Today we’d like to introduce you to Jared Jeffrey Jenkins.
Jared Jeffrey, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Well, I’m originally from Philadelphia, PA, where my interested in the arts originated. During my time in high school (Simon Gratz), I use to sneak down to the dance studio and watch a class. It wasn’t until my senior year where I gathered up the courage to enroll in dance class as an elective. After graduating high school in 2002, I attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where I studied and graduated with a B.S. in finance. During my time here, I performed with the resident Hip-Hop team (Groove Theory) for all four years. To be HONEST and taking a critical look back to those years, I can say I was terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE lol. I could pick up the choreography but in terms of performance, style, and technique, it was laughable. However, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by great leadership and as a very determined and focused person, I had the drive to want to be better.
Pushing forward to post under-graduated life, I landed a job working as a business analyst for a defense technology company in Falls Church, VA. While maintaining a 9-5 work schedule, I decided that I really wanted to be better at dance. I remembered attending classes with students who were extremely talented and I would think, “I want to be that good”, so without hesitation, my training regiment kicked into high gear. I would wake up at 5 am, catch the bus to work (at that time I didn’t have a license, let alone a car lol), work from 9 am- 5 pm, catch the train to class (I would take 2 or 3 depending on the day), catch public transportation and get home around midnight, to repeat the same schedule the next day. It came to a point where the daily commute was too much, so at the age of 24, I decided to get my license and car. That decision was definitely a game-changer.
So at this point, its 2009 and I’m three years into my intense training regiment and I discovered I also had an interested in fashion. I applied to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and was admitted. At the same time, my dancing/teaching/choreography improved tremendously so I was faced with a great decision: Do I pursue the arts full-time? I quickly decided YES. I ended up giving in my three-month notice (yeah I was really considerate lol) and moving to NYC. Once I got to the city, I quickly realized 2 things: I wasn’t in Northern Virginia/DC any more lol (no elevator, no dishwasher, no gated community, expensive rent). I went from being a salaried employee to working at a gym, 5 am opening shift for $10 an hour. It got real but it was all for the love of the dream. The second thing I realized was that it would be unrealistic to be able to dedicate 100% focus and energy to dance, school AND work, so I decided not to attend FIT.
I eventually started teaching at one of the most famous studios in the world, which afforded me to not have to work at the gym anymore. My classes soon became one of the most popular at the studio. From this newfound popularity, I got the opportunity to start teaching and traveling all around the world. I also was able to start working as a professional dancer in the industry.
Now I reside in LA and my career is continuing to blossom. At this point, I’ve had the opportunity to have work with Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Jermaine Dupree, and others. I continue to push my creativity and artistry while maintaining my strong work ethic. In terms of fashion, two months ago, I got to walk in my very first runway show. I was very excited about that. Being more established in the dance industry, I now have time to focus on fashion/style/modeling. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has NOT been smooth at all. The entertainment industry is very unstable in itself. Some months you are working constantly, other times, you aren’t, so I think the inconsistency is probably the hardest road I’ve had to travel. Also, as an artist, we are very critical about what we project/present to the world. Being my own worse critic, I find myself overthinking, second-guessing and be hesitant with my talents sometimes. While the constant struggle for elevation and perfection keeps me motivated, I also find it keeps me overly critical of myself.
Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
I am a self-employed artist, who specializes in dance, teaching and choreography. I’ve been actively pursuing this career for over ten years now and have been blessed with many incredible opportunities. When it comes to my involvement in the dance industry, one of the most rewarding aspects is teaching. The fact that I get the opportunity to interact with so many people and help aspiring professionals reach their goals is something that humbles me constantly. I’m in awe that people trust me with there training and made it a repeated notion that I will never take that entrustment for granted.
I would say what sets me apart from other dancers/teachers/choreographers in today’s industry is the choice of music that I like to create to. My favorite style of music is 90s/2000s RnB music. I love music that tells a story from beginning to end and it’s really evident in this genre of music. Getting lost in the lyrics, coupled with trying to relate to what the artist of the song was feeling while recording is what I love the most. Its the only time I can pretend that I’m a global music superstar lol.
When it comes to me as a brand, I love the idea of style. I have a great eye for putting clothes together that most people wouldn’t see. I love mixing textures, patterns, materials, which in terms, dictates my personal style. I’m actively pursuing a career in this industry as well.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
This is a tough question lol. I do believe that luck plays a role in everyone’s life (whether good or bad), however, I try not to depend on anything that is out of my control to dictate how I’m going to go about being successful. I would like to attribute most of my success to hard, sacrifice, dedication, timing and being talented. I believe that everything that you work for will come to fruition if you are 2 things: Patient and Consistent 🙂
- Email: JaredJJenkins@gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_jjenks/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jared.jenkins.3158
- Other: https://youtube.com/jarod349
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