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The story of Jenna de Rosnay

 

Family

 

It's a water world. Californian waters first, where Jenna is born into the whirlpools of the sixties. Her father, John Severson is a photographer, film director and creator of the cult publication Surfer Magazine.

The wave is his soul, and he takes his daughter out surfing before she can walk.


 

Hawaii

 

The story continues in Hawaiian waters. The Severson family moves to Hawaii when Jenna is seven. This encounter with Maui is a blessing for the young girl who spends endless hours in the waves, becoming an accomplished surfer by the age of 12. It is also a revelation, an initiation to a communion with nature that will become an enduring characteristic in the life and career of Jenna de Rosnay.


 

Nature

 

This close relationship with nature and the elements probably goes back to one bohemian year in Jenna's life, between the ages of 11 and 12. Her parents decide to take their two girls out of school for a tour of the South Pacific that takes the family to New Zealand and Tahiti via Fiji and Rarotonga, an itinerary dictated by wherever there's rumoured to be surf. Tahiti is where, in a Swiss Family Robinson style tree house the family builds, Jenna learns to literally live off the land. Encounters with the local children also motivate her to learn French. On their return to Hawaii, Jenna's father devotes himself to painting and surfing while her ever resourceful mother Louise starts to design and sew the family clothing; a revelation for Jenna. These influences and French Polynesia continue to be an important inspiration in the creation of her collections.


 

Arnaud

 

Between Jenna and the oceans a long and passionate love story is born, based on respect but also on challenge. In 1981 she marries French adventurer Arnaud de Rosnay (on the island of Mauritius) and discovers windsurfing. It is a fast forward life of adventure as the couple travel the world in search of wind and waves.


 

Competition

 

From 1981 through 1987 Jenna challenges the oceans, even after they take the life of her husband in 1984.

She sets her first world speed record in 1981, becoming the fastest woman in the world on water, and goes on to hold, and better her record over the next several years. At the same time she competes in the World Cup, (wave riding, slalom and course racing,) winning or finishing in the top three at virtually every event, and securing her place as the best woman windsurfer of her time.


 

Headlines

 

The accompanying publicity opens doors. Jenna de Rosnay is asked to lend her image to some of the most prestigious names in the fashion world: She works with Dior, Celine, Nike and Sports Illustrated, and appears on the covers of Vogue and Elle amongst many others.

She signs with Ford Models in New York, but it's not all glamour and gloss. Not content with being a mannequin for hire, and forced to choose between an exclusive contract with Dior and her longstanding dream to create her own collections, she chooses her independence.


 

Collections

 

In 1988, Jenna de Rosnay creates her first collection of swimwear. Five years later, she signs with the industrial Huit, a leader in the French swimwear and lingerie market. Later, she also combines her fashion flair with her technical expertise in creating a line of wetsuits for the Neil Pryde group, world leader in windsurfing equipment.

Every year a new range of swimwear is created; the brand will be celebrating 20 years in the business in 2008.


 

Today

 

Jenna de Rosnay is now remarried to French music entrepreneur Emmanuel de Buretel. In addition to her daughter with Arnaud, she is the mother of three young girls. She now divides her time between islands; an island in Paris, the British Isles, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. Even when she's in town, even when Maui is 24 hours away, water is never far.