Jeanette Jenkins Talks Tomboy Upbringing, ‘Sexy Abs’ DVD + Celebrity Clientele
Ever since Jenkins was a young girl, her mother enrolled her in sports and constantly placed her on the boys’ teams to keep up with her older brother Roger (she’s the youngest of three). She still maintained her girly side, showing signs as an all-around child. “I was in the middle. I would show up to play sports with pearls around my neck. I would get into my grandma’s pearls, throw on some lipstick and then tear it up at the park. I didn’t sleep on the girly stuff, I just liked playing with my brother. And that’s why now, you see my in my workout gear with pink nails and lashes.”
It was also her childhood that instilled her insatiable need to succeed. “As a young child, I just wanted to the be the best me and I also wanted to have access ‘cause you know my mother raised us in government housing as a single mom with three kids and I remember the year that I wanted to get new snow boots, she said I had to keep the ones I had from last year because she didn’t have enough money to get me new boots.” A hustler from the age of nine, she translated her talents into profits by selling back marbles to kids she played with, hosting lemonade stands and yard sales, and producing her own garage shows, charging neighbors a quarter for admission. “I was a money-maker out the gate!”
Today, she runs her business a little differently, making much more. “I got a tax accountant certificate that I got at H&R Block, so I can actually do people’s taxes. I did a CFP designation through UCLA, which is a certified financial planner, but I take on all these courses so that I can learn how to keep my finances and how to expand them without having to just rely on someone’s verbal words and opinion.” She also dabbles in some real estate and owns several properties, including a condo in Century City for $200,000 that she bought in the same building as her office. She also has stocks in coffee and organic foods to get her financial portfolio up. “Education to me, I call it like your toolbox. Fitness is my visual presence in the world, but I’m a well-rounded businesswoman that has investments in all kinds of different things.”
After getting her finances in order, she began to pursue a fitness career. “Okay, I have money, I have equity, it’s time to start taking a risk on me and start doing work-out videos.” Starting as backup talent for ESPN and Crunch, Jenkins eventually worked heavily as a technical director for Dragonfly productions (produced all the Denise Austin and Jillian Michaels videos), choreographing the exercises and making sure they were done properly. She was also a resourceful trainer, filming seven DVDs on her wealthy clients’ properties, which ultimately became her first fitness series.
Her most recent project is the start of a celebrity workout series, beginning with the recently released “Sexy Abs” DVD with songbird Kelly Rowland. “I always wanted to do a celeb series of workout videos. At the time, Tia Mowry and Kelly Rowland wanted to do workout videos. Kelly had already been working out to my bikini boot camp, and without my knowing, blasted it out on Twitter. “‘We’re gonna do a bikini boot camp challenge,’ [tweets Kelly], and I’m like, ‘Thanks, Kelly, now we really have to do this.’ But it was a beautiful surprise. She’s amazing.”
It was Rowland’s killer midsection in the “Motivation” video that brought the concept of the DVD to fruition. “I had already been training her for her “Motivation” video, and everybody was commenting on how amazing her abs looked in that video. I was like, “Girl, everybody wants your abs.”