Eco18 Questions: Jill Zarin

by Lauren Verini

Each month we will ask a new eco-maven 18 questions about his or her life, occupation and advice for other like-minded people. This month we were able to sit down with Jill Zarin, who you may remember from Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York. Jill is also the owner of Zarin Fabric Warehouse and founder of Skweez Couture and Jill Zarin Jewelry.

1. What is your name (and age)

Jill Zarin, age 49

2. What is your occupation?

Designer, loyal housewife, and runner of a bed and breakfast

3. Do you have a “green” memory growing up?

My mother actually installed a trash compactor before anyone else in our neighborhood. She would say that she couldn’t handle living with “garbage” while she waited for the trash bag to fill up, so eventually she got rid of it 

4. What’s your favorite meal?

I always enjoy a good salad for lunch. A little tip: adding an apple gives it the right amount of crunch.  I must admit though, my guilty pleasure is Pinkberry. I live on it.

5. Who/What inspires you to be more “green” in your life?

Definitely my husband Bobby; he has always been such a sensitive soul and loves to care for the environment. He even bought a green sign on Route 27 to encourage drivers to stop littering. He’s such a sweetheart; I could not be happier and luckier to be able to call him mine.

6. Where on the “green scale” do you fall? 

I would have to say around a 7. I live in New York City, which is definitely not the “greenest” of places in the world, but I try to do my part as much as possible.

7. What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?

I love to entertain. There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with the ones you love, and that’s why I try my hardest to keep a cozy and comfortable household. In terms of JZB Enterprises, Skweez Couture and Jill Zarin Jewelry, I would say the most rewarding part is sharing the styles I love with everyone else. Everyone should be able to look fabulous and feel fabulous in their own skin and that’s what my companies aim to do. The most challenging part of my job would have to be budgeting my expenses. I tend to forget that I need to make a profit from my lines and cannot keep giving it away for free. What can I say; it comes with being a Jewish mother. We love to share and take care of our friends.

8. Where’s your “greenspot”:

Oh that’s tough. I could easily make a case for food, oceans, home or neighborhood; but I think the most important to me is bodycare/beauty. Makeup is something that applies to all women, especially mothers. Everyone should be able to use products that are not only environmentally-friendly but also healthy for their skin. I just hosted my first annual luxury ladies luncheon and was able to provide all my guests with stimulating and rejuvenating products. Ladies should be able to look and feel beautiful. Beauty is not always pain.

9. Where do you turn for your news?

I make it a habit to watch News 12 every morning. I also love to read the New York Post, Daily News, and Wall Street Journal. Of course, my favorite talk news show is my sister’s live [daily] radio program, “The Lisa Wexler Show.” Tune in at AM1230 WFAS or

10.  What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next year?

To teach my family and staff to turn off lights whenever they leave a room! I always feel like I’m constantly turning off lights in empty rooms!

11.  If you could trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why?

I would say Amelia Earhart. She was young, adventurous and free. She went after what she wanted and was able to truly see the world for the beautiful place it is.

12.  You have a meeting with the leader of every country in the world. You have 30 seconds to tell them anything you want. Go!

Healthy foods in schools; it’s a big issue with me. Child obesity in this world relates back to not putting the right snacks in a child’s lunchbox. Why is it always pretzels or chips? I’m just asking that we put carrots in every lunchroom. It’s a delicious substitute.

13.  You have the chance to send one tweet to all the tweeps in the world. Let’s hear it in 140 characters, or less!

“As long as you’re true to yourself, success will follow.”

14.  If there was one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?

Oh that’s easy, Diet Coke. I go through bottles and cans like it’s my job. I feel guilty for the amount I have to recycle each day.

15.  Where in the world would you most like to be right now?

I can honestly say I am happiest being exactly where I am right now: at my lovely beach house in Southampton, NY. I have a beautiful view of the bay from my own backyard! Who wouldn’t be in bliss? But if I must pick somewhere else, I would say Europe. I love the beautiful culture and architecture. No matter how many times I visit, I always find new fascinating buildings and an intriguing history behind them.

16.  What is the best book you have read recently?

I’m still thinking about Fifty Shades of Gray.

17.  What makes you cringe?

Nothing makes me stress more than a dirty, unorganized house.  I’m a housewife, it comes with the title.

18.  What do you want your legacy to be?  

As long as the ones I love can look back and think of me in a positive light then I will consider my life a success. From my experience on “The Real Housewives of NY,” I’ve learned that you cannot please everyone. There are always going to be people that have a problem with who you are; but as long as you stay true to yourself and loyal to your friends and family, you can easily be happy. And happiness is the most important ingredient in life.


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