Meet Irene! - Westport Moms

 How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? Two boys – JT age 9 and Rocky age 7; we have lived in Westport for 8 years
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns? Taking a dip in the ocean at Compo beach and having a lobster roll at Joey’s, riding bikes, throwing the football, hiking the trails behind Earthplace, and I am hoping to add paddle boarding to the list this summer…
What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids? I am fully addicted to Instagram and I spend a lot of time organizing my family calendar with the Cozi app. It has a share feature so my husband and I can keep track of all the rugby, baseball, football and lacrosse games (and piano lessons, orchestra rehearsals, tae kwon do tests) plus the occasional date night, with a limited amount of miscommunication.
What’s your can’t live without beauty product? Glossier Boy Brow and fake lashes from Nash’s Lashes on Post Rd. The complimentary foot rub is dreamy and I like to think the lashes distract from any imperfections on a slightly aging but jolly makeup free face.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family dinner? A night out with friends? Bodega in Fairfield followed by a scoop of ice cream at Saugatuck Sweets! For out of towners I try to hit BarTaco—it’s fun and scene-y and I am a big fan of all things guac.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I was raised on a catfish farm in Oklahoma. I know how to catch, clean and gut a catfish. Also I can’t eat them in restaurants, because they aren’t fresh out of the pond!
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? Coffee in bed, CrossFit at CrossFit Westport with my girlfriends, a day spent outside at the beach with the family, then a couple of uninterrupted hours with Kerry Washington in early seasons of “Scandal”! (And a cheeseburger). Not too much to ask!
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty, a sense of humor, self confidence, strength, humility, honesty and the willingness to have fun!
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? Allow your children to be themselves, not a reflection of you and your own hopes and dreams.
How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? I got an internship as Betsey Johnson’s assistant in NYC my last quarter at UC Santa Cruz. I went on to be her fitting model and work in her design department. Later, I assisted top fashion editors from “Italian Vogue” and “Vanity Fair” as well as the Creative Director at “Allure”—setting up shoots with all the big photographers—Avedon, Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino. We moved to Westport to raise our family, and when my youngest entered kindergarten I started asking myself why I had always worked behind the scenes with clothes and models yet never picked up a camera. My eye had been trained by the crème de la crème of fashion, I started lifting weights (that camera equipment is heavy!) and I took a few technical photography classes through Westport Continuing Ed and voilà! I launched Irene Penny Photography. Oscar’s Deli and Athleta Westport hosted my first few art shows and were incredibly supportive. I had a show in June featuring lots of local women athletes from CrossFit Westport with a sort of Wonder Woman theme at Heroes Comics and Cards in Norwalk. I will also have some local landscapes hanging at The ‘Port, the new restaurant by the river downtown. I am a bit of a maverick and get a real thrill from creating my own projects and local art scene.

Join The Westport Moms Community

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in-and-around The Westport, CT community with local events, community highlights, and exclusive deals.