Exclusive Interview: Jennifer Braff, Runner-Up on 'Age of Love'
Exclusive Interview: Jennifer Braff, Runner-Up on 'Age of Love'
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer Braff, the 48-year-old Cougar, was the runner-up on the season finale of the NBC reality dating series Age of Love.  In the final episode, 30-year-old professional tennis player Mark Philippoussis chose 25-year-old Amanda Salinas instead, though Jen is quite fine with it.

BuddyTV spoke with Jennifer Braff to discuss her experience on the show.  She talked about her time on the show and her connection with Mark, her feelings towards appearing on another dating show, her future plans which include finishing a book she's writing, and her history of dating much younger men, including some younger than her 25-ear-old son.

Below you will find a complete transcript of our interview as well as the mp3 audio file.

Hi, this is John from Buddy TV, and we're talking with Jennifer Braff from the NBC dating series Age of Love. How you doing, Jen?

I'm great, how are you doing?

I'm doing OK. Now, some time has passed since you've seen the show and been on the show. So I'm just wondering, how do you feel about not being picked by Mark?

Well you know, there was always of course the thought that I'm already not getting picked. It's not that I wasn't confident about him choosing me, but there was always that thought in my head that it could possibly be me that would be eliminated next, so it wasn't a total shock. I was disappointed, but that's how life is. Things happen, and I'm OK now with it.

Looking back now, are you still like, “Aww, I wish I'd gotten that,” or are you like, “OK, things are still good, I'm gonna move on, it's not a big deal.”

I absolutely have just positive things that have happened since doing the show. I feel that I don't know that I would do another show of that type, but I definitely think it was a positive experience for me. I'm glad that I did it, it was a great experience for sure.

Well, would you do a show with… because a lot of our readers at Buddy TV have offered suggestions, that if they do the show again, you should be the star. And you should have a field of men in their 30s and men in their 50s vying for you.

I've heard that from people writing me as well.

And what are your thoughts on that? Would you even consider wanting to do that?

I would do a show if it was that way, if it was me choosing, because that would be a little bit more comfortable for me. I think it would be fun for me to be able to make the choices, of course, instead of the other way around.

Now looking back on this show, and knowing what you know now about Mark and all of his decisions, do you think there was a serious possibility that he might have chosen you or another Cougar at the end? Or was it always going to be one of the 20-somethings?

I really believe that he fought with the decision. I think he just wanted to go through the process, and go with the feelings all along. I know that he and I had a great connection, there was a huge attraction that was there from the beginning between us. I may have believed that all along it could have been a Cougar.

But towards the end, I started feeling that he was thinking a little bit more about the social repercussions that may happen if he chose a Cougar. It was just something I sort of felt that was kind of becoming important to him, or becoming something he was focusing on. I could be wrong, because obviously I'm not Mark, I don't know for sure any of that.

Now, you have a 25-year-old son. And I'm wondering, what has been his reaction to seeing you on the show, competing for a man who is roughly the same age as him?

Oh well, he'll be 26 tomorrow, my son Jonathan actually.

Oh, congratulations.

Yeah. And to tell you the truth, Mark is not the youngest guy I've ever dated. I mean, in real life, I've dated a guy that was younger than my son.

So does he take that with a grain of salt? Is he OK with it, then? I guess he wasn't as shocked as many people thought he might've been.

Right. With me as his mother, there's not much to shock him. (laughter) But he's pretty much the same way he would be with any man that would come into my life, especially someone that potentially would be a serious person for his mother. He now just sees that I'm unusual, I'm a unique person, a unique woman. Every person is.

But as a mom, I know that it's a little bit tougher to be the child of someone that does everything so differently than his friends. He's great, though. He's very open, I raised him to be open to all different things. He's a fantastic artist, and he has that ability to see past the surface. And so he just thinks it's great, whatever I do, he's supportive.

OK, and since the show has ended, have you seen or spoken with Mark or Amanda? Do you know how they're doing as a couple?

I have not spoken to any one of them, or either one of them, sorry, or seen them. I've seen pictures that I got from the final episode viewing in Las Vegas that Mark had. Amanda showed up there after the episode was over, so there were some pictures that they had together.

OK, and what did you initially hope to get out of being on this show? How did your experience on it differ, or was the same as what you had expected?

There wasn't a whole lot of expectations that I went into the show having. Of course there was always the possibility that I could meet the guy for me, but there were other reasons why I thought it was a good idea for me to go ahead, and put myself out there. I knew it was a reality show, something that I am not…

My personality is not one that would usually go for a show of this type, but I knew that I could make a statement or send a message out about women my age, and that was really important to me. I did get a lot of flak from a lot of bloggers and people that wrote e-mails, that said some negative things about me, and I would prepare for those as I possibly could've been.

I knew that was gonna be part of it. But I think for the most part, because of the e-mail that I've received from women saying I have been an inspiration. Now they're motivated to go back to the gym, they want to be sexy, and now they have something to look forward to in their 30s and 40s and beyond. That to me is really rewarding, and it makes all that I've gone through because of doing this reality show, worth it.

You should definitely be proud. I know at Buddy TV, the day after the finale, we had about over 100 comments. And I would say that 99 percent of them were very supportive of you, so you definitely have a lot of fans out there.

Oh, that makes me feel so really good. I'm going to try to respond somehow to all the fan mail that I received, all the supporters. Every week after the show I would get e-mails, and everybody was saying how happy they were that I still listen. And afterwards I had a lot of women writing and saying they cried, and they were crying for me, and they hurt for me.

They felt bad for me, not realizing maybe that I finished the taping about two months ago. So I wanted to let them know out there that I'm fine, and I'm doing great, and I really feel good about the whole experience. So I'm OK, and I appreciate their support and their love. It was great to see all that mail.

And looking forward now, what is in store for your future both professionally and personally?

Well, I'm trying to finish up a book that I had started before I was on the show, it's basically on what I do to stay young. Not just my attitude, but what I take as far as my supplements – you know, they help – and beauty secrets. I have my exercise regime, what I eat, and so on. But I also now want to incorporate in it my experience on the show.

I do date younger men, and it's kind of been like that for several years now. So I've had people question me about “What do you do? And give me some pointers.” Because a lot of women in their 40s are out there single just like me, and they're in the dating world, and its different from when we were 20 and dating.

I'm also spokesmodel for amorefashion.com. We have a calendar coming out, and I want to plug that, because proceeds go to my charity. It's Miller's Children's Hospital in Long Beach. I've been getting some phone calls, we'll see what happens. I'm excited to move forward from this experience, and it's just been a fun life.

-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of NBC)