Interview with OITNB's Jackie Cruz
OITNB’S” JACKIE CRUZ GETS PLAYFUL WITH NEW SWIMWEAR LINE ENJOUE
Orange Is the New Black star Jackie Cruz traded in her prison jumpsuit for sexy swimsuits this weekend at the Dream Downtown Hotel in New York City. Cruz is partnering up with designer Kimberly Small as co-owner for the new luxury swimwear line Enjoue. She will be working on marketing and creative and is also helping design the bathing suit line moving forward. She looked every bit the part as she lounged poolside and sipped on cocktails in a monochromatic one-piece with sexy cutouts for the brand’s fête.
Accompanied by her OITNB co-star, Diane Guerrero, and a group of close friends, Cruz showcased the beauty and versatility that the collection had to offer. “I love that it makes me feel sexy, but classy at the same time. I haven’t seen anything like it,” she said. “It’s hard for me to find bathing suits because of my [curves], [Enjoue’s] one pieces fit me perfect.”
The collection features curve hugging one-pieces, color-blocked bikinis and booty-baring bottoms in a variety of sizes and styles. Inspired by the wanderlust of travel and vacation, Small designed the collection for the woman who enjoys the chic sophistication of the international travel lifestyle. After years of traveling throughout Europe and vacationing in luxurious locations, she saw a need for swimsuits that were made for real, adult women.
Given their longtime friendship and mutual love for fashion and travel, Small asked Cruz to partake in the journey and they decided to partner up on the line moving forward. “Kimmy and I used to work in nightlife together,” Cruz explained. “She would bring her sketches to work and we would look at them, and I was like ‘Alright but you gotta do something for the big [chested] girls.’” Small made good on that promise with a collection of styles to suit every body type.
The collection also goes beyond triangle tops and thong bottoms. Enjoue, a French word meaning “Playful,” is a lifestyle. It’s an adventurous life of exploring the unknown while also understanding the luxury of a staycation — a lifestyle that Cruz and her friends openly embraced under the New York City sunshine over the weekend. Splashing in the pool, sunbathing on lounge chairs, and sipping on freshly popped champagne, Cruz and her crew shared laughs, selfies and smiles in their sultry Enjoue swimwear.
Co-star and close friend Diane Guerrero, showed her support for the brand and looked fabulous in a palm-printed triangle top bikini and sexy black and white bottoms. “Jackie is really good about including me,” Guerrero said. “She does a lot of these types of things and is always putting nice events together. I’m really happy she asked me to be a part of this.” When they’re not on set, Guerrero and Cruz like to take advantage of their free time and go shopping. “I like Jackie’s style a lot and she really encourages me to try new things,” she said. “She’s very brutally honest with me, which is why I like hanging out with her.”
When it comes to style tips, Cruz has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to swimwear. She advises to always buy separates, because not everybody is the same on top and bottom. “That’s what’s really awesome about Enjoue as well, you can buy a large top and a small bottom,” she pointed out. Cruz is also a huge fan of the racer back tops in the collection because they hold everything together, but when it comes to bottoms, she loves a Brazilian. “I’m all about the Brazilian bottom because you know I gotta tan my lower half,” she laughed. “It’s really sexy to have a Brazilian bottom and Enjoue’s isn’t like a thong, it’s classy exposure.”
To other Latinas looking to get ahead in the fashion world or pursue any career, Cruz emphasizes the importance of persistence and perseverance. She believes that if you’re really passionate about something that you should never give up. “If you really want that and you have that desire, that’s what you’re meant to do, so just don’t give up. It’s one life, why not do what you want, right? La vida es una.”
As a woman living by her own advice, Cruz will continue to make her mark on the fashion world, on and off screen. OITNB fans know that Cruz’s character, Flaca, last found herself sewing lingerie at Litchfield Penitentiary. Similar to her on-screen character, Cruz grew up with a sewing machine and has a few seamstresses in her family. Cruz plans to continue to pursue her music and acting career, and will be involved in the creative direction of Enjoue’s next collection. “You’re gonna see a little Jackie in there soon enough,” she smiled.