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If we’ve never met …
Welcome! You have now officially met cyber-Jen. Cyber-Jen isn’t too different from real-life Jen, just a little flatter and with more pixels. Most of my theatre and music related info is on my resume, so this particular bio is to find out the “fun facts” of Jen Jaynes.
Since most folks nowadays are on schedules that are much too tight without enough breathing room, I will give an incredibly brief re-cap of my life so far – several aspects of my past that all add up to the performer, teacher, artist, leader, and goofball that I am today:
I’m a Navy brat – I attended four different elementary schools, and, as a result, I am one of the most flexible people you will meet and thrive in environments that are new and exciting (like in improv games!)
I first discovered that I love to sing in 5th grade at Ashburn Elementary in Virginia (this was also the year that I was in my first show: I played the Shoemaker’s Wife in The Shoemaker and the Elves!)
I first fell in love with theatre when my sister, Kristine, brought me backstage at her high school production of The Tempest. What made me realize, “Wow. These are the people I want to surround me?” An over-weight high school boy who didn’t have a shirt on who was making his stomach talk like a puppet. I walked in, he was puppet-ing, then he saw me, stopped, sincerely apologized for his actions, and turned and walked away. It was at this moment I realized, “These are the people I want to be with! Theatre artists are goofy, fun and exciting, yet they know when to apologize for their goofy, fun and exciting actions if necessary.”
When I was studying at the University of Virginia, I wanted to be a math major and apply to veterinarian school following graduation… but then I found my math grade plummeting to a C (keep in mind, I had straight A’s in math since math was a grade-able subject in school) because I chose rehearsals for theatre until midnight over studying for math exams. This grade was a revelatory moment: My passion was in the arts. Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean it’s what you should be doing for the rest of your life.
A fellow actor once said, “How old are you?! It sounds like you’ve been working forever! How have you had so many jobs so far?!” It’s true! At this point in my life (hopefully I’m only a quarter or so in) I have had a ridiculous amount of jobs and experiences. I have worked in the following capacities: gymnastics coach, data entry, Starbucks barista, shoe saleswoman, stock room manager, choreographer, babysitter, health club worker, pep band manager, building manager, music office worker, high school portrait photographer, chemistry tutor, music teacher, sales director, film production assistant, and a stage crew worker (I once assisted assembling the ring for a WWE event – there is not a lot of padding on those rings!).
I was a ridiculous over-achiever in high school (and I guess I still am to this day which is why I generally have five different projects happening at once). I was a Varsity cheerleader, co-captain of the color guard team, attended not one but two Governor’s School Programs (one for science, the other for performing arts), was in All-County, All-District, and All-State Choir, was involved in every musical, was in the German club, National Honor Society – I’ll stop myself here. This is supposed to be a “brief re-cap” according to my first paragraph…)
When I was 5, my Dad and I had the following conversation:
DAD: What do you want to be when you grow up?
ME: I want to be a poet, an astronaut, a doctor, an astronomer, a teacher, a doctor, a police officer.
DAD: Well you can’t be all those things.
ME: Sure I can! If I live to be a hundred, I can be something different every ten years! That’s ten jobs!
Little did I know, that the profession of “actor” would allow me to be several professions and experience several lifestyles all within one short lifetime.