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INTERVIEW: Jill Martin On Her G.I.L.I. Collection, A Special "Today Show" Holiday Steals & Deals, Zoom Style Advice And More

Nicole Barylski

Television personality and fashion expert Jill Martin. (Courtesy Photo)

Television personality and fashion expert Jill Martin has been quite busy over the past couple of months. The 10-time Emmy winner, who is hunkered down at her Long Island home with her parents and other family members, built a duo of at-home studios so she could continue her broadcasts for the Today Show and highlight her G.I.L.I. collection on QVC.

Martin has been hard at work on her latest offerings, a luggage line of packing cubes that conveniently never need to be unpacked and a hand sanitizer that doubles as a perfume. She and loved ones also gathered virtually to celebrate the marriage of her brother and sister-in-law, a Zoom fête that she hosted.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Martin about her latest endeavors, Zoom style advice, a very special upcoming Steals & Deals and more.

Your G.I.L.I. by Jill Martin collection is so chic. Tell us about the inspiration behind the line.

JM: I'm so proud of G.I.L.I. Right before this, I had a virtual meeting with one of our vendors and our buying department, Danielle and Chelsea. I was looking around the G.I.L.I. line and was just so proud of what we've been able to do and what we've been able to accomplish during these past months - because I've been in this house since March 13th. This has been the year of the great pivot for all of us, in so many aspects of life. I'm really proud of the lifestyle brand. We have face coverings - sequin and sparkling. 2020... I made the joke on the air recently that we should all just put the turkey in the oven, light the tree, open the presents and call it a year because it's just been such a beyond challenging time for everybody. I'm just so grateful I'm still able to create from here and give people warmth and happiness and bright spots where we can get them.

Between building two at-home studios, hosting the Zoom marriage of your brother and sister-in-law, creating a "sexy" hand sanitizer that doubles as a perfume and designing a luggage line of packing cubes, you've been quite busy lately. What were your must at-home studio haves?

JM: My at-home must-haves are really limited. As long as everybody is healthy. We had a few family members... like everybody else. Putting on pants is optional, just as long as everybody gets up, is healthy. My must-haves have been though, honestly, my sherpa. This is what I live in and you'll see me in every Instagram post - and just laughs and smiles and great shows. It really has not been about stuff for the past eight months. I was never really about stuff, but now it's really more focused on trying to find silver linings and happy moments and celebrating where you can with family. So, my must-haves are not tactile, they're more like you wake up every day feeling grateful that everyone's okay that day and just hoping for the best.

And what was it like to host your brother's Zoom wedding?

JM: I said to him, "If you don't marry her, I will." She's just a spectacular girl. I never had a sister and now I do. We're very, very close. She's been helping me from home. It was emotional hosting their wedding. I mean, honestly, the worst part about it is, and I think a lot of people who are going through Zoom weddings could relate, was my mother and father not being able to actually be there with them. I think that's what everyone's having the hardest time with, just that interaction that we all need and miss. But, they are meant to be together and they got engaged and married during the pandemic. We're so grateful to have her in our family. It is the biggest silver lining for me of this entire mess that has been 2020.

I have to admit Steals & Deals is one of my favorite Today Show segments. Every time it's on, my mom will text me to say I have to go look at the deals. You've got a super special episode coming up on Monday, November 23 at 9:00 a.m. What can we expect during the Holiday Steals & Deals?

JM: It's so flattering every time I hear that, just because I work so hard to curate those items and bring them at these accessible prices. I just love to hear those stories.

For two hours, I am welcoming you into my home for Peacock Presents: Holidays Steals and Deals with Jill Martin, and it's over 50 gifts, up to 84 percent off and 70 percent of them are from small businesses. It was really an important initiative for me to support small business, as I am one on QVC. I understand and have such compassion for people who have built businesses and then just in a night, everything changes. So, 70 percent will go to small businesses and we have appearances. I can't go to 30 Rock, so 30 Rock is coming here. We have virtual appearances from Al [Roker] and Dylan [Dreyer] and The Rockettes and Kathie Lee Gifford and Tracy Morgan helps me deliver this holiday surprise, but it's really escaping for two hours the Monday before Black Friday on the 23rd, on Peacock, which is our [NBC's] streaming channel. It's really about just sitting back, crossing everybody off your list. I have gifts for everybody, just the best gifts, you could just literally cross off everyone with your feet up and not fight crowds and be safe this year - because this is a different year for everybody.

The breadth of it, it's sort of like if your favorite talk show and your favorite gift guide had a baby, it would be this show. My parents are the co-hosts, so is my brother and my new sister-in-law, and it's from my house. I sort of invite you to be with me, if you can't be with your own family. My family's like straight out of Central Casting, my mom will have you laughing and crying, and my dad's funny and my brother is adorable. He's in finance, but he took his co-hosting part very seriously. I'm really proud of what we put together, we had an incredible team and putting on a production during a pandemic is really breathtaking. Temperature checks every day, face coverings/shields. I got hair and makeup for the first time in eight months. I do all my own now because I'm in my basement, this is my Today Show set. It's been very unique and humbling and exciting in so many ways. It's been, as you probably feel too, it's just a roller coaster year.

That's for sure. Now, with the holidays quickly approaching, what are some of your most beloved traditions?

JM: We're just a family of being together. We don't get dressed up. We're in sweatpants and sherpas and no makeup. We're a very casual family. We watch the parade every year. I was happy to hear that that was happening safely. We eat, not a formal dinner, everything is buffet style. The biggest difference this year is that we're not going to be with our extended family, only our quarantines. Of course, I'm so grateful and you could find bright spots, but it's a hard one for everyone. I think this year everybody's intention, and what we are grateful for and give thanks, is going to be very different than years past for a lot. I think it's going to be really a year that you're just grateful to be with whomever you are, and that we have technology, we're using it right, and that we socially connect via video, because that's the best we can do right now. All we can do right now is the best we can do. So, going into the holidays, which is usually an emotional time of the year in a good year, is a very difficult time for a lot of people. My heart will be filled with whatever happiness we can find that day. And just hoping that everybody's doing the best that they can.

Looking ahead to winter, what are some of your favorite beauty and fashion trends and must-haves?

JM: I think going into the colder months now, and I would say going into next year too, I think that comfortable and chic. Something like a slipper that's indoor/outdoor. That, to me, is a must-have. Cute pajamas that match that make you feel good about yourself, even if you're just lounging around the house, that's a must-have.

I actually bought a blazer from a line that I love, Veronica Beard, with fringe on it. Fringe was huge. I thought to myself, if I wear it downstairs to dinner... We still have to get dressed up some nights. It's still nice to put lip gloss on and pull yourself together. I was even encouraging people to Zoom date. Get on a Facetime, get on a video call and get dressed up. I think it's nice to get dressed up. I used to wear dresses on first dates - or a pantsuit - just to get dressed up. I think that this time of year, it's nice to do, even via Zoom or via video with your family, with your friends, or on a date. Just put some lip gloss on, put a little mascara on, put your favorite earrings on.

As someone who now can definitely say that they're a Zoom expert, in terms of style what advice would you offer when you're doing a video date or video chat with friends and family?

JM: You only have to concentrate from the waist up. That's your first tip. For me, I always think it depends on what you're doing. If you're looking to impress, do your hair, put on a little lip gloss, a little mascara, put on a top that's flattering. I don't know if I was going on a Zoom date if I would wear a sherpa like this, but something that makes you feel good. I think it is nice just for yourself. I put perfume on every single day - even though I barely see anybody. But, for me, I think it's important to keep up your personal routine and what makes you feel good - because in the end, how you feel about yourself is the most important. I really believe that, that is the most important thing.

When in the Hamptons, what does an ideal day or evening look like?

JM: In dreamy times, before this all happened and when this is over, because there will be a punctuation, I loved going to Wölffer Estates and listening to live music, having a glass of rosé and cheese and shopping on Joey Wölffer's vintage shop truck, even if I didn't buy anything. Just walking around each of the towns and experiencing the spirit of each of them. Going pumpkin picking, I still did that this year. I just think there's a magic about the Hamptons. I grew up on the East End of Long Island, so it's very familiar to me. I think there's a beauty and a peacefulness and an elegance that makes me feel like I don't have to leave the house, which I rarely do. But just the air here, it's just beautiful.

For more information, visit jillmartin.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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