keep my eyes forward.”

Lyons, Sai De Silva, Ubah Hassan, Erin Dana Lichy, Jessel Taank, and Brynn Whitfield will join Season 14 of The Real Housewives of New York City when it premieres on Sunday, July 16 at 9/8c on Bravo.

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