By T.J. Pyette
Oprah Winfrey's chest will be encased in a Havre-made bra in the upcoming January issue of O magazine, scheduled to hit newstands next Tuesday.
The issue will focus on health, including a month-by-month shape-up plan for body, mind, finances and life, according to the magazine's Web site. The issue will also tell readers "how Oprah gets fit."
Renelle Braaten, president and founder of Enell Inc., said Oprah herself will be modeling the bra, in white, under an unzipped yellow windbreaker.
A fashion editor at the magazine confirmed today that Oprah will appear in the bra and that Oprah does indeed use the Enell for her normal workout attire.
Braaten has tried to pursuade Oprah to endorse her bra, styled for larger- breasted, active women, practically since the company's inception in the early 1990s.
Braaten has received enough unsolicited testimonials to know her product is a one-of-a-kind, high-quality sportsbra, but, "If Oprah says it's good, everybody listens," Braaten said.
The connection finally happened in a roundabout way, when actress Drew Barrymore, who was introduced to the bra by a fitness consultant during preparations for her role in the movie "Charlie's Angels," passed information about the bra to friend and fellow actress Jeanne Tripplehorn, according to an interview with the consultant, Kathy Kaehler, in Women's Sports and Fitness magazine.
Braaten said that when she was contacted by Tripplehorn's publicist, she mentioned that she'd like to get a bra to Oprah. The publicist gave Braaten the name and number of the head publicist for O magazine, which led to the sportsbra being featured on Oprah's "O-list" in last April's issue.
The Enell was featured on the list in the "What to Wear" category with the caption, "Once you get yourself hooked into this thing, they're not going anywhere."
"That really got some momentum going," said Braaten. Shortly after making the O-list, Enell Inc. secured accounts with mail-order catalogs like Eastbay and Roadrunner Sports, she added.
Braaten markets the bra online, through various retail and catalog merchants, including Dillard's department stores, Lucy sports stores and Title 9 Sports catalog.
Endorsed by athletes like track and field Olympian Pam Spencer-Marquez and pro beach volleyball player Tiffany Anderson, the bra's production has risen steadily over the past decade, with an average increase between 50 and 100 percent each year, Braaten said.
The company has an eye toward expansion, Braaten added. "We are working on a design for an extended cup Enell and an everyday bra, the Enell Light."
She and her husband, accountant Wayne Koepke, have begun the process of moving their home and businesses into another building.
The more distant future, Braaten said, may hold an Enell swimsuit and a line of workout wear.
In Havre, the Enell may be purchased at Master Sports, or on the Web site at www.enell.com.