Meet your neighbor... Style & Beauty Expert Jenn Falik
WESTPORT — Never in a million years did Jenn Falik think she’d move back to Westport.
It’s not that Falik disliked growing up in town. Her childhood on Punch Bowl Drive, where her two best friends lived on either side of her, was near idyllic and provided her with makeshift siblings as she was an only child. But, “girls’ are mean, high school’s tough, middle school’s tough,” Falick, 39, said, noting she felt she knew too much about what it’s like to grow up in Westport to raise her own daughter in town.
In the summer of 2012, however, Falik and her husband, Brian Falik, needed to get out of New York City for the summer because Jenn’s job as a Style & Beauty Expert on shows such as “The Today Show,” “E! News,” and “The View,” meant the couple’s apartment was crowded with beauty and clothing samples, plus a baby daughter, Alexa, now 7.
The couple decided to rent a house in Westport for the summer but were late to the game. After a frustrating trip to town looking for a summer rental, Falik visited her best friend, Miryha Fantegrossi, who was Co-Captain of the Staples High School Cheerleading Team with her and who Falik lived with as a young woman in New York City.
Fantegrossi had moved back to town, to a home on Hillspoint Road with her husband and young son. Across the street from Fantegrossi’s home, Falik and her husband noticed a house for sale and Brian and Fantegrossi’s husband went to check it out. When they came back, Brian said, “Jenn, I think that house may be perfect,” Falik remembers.
“We ended up buying the house, so we moved in next to my best friend, which is awesome. Our kids are the same age and we’re basically a communal family. That’s how we ended up back here: I thought if she moved here and loves it and I could be across the street that would make me feel better,” Falik said.
Jenn Falik’s 5 favorite Westport places for fashion and beauty finds:
“SHOP LOCAL!! It is SO important. Even if it isn't a mom and pop store, it still matters!,” Falik said.
Returning to Westport was a positive move for the Falik’s, now a party of four with the addition of their second daughter, Goldie, 3. The couple has found a strong network of family friends that make life full, Falik said.
“We have a boat that we share with these five families that’s docked at Compo and it’s a floating party bar, basically,” Falik said. The families take the boat to Cockini Island and let the kids run around while the men cook elaborate dinners, Falik said.
Before Falik’s Westport homecoming, though, she spent 12 years building her career in New York City, where she first moved in August of 2001 to work for American Express, newly minted with a degree in Communications and Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania. A month into the job, September 11, 2001, hit and Falik no longer had an office.
“I was this 22 year old girl working from home in my apartment. I didn’t know what I was doing,” Falik said. She soon fell into a job in fashion and beauty public relations with Alison Brod Marketing and Communications, which then had four women working for the company, with Falik the company’s fifth hire, but had over 50 employees when Falik left the company seven years later.
As part of her work for Brod, Falik pitched television producers fashion and beauty segment ideas and then got her clients and experts to go on the shows.
“I’d be standing on the other side of the camera as a publicist with my clipboard watching and I’d think, they’re not conveying it right, and I knew that I could do it,” Falik said.
She soon began pitching herself as a Style & Beauty Expert to to television producers. Falik’s boss loved her television appearances because they strengthened Falik’s relationships with the producers, so she promised Falik she’d pay to get her hair blown out before segments. “I became obsessed with booking a segment for every Friday so I could get my hair blown out for the weekend,” Falik said.
The TV segments called on Falik’s lifelong love and style and beauty and gave her natural curiosity free range to ask big-name brands about their products, but at first, it was just a hobby. That changed with the rise of Facebook, social media and video created, which created an opening for a full-time career for Falik as brands would hire her to be a spokesperson for an online video series. Soon, Falik was able to leave her day job and make ends meet doing freelance spokesperson and hosting work.
Falik’s presence extends beyond TV: She writes blog posts on her website and has a strong presence on Instagram, where she has over 10,000 followers. “My audience is me and it’s people like me. I always joke that I’m very basic and fall pretty average in the middle of all these women who are in their 30s, 40s, and early 50s who want to look good, have a fun life, and not stress about things like clothing and beauty but still want to look almost like they do,” Falik said.
She’s especially cognizant of the mom who may be going through an identity crisis when she moves to town and maybe takes time off from a previously high-powered career and now wears gym clothes all the time because she doesn’t know what else to wear.
“You tend to get in this rut because you don’t know what you want to be, and if you stay there too long and don’t make some sort of effort to proactively portray yourself in the way you want, then you lose yourself a bit more,” Falik said.
Falik recommends all moms have a uniform that’s not workout clothes, and for her, that’s a comfortable pair of jeans, high tops, and a white t-shirt—comfortable with whimsical touches is how Falik describes her personal style.
“I do truly believe that when you look good, you feel so much better, you feel confident,” Falik said.
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