October 27, 2007 12:04 AM by Joe Blackmon
Written By Jennifer Brown. You might have seen a familiar face on TV Guide
Channel’s latest special, “Sexy Stars of Reality TV.” But for
Jennifer Braff, best known as the Cougar who took runner-up in NBC’s Age of Love, reality TV is just the beginning.
The 48-year old model and actress has been embracing her Cougarness ever since Age of Love aired, earning her thousands of fans the world over. Women want to know how she does it – looks so young and stays so fit – and how they can do it, too.
“I know there are many women out there that want [sexiness, excitement, and youthfulness back in their lives],” Jennifer says. “I received thousands of letters after doing Age of Love stating that I helped them in those ways. One woman still writes me and since watching me on the show and getting back into the gym, has lost 18 pounds. A couple wrote that I helped save their marriage.”
Jennifer has answered the demand of her fans and has written two books – Cougar Dating: A Woman’s Guide to Dating Men of All Ages, and I Am Cougar, Hear Me Roar: A Self-Help Autobiography – aimed at helping older women hang onto, or bring back, their youthful sexiness.
“Before even doing Age of Love, I had many friends and family members asking me what I did to keep my skin looking so good, and how I kept myself in shape,” Jennifer says. “I also had many people asking how to keep a positive attitude when one is growing older and feeling down about their life. They were feeling as if they had somehow lost their value because they weren’t 20 or 30 anymore. After receiving thousands of emails and blogs from viewers from the show asking me the same thing, I decided I needed to [write these books] because I have something to share with other women that I know is important to living a fulfilling life. I believe most women were just waiting for a positive role model to look to that felt the way they did about dating and relationships."
Whatever she’s doing, it works. Jennifer’s no stranger to landing younger men (and is, in fact, dating a younger man right now!) – something that has in the past both delighted and tested her son, Jon, with whom she has a very close relationship.
“He actually is amused by me having the title ‘Cougar’ because I’ve been dating younger men ever since he can remember and that was before the whole Cougar thing was so popular,” she says, adding that he’s generally very supportive of her. “He thought it was a great opportunity for me to be on the show.”
But, she admits, it hasn’t always been easy supporting a Cougar mom. “Once, I dated someone his age and it was a bit of a challenge for him to respect the relationship in the beginning. But after [Jon] and the guy got to know each other, Jon was fine with it. He is like any other son that just wants his mom to be happy.”
And Jennifer is happy with the title “Cougar,” even though some may see Cougars in a negative, predatory light. “I believe I am helping to change the stereotype of a Cougar in a way that is seen in a not so negative light. I made a decision to do Age of Love knowing that I would be exposing myself to criticism and judgment because of my age, but I wanted to change that view of an older woman that a lot of people have had for so long.”
Her quest has got her thinking – being a “Sexy Star of Reality TV” might be just the boost she needs to achieve her ultimate goal of outreach to women everywhere.
She admits that she’d like to have a reality TV show of her own – “A sort of makeover for the “new 40′s plus woman. I know there are many women out there that want that.”
A current advocate of charitable efforts to support Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Jennifer would ultimately like to use her fame to help women on another level as well. “I have a future goal to open a wellness center for women and children of violence and abuse,” she says. “I just really want to continue in any way to help people and have a productive, fulfilling, and happy life.”
Reality TV Magazine thanks Jennifer Braff for her time and wishes her well in her charitable efforts! To support Miller Children’s Hospital, purchase Jen’s 2008 fashion calendar at Amore Fashion, using the code “Jencal” in the discount code section.