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Jené Luciani: An Intimate Conversation

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Are you wearing a bra right now?

Most of us will answer yes to this, unless you are like so many women who slip out of their bra upon walking through the door at the end of the day! That’s because 90 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra.

Jené Luciani has some good news for the age-old bra dilemma in her book, The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimwear, and More (Dallas: BenBella Books, 2009 and 2017), now in its second edition. An ever-present positive attitude turned what could have been a setback for her into what has become a lifelong mission. She is also co-author of Get It! A Beauty, Style and Wellness Guide to Getting Your “It” Together (Dallas: BenBella Books, 2016.)

In addition to being an internationally renowned bestselling author of three books, she’s a regular lifestyle expert on NBC’s Today, The Dr. Oz Show, The Wendy Williams Show and many others. She will add to this list the role of contributing fashion editor going forward for HERLIFE New York Magazine.

Early Preparation
Jené’s path is studded with bright spots and lessons learned along the way. Born in Hudson, New York, where her parents owned a popular clothing store, The Jean Station, she helped her mom pick out clothes from the vendors and modeled the children’s Jordache jeans for ads in the local paper. “When I was nine, my parents divorced and closed the store. My mom went to get a full-time job and I was forced to be somewhat independent at an early age,” she explained. “My dad was in the entertainment industry as well. He performed regularly at resorts in the Catskills as a singer and he wrote and recorded the theme song for Mike Tyson in 1985, the “Minute Man,” which was played on ABC Sports after he won the World Heavyweight title! I first sang in one of my dad’s shows at the age of eight, and from that point on, I was hooked on performing. I was always performing in plays, talent shows, modeling, dancing, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at all our Hudson High School games as a cheerleader, you name it!”

She learned at an early age through her father how hard the music industry is; she decided not to pursue that career, and instead pursued communications and broadcast journalism. When Jené was a teenager, her mom remarried a local school music and band teacher. They encouraged her to go into local TV and her mom insisted she do something with writing. She won a national writing contest as a child, and she feels fortunate to be able to pursue her childhood dreams as an adult and have a fulfilling career, not “just a job.”

Building Background
Craving the “real” college experience, she attended SUNY Cortland and graduated in 1999 with a small group of communication majors. She was fortunate to go directly into a full-time internship for WNYT NewsChannel 13, the Albany, New York, NBC affiliate, and they hired her out of that internship as a full-time producer. “At my ten-year reunion at Cortland, I was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumna award,” she smiled. “It meant so much from a place I had so many fond memories of.”

Of her path, she shared a thought she has always had, which is that it takes 20 years to become an overnight success. She definitely paid her dues in those early years in TV news, working weekends, overnights, whatever was required. She was sent down to field produce at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terror attacks. “I remember my mom begged me not to take the assignment, but I felt like this was my duty—to tell the stories of the people during that time, and what had really happened,” she relayed.

After four years, she took a job at a New York City-area TV station and relocated, but she grew tired of news and the depressing topics. She has always been a positive person with a desire to share stories with people, yet she wanted them to be stories that made others feel good. She started working for a production company that covered fashion week in New York City, going backstage to interview famous designers. This led her to exploring the possibilities of turning that TV experience into print.

Finding Her Fit
“I began writing a fashion column for a magazine where I lived in Westchester County, New York, called The Wag. I was their fashion editor for four years, while still freelancing for that same production company. I produced segments with people such as Paula Abdul, who were being paid by brands to talk about them on-air. I realized at that time I could make a living as a spokesperson, since I now had the credibility as a fashion editor! I started booking myself on TV stations in Albany, and then in New York City,” Jené noted. “It kind of all gelled together. While writing for that magazine, I got the idea for my first book.”

Remember that a setback for Jené turned into a lifelong mission? She worked as a fitter at Victoria’s Secret for a brief time during college, but that didn’t spur her interest in bras; something else did. She shared that when she developed as a teen, her breasts developed in a different way from everyone else’s. She had a deformity known as tubular breast deformity, in which one breast was much smaller than the other and had a different shape. Ashamed of the way she looked, she would buy the padded Miracle Bras from Victoria’s Secret, take out the padding in one side, and leave it in the other, which made her look even underneath clothing.

“I hid it from everyone. In 2006, when I was working for the magazine in Westchester, I got assigned an article on none other than bra fit. Oprah had just done her big ‘bra intervention’ show and everyone was buzzing about it. I started doing research and realized there were all these women on internet chat boards who were so frustrated with bras and unable to find the right ones. I said to my editor at the time, Judy Lederman, ‘Someone should write a book on bras!’ She said, ‘I agree; go for it,’” Jené asserted.

The Written Word
This began the three-year process of rejection and setbacks, until she was contacted by two literary agents in Hawaii, who wanted to take on her project. They pitched the idea of contacting a bra company about creating a private label on a guide book about bras to place in retail outlets alongside their bras. Her friend Tara Cavosie, a bra designer in Albany, worked for the company, Fashion Forms, and Jené had met its CEO not long before at a press event for a bra launch. Within days, they confirmed for 20,000 copies. 

BenBella Books, Dallas, Texas, offered her a book deal and, as they say, the rest is history. The book is now in its second edition with added chapters on shapewear and swimwear, and Jené hopes for many more printings to come. In 2017, BenBella published another book she co-wrote with Real Housewife of New Jersey Jacqueline Laurita, a friend and fellow mom with a background in cosmetology. It’s a beauty, style and wellness lifestyle guide for other busy gals, Get It! A Beauty, Style and Wellness Guide to Getting Your ‘It’ Together.

“After The Bra Book came out in 2009, I had been steadily doing big market TV appearances and I wanted the national stage. My dream was to be on The Today Show. I networked like crazy with anyone and everyone, and I emailed producers who said no for a year,” she related. “I would watch the new fourth-hour show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford at home in my pajamas with my then-newborn daughter and point at the TV and say, ‘Gigi, Mommy will be sitting next to them one day, you watch.’ 

The Public Face
“Then one day, a publicist for a plus-size brand, Torrid, called and asked if I would be their spokesperson for a Today segment. That was July 2010. After that, producers started calling regularly. I was a regular on that hour, the earlier 9:00 a.m. hour and the weekend broadcast for the next eight years. That led to my catching the attention of producers at other shows, including those of Wendy Williams, Bethenny Frankel, Nate Berkus, Ricki Lake, Dr. Oz and Access Hollywood. I did several appearances on Oz and he referred to me as the show’s ‘bra guru.’”

She has been the keynote speaker at many events, conducted bra workshops for people, including Joan Lunden, and through her TV and in-person appearances, she has helped millions of women. Last year, she did the first TEDTalk on the topic. That same year, she was hired by the national brand Soma® to be their spokesperson for their launch on QVC. “I’m now on regularly. I’ve always been intrigued by home shopping and speaking to women in a different way, bringing them a product that can really change their lives,” she mused.

She met her husband, Patrick, several years ago at a charity event the two were involved in. A firefighter for the city of Schenectady, New York, he was in charge of a group of professional firefighters who were modeling homemade bras to be auctioned off for breast cancer. The two started dating a couple of months later and fell in love. Their blended family includes Jené’s nine-year-old daughter, GiGi, and Pat’s children, Ayva, eight, and Patrick, six. Kalen is their youngest child, almost three. They also have two dogs, a cat and a very hectic life, which she loves.

Inspiration from the Positive
Jené maintains a positive outlook no matter what is going on in her life. She suffered a health scare in 2014 and spent eight days in the hospital with a near-fatal blood clot in her lung; that’s when she found fitness. “I want to be able to be there for my children for a long time! I get inspired by my work and all my new crazy ideas for articles, books, TV segments and projects. Seeing crazy ideas come to fruition is inspiring and proves you can do anything you put your mind to,” she confirmed. “My children also inspire me. Seeing them grow up and develop their personalities and knowing that they are happy and fulfilled and well-cared-for is really all the inspiration I need. I try to not get bogged down by the day-to-day of life. And really staying present in the moment. Some people get their adrenaline rush from roller coasters or bungee jumping or playing sports; mine comes from coming up with a new idea and putting it to paper, or, of course, on a live TV appearance in front of five million people. I get inspired by the women I meet, or those who write to me and tell me about how they appreciate my work as an advocate for women in helping find the right bra, or how the right bra has changed their lives after a mastectomy or a divorce; you name it. It really can be life-changing.”

She helps out with a number of charities and recently teamed up with the Salvation Army in Schenectady, where she lives, and Hudson, her hometown. She got a bra company to donate 60 bras and gave fittings to women in need.

What’s her advice to women wishing to realize their dreams? “I love this question because I am proof that you can come from a small town with big-time dreams and you can accomplish those dreams,” Jené affirmed. “My advice would be, don’t be deterred from rejections or setbacks, look for the lesson and see that God is redirecting you to something else. It’s your job to take the action steps and figure out what you are being redirected to. Listen to your gut and that inner voice. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right and don’t act out of fear. Keep the faith. And don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t have it all!”

Visit, watch her latest sizzle reel and TV clips at,, and follow her at Insta, @jeneontv and Facebook,