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Profile: Bond. Jane Bond. Ascending

Stewardess, decorator, agent, Realtor, TV performer—Jane Bond-Rostron is on a career arc of surprise and achievement, promising many interesting turns ahead.



 

Jane Bond-Rostron has moxie. Chutzpah. Nerve. Guts: No, that’s too distasteful to describe a broker associate for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty and a high-end interior designer, who first was a flight attendant and then an agent in the New York entertainment swirl.

Meet her and you feel it: A pleasant breeze of confidence flows around her regal frame, which stands 5’11”, barefoot.

Besides being multitalented, how else could someone continually and successfully reinvent herself, like a cat with 10 lives?

“My husband says I’m a jack of all trades,” she says with a laugh on a rainy afternoon at the Olde Cypress home she shares with her husband of five years, Frank Rostron. “But that means ‘master of none,’ and I succeed!”

Indeed.

What makes one person able to follow a succession of dreams and actually get there?

A hard question to answer, but there is proof throughout Bond’s life that it can be done.

Not everybody could pull off the obvious, “I’m Bond. Jane Bond.” But she can, does, has.

The day we meet, she is wearing a white cable-knit Polo sweater, white linen pants and white no-show socks, and she is sipping a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Her demeanor is a bit surprising. She is tall but not intimidating. Beautiful but not haughty.

On a laptop, she queues up a promo for the Paradise Coast Wives pilot. Several networks are considering it as a series, says producer Chuck Ardezzone.

About casting her, Ardezzone says, “She’s everything you want on a reality show. Strong, independent, beautiful, smart; she’s got everything going for her.”

On the “sizzle reel,” a few of the cast members weigh in on the dating scene. One says she knows younger guys aren’t trying to get into a hot romance; they’re trying to get into her Ferrari.

Next is a close-up of Bond, who says, “If you’re gonna be digging gold, don’t come over here because you might be digging a grave and there’s no gold in that grave that you bury yourself in.”

She laughs. “I don’t know what I’m talking about there,” she says.

That’s funny because she is smart. Before she ever pushed a drink cart or pointed out an exit row, Bond earned a degree in finance from Pace University in New York. “I was supposed to go to Wall Street,” she says.

Before long she grew disenchanted as a flight attendant, but before quitting she “traveled everywhere my heart desired” and paid attention to décor, architecture, fine items of class and quality. She thought about interior design.

Who could pay for that service? She switched to working charter flights with professional athletes and landed an important job designing a home interior for NFL player Harry Swayne. And then four more for Swayne. For Jackie Walker. Broderick Thompson.       

Then for a while she took care of VIP guests at the once very hot but now closed Spa Nightclub (which one reviewer called “sometimes seemingly more excruciating than Chinese water torture to get into”). Boy George and Madonna, Calvin Klein, Whitney Houston, Naomi Campbell were frequent guests. “The Hilton sisters would dance on top of tables,” she says. While working at Spa, she went to Parsons/The New School of New York and became a certified interior designer.

But her next move was a natural: managing actors and music groups, like the British acid jazz pioneers The Brand New Heavies. Today, she talks about “the first time we were on Conan O’Brien.”

To understand the impression this leaves, pick your cliché: At home in the world, comfortable in her own skin, blooms where she’s planted. But any of them might erroneously imply Bond is anything like a cliché herself.

And that would be wrong. Very wrong.

It’s obvious even to her. She remembers the first few times she came to visit Rostron in Naples and they went out for dinner. “I thought, ‘No one looks like me here.’” Being black in a very tan town likely made her stand out a little, but perhaps no more than being on the arm of a white Brit who’s quite a bit shorter.

And five years later, she says on camera that, in Naples, “The water’s calm, the sun is shining all year round. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

And she has friends.

“Jane is vibrant, fun and full of energy,” says Lizette Candela, a sales professional and Bond’s partner at Sotheby’s. “When she gets it in her mind that she’s going to do something, she does it. If she has a goal, she meets it. I love that about her. She’s confident, but she’ll ask for help, too. And she’s helped me.

 “She never doubts herself. And she’s had such an exciting past,” Candela says, “with so many stories, and that makes her so fun to talk to.”

About a year ago, Tricia Walcott, who is in banking, and her family were moving from Atlanta to Naples and needed a real estate agent. She sought out Sotheby’s, found Bond. With her, Walcott ended up finding a home—and a friend. “She’s friendly, sweet, amazing, a go-getter. A keeper. Rarely in life do you meet people you instantly connect with and admire like Jane,” she says.

Longtime friend John Jones first felt the gravitational pull years ago when Bond walked into his hair salon. “I saw this beautiful woman walk in the door and I ran downstairs to see who is doing her hair. She was so cool and I liked her energy,” Jones says by phone, on a break from hairstyling on the set of NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura. “We’ve been joined hips ever since.”

But he’s in Philadelphia, and Bond has been more of a “homebody” lately, she says, spending time in Naples with Rostron, who is retired.

“When I met my husband, he looked like Paul McCartney. Now he looks like Billy Joel,” she says. A framed photo confirms that Frank Rostron, founder of the renowned Frank Rostron Bespoke Shirtmakers of Manchester, England, went through a Beatles hair period.

They met in 1988. “He got on my plane,” Bond said. Rostron had boarded in London, bound for Miami and then New York. “He was funny. He was adorable. He asked me to go out and I said yes.”

They dated for 18 months and broke up—fairly unremarkably, the way Bond tells it.

Time passed. By chance, Bond ran into Rostron on a New York street in 1998.

“We went to dinner and that was it,” she says. Both were involved with other people. “At that point he was an ex-boyfriend from when I was a baby, 23 or 24,” she says.

It took one more chance encounter with Rostron in 2008 on Lexington Avenue for Bond, who remembers she was going to Bloomingdale’s for lip gloss, to peer out of her dark glasses at the “attractive older gentleman” who clearly recognized her and to say, “Frankie! Age has done you well.”

Eighteen months later they were married in England.

But it’s New York that lives within her while she’s in Naples and anywhere else in the world.

There are reasons beyond the famous people, Fashion Week, the Grammys.

In September 2001, Bond had rented a car in New York to visit her mother in Philadelphia, her hometown, and grandmother in Virginia and was returning it on the morning of Sept. 11.

“It was beautiful out. I was in a T-shirt, sneakers and flannel pajama bottoms and I was burning up,” she recalls.

“I’d been hearing sirens the whole way downtown (from uptown), but this was New York. You hear them all the time. Then at University (Place) and (East) 10th Street, I saw all these people looking up. It was suddenly like being in a movie. I leaned over the dashboard and looked up at the Towers. One was on fire. I thought, now who started a fire way up there? How are they going to put that out?”

Bond heard and was baffled by the approach of the second plane. It was flying awfully low, she thought. And then it crashed into the South Tower as she watched.

“I didn’t have my phone, but I had a disposable camera from the trip and I took two pictures. I still carry one in my bag all the time. It’s a reminder, I guess.”

So that photo goes with her to show homes for Sotheby’s, to dinner and to appearances in support of Paradise Coast Wives.

That’s all fun for now, Bond says. “And when this is all over, I’m going to sit down and paint.”

 

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