The woman in the SPANX t-shirt above is Sara Blakely. She lives in Atlanta and back when I did too, around, say, 1998, we met at a fundraising pajama party that benefited the non-profit I had founded several years before, then called The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. She sat me down and we got to talking. She told me how she’d just started this company called SPANX because she liked the way panty hose made her booty look and wanted to get the same effect in the summertime when she wore sandals which meant creating panty hose without feet. She recounted how she’d gotten some prototypes made and had gone from store to store with them stuffed into a red backpack trying to persuade people to give her a chance. Cut to today: Sara is the youngest, female, self-made billionaire.

It’s not hard to understand why–I never go anywhere without at least 6 or 7 different SPANX products. Most women I know (including Tina Fey) wonders how we managed before Spanx. In my view, Spanx are the clothing equivalent of the iPhone: How did we ever get on without them?

To start with, I only wear my full-length Spanx workout pants when I travel–they look like plain, straight black pants or black jeans except they stretch, are more comfortable and don’t wrinkle. (I work out in them, too).

I have bad circulation so when I travel I wear thigh-high support hose but, on their own, they leave an unattractive indentation where they end. The solution? The Spanx’s Shaping Mid-Thigh Bodysuit called “Slim Cognito


This little slimming item is like an old-fashioned girdle but comfortable, without any bones. It overlaps the tops of the support hose and ends just under the breasts. Speaking of which, if I wear a bra (which sometimes I don’t), I wear the flesh-colored SPANX bra that fastens in the front, a feature I especially like. Normally, for everyday summer wear with a dress, my stockings are the original footless “pantyhose” (I have 4 pair with me in Cannes). Sometimes when I wear tight pants, though, I prefer the way my booty looks au natural so I only wear my Hanky Panky underpants which leave no panty line. I have them in about twelve colors. I just counted, and on this 18-day trip I have a total of a dozen SPANX items in my suitcases.

Never did I suspect that the products that adorable little blonde gal who cornered me at that pajama party 16-some years ago would become irreplaceable in my wardrobe. Just thought I’d let ya have a little inside scoop–a little skinny, so to speak.

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  1. Wow Jane.
    I had no idea that there’s also Spanx for men. Just googled it. What a life changer. Maybe I can look good in a T Shirt in my mid forties after all, seeing as my abdominal muscles have let me down all my life.
    Ahh and I’ve just noticed they do underpants, too.
    Life is good! 🙂

    Take care

  2. Thanks for the skinny! This made me LOL! All I can picture is you sitting on your bed in a hotel in France counting your underwear. Seriously, though, I didn’t know there were so many different kind of Spanx. Looks like Mellie’s goin’ shoppin’! 🙂

  3. Sara Blakely also lived in Florida. Many women thank her for turning an idea into a product loved by many,

  4. What a brilliant woman! I have been meaning to go out and buy some Spanx to help give me a slimming, smoother look. I certainly need it.

  5. Well, my Spanx went with me in a short sundress — it was 90 here today — to a graduation party and then to Walmart. Cannes for Jane. Walmart for me. But I looked good.

  6. Off topic question: I am a television’s “DALLAS” (CBS & TNT) nerdist. I’ve watched all 357 original episodes four times. The new continuation series manages to capture the same over-the-top Texas-sized magic. Is, by any chance, your upcoming novel, “Amanda’s Secrets” about Jock Ewing’s first wife, Amanda, who was committed to a mental rest facility? If not, then I can write that book and look forward to reading yours. Have you ever met Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, Barbara Bel Geddes or Susan Howard?

  7. Jane, you are just too cool. Who else posts about their Spanx?!? Have been reading your blog for a long time, but your Spanx post got me to create an account! Best – Barbara

  8. Hi Jane,

    I’m sure you don’t remember, but I worked with GCAPP years ago when I was doing PR with 360 Media in Atlanta. I just wanted to stop by and say how thrilled I am to see you popping up on my tv and movie screen more and more these days.

    I am a teacher in Madagascar now, and just the other day I saw a Coton de Tulear and thought of you and the lovely Tulea. I hope you, GCAPP, and Tulea are well. The rest of the world needs a GCAPP. Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes,

  9. I Love you, Jane
    Greetings from Egypt


    Interested in your opinion about the issues raised in this type of investigation. The profit and ego motive of the middle men and women involved (the “activism managers”) seems to be the core of the corruption. Hollywood celebrities with elite status are not necessarily “useful idiots”; but, they are easily manipulated into becoming just that, I feel, by their motives which are similar, but slightly different, to profit and ego — namely stature and ego. (“I have all the money in the world. Now, I want to be known for making a positive difference!”) The fans (like me), who share similar ideals with their celebrity counterparts, are left sort of in the lurch — especially when relevant, important news stories containing deeply uncomfortable truths like these are exposed. I am not meaning to link you to this story in particular. I am just curious as to whether or not you feel that these creepy double-deal makers have had a net positive or net negative impact on: 1) The causes (environmentalism, peace, equality, etc. 2) The brands (Jane Fonda, inc.) 3) The people (Jane Fonda, the person), people like me and future generations of our shared world citizenry. Is it all just marketing? Ego? Are we obligated to follow the money or the intentions, both or neither? Is Hollywood (including its activism) just another industry? If so, what is its primary export? Propaganda? Washington, D.C.? Left, right? The auto industry, the drug trade, superficiality and meaning. Is there any separation? Should there be any separation? Can their be any separation? Jane, I admire you. That is why I am asking you these questions. We appeal to each other’s egos, obviously. (That’s a natural thing — neither good, nor bad.) I consider you a friend. I understand, and respect, the divisions that exist between you and I. I am pro-“sunshine” and pro-privacy. I, too, want to make a positive impact. While financial security is important to me, I hope never to compromise my ideals — knowingly or unwittingly (by being purposefully misled by others). Got a new job at a much nicer hotel. I love delivering the level of service from the heart in a nicer environment. I wrestle with some of the values in my industry (hospitality) however. What is “elite” status? Why do the guests who get the best treatment and perks also get discounts too? In my own way, while adhering to policies, I try to afford the same amount of comfort, luxury and respect to all of my guests. Your thoughts? (Thanks for taking the time to read this.)

    • Dear Peter, I’m afraid your ‘letter’ is too complicated for me to comprehend…or maybe I’m just jet lagged and brain dead. Can you make a concise question cause I can’t figure out what you want to know. my bad. x

  11. Congrats on your American Film Institute Life Achievement Award! I read what some of the speeches to you were. Greatly deserved!

  12. Dear Jane, I absolutely agree. Thank you for taking the time to point that out. Years ago, one of my philosophy professors gave me a “C” on a paper and remarked on my “confused thinking”. Concise has never been my strong suit. (In fact, I was going to ask you to ignore the post.) Somedays, my thoughts get jumbled — and the only way to “untie my brain”, as it were, is to just write. Sort of think out loud. In therapy, I am beginning to develop the strength to exist on my own, without the approval of others. As this ability to self-actualize grows, I will begin to live more and more within a set of appropriate boundaries. (I’ve also started taking anti-anxiety medications prescribed by a competent psychiatrist. It is so good to have my depression improved by about 70% and my anxiety by about 80%. To have the never experienced by me before sensation of literally feeling comfortable in my own skin!) I guess my question was more of an observation: I think all of us want our names to stand for something meaningful. Those of us, like you, who have worked hard to achieve instantly recognizable name status — in your case, a name that resonates an ethos of strength, commitment and curiosity — MUST have to deal with being taken advantage of (being manipulated) by others on a daily basis. That must be difficult. I am so looking forward to watching the AFI tribute to you when it airs. You’re an inspiration, and a kind person. Your son’s words about you moved me, because I, too, have a very formidable mother. I don’t have very many friends, Jane, though as I grow in my confidence, I am working on changing that. I used to be so worried about saying the wrong thing that I never talked — I just moved through life staring at my shoes. Now, I over share. I’ll find the right balance, with continued work and experimentation. How cool that one of my idols has met so many other performers of whom I am a big fan!! (Last long post, I promise!!!!) If you don’t want to respond publicly, my e-mail is [email protected] Or, just say, thanks for the clarification. P.S. Always know this: I appreciate and have a deep respect for your contributions to this world.

    • Peter, I too have a bit of an over sharing problem. 🙂

  13. Even as I want to say, “no need to respond to this”, I must say that I am so very impressed that you, Jane Fonda, actually take the time to reply to these posts. So impressed by what you’ve done for our Georgia community, who you have been and who you have become… And interested to see where you go from here! Would you believe that all this is coming from a southern born-again republican? It’s true.
    BTW you were a riot on Conan recently. That hilarious wonderful interview made me look up and read your blog!

    • Ha! Jackson, you’re funny. Yeah, I had unexpected fun n Conan. xx

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