Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Man of Style -- Jeff Lewis

By Jenny Ford, Contributing Writer

When I was approached, the night before, by Casi (head Cupcake) to interview Jeff Lewis of Bravo’s funny series “Flipping Out”, I literally FLIPPED OUT!  I admit, I had a little bit of apprehension interviewing  Jeff since he is so quick witted (would I be able to keep up?) and dry humored (will I know when he’s joking or not?).  Is my desk clean enough (oh, thankfully we weren’t skyping)…  My anxiety completely diminished once I got on the phone with him and realized he is just a normal, yet very stylish and put together, man.  Our conversation was very similar to having a chat with a friend or say, my brother.  And aside from all of his silly antics (uh hem, making his employees pee into jars so he can chase away wildlife from his property), he is humble, inspiring and motivating too.  Jeff is quite the package – humorous, hard working & stylish (and of course easy on the eyes too!), which is precisely why he has been chosen to carry the title of Man of Style for this month.

Jeff has been interested in architecture, design and real estate since he can remember.  He’s got plenty of memories of him and his dad working night and day on maintaining his Dad’s rental properties throughout California.  He described painting and cleaning the different rental units as “fun” – and that’s where the real estate bug bit him.  

Even as a child Jeff was neat, tidy and extremely organized when it came to his personal space, it’s a control thing.  He would rearrange the furniture around the house to create better flow and appearance.  It’s been a natural talent for him and he took it into his adult life by starting a business and ultimately Jeff Lewis Design (www.jefflewisdesign.com). 

I was surprised to find out that the Bravo Docu-Reality series “Flipping Out” was actually a fluke.  Funny thing is, Jeff hadn’t planned to be in a reality series.  Jeff, and his company of real life “characters”, were discovered through a video shot and submitted by assistant Jenni for a different reality series.  Networks came knocking to document his life and business on the TV screen.  In no way did Jeff ever see himself as famous – “I’d much rather be rich than famous” says Jeff.  

But the most beneficial part of being a part of a reality series, in all honesty from Jeff, has been “the additional income”.  He was very candid about that.  I found out that the additional income hasn’t all gone to Jeff’s head, he has been able to bless those around him too.  In fact the most recent episode of Flipping Out, he took Zoila (his sarcastic, yet oh so sweet, housekeeper) to New York with him, toured her around NYC and bought her a new wardrobe at Bloomingdales all for her birthday.  “She’s been with me for 10 years, we take care of each other” (Um Jeff, can I come clean your house??) 

Jeff describes his personal style as very brand-loyal and “Classic All American”, as he grew up in the OC which tends to dress more on the conservative side.  His favorite designers are, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Burberry, with a few more casual pieces from Abercrombie and Banana Republic.  He has to dress somewhat relaxed because he is always in some sort of construction zone and wants to look professional and put together without ruining expensive pieces.  For the job site casual footwear is a must – he sticks with brands like Nike, Converse and New Balance.  When he does get the chance to dress up he is all about the John Varvatos for suits and higher end pieces.  This stylish guy doesn’t recruit help when picking out his own wardrobe; he obviously has the magic touch to pull it all together himself. 

Jeff recommends that every man have a great pair of jeans in their closet.  “Jeans that fit well and are flattering”, which Jeff has found to be a challenge for himself.  He is also an advocate for a great casual sports coat. 

I asked Jeff about his skincare routine, and surprisingly he was slightly embarrassed!  “It’s been the same routine for 20 years – Ivory soap and Lubriderm.  I take 2 showers a day and don’t have time.”  Well whatever Jeff is doing is working, I’d say!  In addition to two showers, store bought soap and lotion, he drinks a ton of water except during Happy Hour, of course.  Keeping fresh, is important to Jeff, hence the two showers a day, and that’s why he is drawn to clean scents when choosing cologne.  You’ll find him smelling like Jivago, Tom Ford, John Varvatos, or Dolce & Gabbana. 

Jeff is extremely optimistic about the future of opportunities; he never in a million years imagined his life on this grand of scale.  First a reality show on Bravo, designing an amazing kitchen for House Beautiful, a budget-friendly décor line on QVC, and a growing business.  What can we expect from him next?  The recent renovation of the popular Mexican restaurant, Casa Vega, has opened up so many more unexpected commercial opportunities for JLD, including restaurants, bars and hotels. 

Though things are going extremely well for Jeff he doesn’t let it go to this ego and hasn’t forgotten his roots - he is incredibly thankful his education had been paid for and that he was able to enter the working world without student loans.  Everything else, he says, he has worked really hard for himself.  He realizes and is working on, being more adaptable, like his dad is.  His voices sparkles when he talks about his dad, you can tell he admires him and gained a tremendous amount of work ethic from him. 

In the end, I had a fabulous conversation with Jeff.  I admire the show even more because of your humility and of course the giggles I get from it – you’ve got cheerleaders over here at cupcakeMag and we wish you nothing but success!

Keep in touch with Jeff!

Twitter - @JL_Jeff_Lewis
Facebook -  Jeff Lewis


  1. great interview! Love Love me some Jeff.:)


  2. Such a fun interview! Would love to tour a "Jeff Lewis" house, I really admire his style.


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