In Partnership with Bentley

Interior Designer Breegan Jane Is Rewriting The Meaning of Success

The way we define success is changing. Many of us are striving for more than the traditional markers of money, fame and status. Nowadays, thanks to economic trends and a particularly contemplative few years, success increasingly means free time, space to think, strong relationships, health, happiness and so much more.
Which is where Bentley’s Beneath The Surface campaign comes in. This year the brand is going under the bonnet of people’s achievements to uncover what success really means today – because in between “how it started” and “how it’s going” are all the other moments that often go unspoken yet tend to be the making of us.
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This is particularly true for LA-based interior designer, broadcaster and lifestyle blogger Breegan Jane. Despite continually hitting outward markers of success – from appearing on  interior design TV shows to gaining over 100k social media followers for her signature style of attainable and affordable luxury – Breegan’s journey hasn’t always been plain sailing.

I think I was afraid to step into the light or say that I wanted it

She considers it her responsibility to other women to document her struggles and the behind-the-scenes of her successes on her blog and on social media. “It’s incredibly important because we find relatability through storytelling – we find what we can be and what we can overcome. If we only show the wins it paints a certain story.”
Breegan grew up in Hermosa Beach, California, in a creative household with two white adoptive parents who encouraged her to be proud of her individuality. “I felt like I stood out [at school]. I had big curly hair and my brain is lovely and full of ADHD and dyslexia. I always felt different but what was wonderful is my parents made me believe that my differences made me special and unique.”
Breegan now sees a link between her beginnings and the career she’s built in interior design. “Being an adopted child, you realise the need to want to make others fit in and feel welcome. It wasn't until adulthood that I really understood that creating welcoming homes where anyone can feel loved is an important part of what I do.”
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From just 2 years old, Breegan starred in print and TV commercials as a model and actor before experimenting with a plethora of careers during her teens and 20s. “I'm lucky to have had many careers and many different adventures along the way of finding my purpose of interior design.”
These adventures included opening a clothing store at 18 (“I should’ve realised I loved remodelling the store and doing the store window more than I liked the clothes themselves”), creative directing for a yacht business, and estate management. While she enjoyed her time as an estate manager, Breegan says, “I thought my role was supporting successful men behind the scenes. Luckily, everybody I supported was very supportive, but I think I was afraid to step into the light or say that I wanted it.”
It was while working in this role in her early 20s, for a wealthy CEO with several property investments, that Breegan had her first interior design opportunity. Turning a 20,000-square-foot aircraft hangar into an office and living room in just two weeks, using shag carpets and antique chairs, gave her the confidence to pursue a new career path.
“Being recognised for my creativity is what I’m proudest of in my career,” she says. “Interior designers are often confused as pillow pickers and there’s sometimes this idea that anyone can do it. So when brands like Bentley recognise my creativity, it’s such a compliment to me as an artist, and is much more rewarding than thinking about the square footage of the largest house I've done.”
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Success is something I struggle with recognizing but I’m forcing myself to do it

Despite her success, Breegan often struggles to celebrate it. “I have a hallway in my house with a bunch of framed publications that I've been in. I did it because it makes me incredibly uncomfortable,” she says. “Success is something I struggle with recognising but I’m forcing myself to do it because it's part of the message I want to leave for other women. And that is a part of my purpose."
In the background of her ascending career was Breegan’s journey into motherhood – her two boys are 8 and 6 – and the breakdown of her marriage. It was often a challenge to deal with it all at once.
“As I was growing into my career, they were growing up. And society doesn't often tell you that you can have both: success, career and be a mother. Then on top of that, nobody plans to get divorced. But there I am, a single mother. I really had to fight my own guilt, the little voices in my head that had been put there through years of messages in the media and people’s opinions,” she recalls.
Unexpectedly, having children only sharpened Breegan’s career ambitions. “I always knew that family and kids are incredibly important to me, and I always believed my career and my life would take a back seat to having children. But the exact opposite happened: I had a child and I felt motivation in my career that I’d never felt before. It ignited this whole other purpose to the talents I was given. I didn’t expect that.” 
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Breegan’s definition of success has evolved in line with her rollercoaster of experiences over the years. As a child, her aspirations were influenced by traditional notions of success: having 2.5 kids and a house with a white picket fence. As she entered the workplace, it became more about financial independence and being taken seriously as a woman.
Since becoming a mother, success means enjoying her work, fulfilling her purpose and maximising her happiness. “Success for me is being able to do what I love. Obviously, making money from doing what you love and being recognised for it [is a bonus]. My focus used to be there and now it's much more on my life’s purpose, as well as my moments of happiness and how I can maximise those.”

Success for me is being able to do what I love

Throughout her career, which has focused on design and luxury, Breegan has become increasingly aware of the importance of giving back to the causes she’s most passionate about. She aims to promote sustainability through her work and part of what drew her to working with Bentley was the brand’s Beyond 100 sustainability strategy, which is working towards a progressive new world driven by new sustainable technologies, materials, fuels and skills.
For many years now, Breegan has also been working with an international children’s charity. “I really feel like making other women recognise their own capabilities is what drives me. So a lot of my philanthropic work is around women's and children's education in Kenya, specifically, where they aren't given other choices,” she says.
“What drives me is knowing how many more people I can help and protect, not only through bigger financial gain but through the example that my life sets if I can have that personal time. I really, really care about telling women, ‘you’ve got this,’ because nobody does.”
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