My story begins with my first marriage at the young age of 19, and at 21 when I had my son. At the time, my husband was very verbally abusive and couldn’t hold a job. I quickly became the main source of income for my family, and began working at the clinic that I now own. I worked seven days a week and cleaned houses on the side, bringing my son along everywhere that I went.
When I finally knew in my heart that I had the means to take care of us on my own, I left my husband. For years, I worked my butt off supporting my son as a single mom, putting him through private school.
On top of this, the woman who owned the clinic saw my hard work and dedication and decided to give me the clinic to own and run myself. At that moment, at age 24, I purchased a million dollar company.
I was a single mom, who figured out a way to come up with a deposit for getting an SBA loan and buying the building. It was a big moment.
But all good things seem to come to an end.
4 years later, I married my second husband. I found myself again in a relationship because, at that time, he was a great father to my son, and that was what I thought I needed at that time. It wasn’t about me, it was about my son, and I again found myself in a verbally abusive relationship. I was married to this man for 10 years, but lived completely separate from him.
On top of this, 2008 hit with the economy and I owed about $650,000 on my property and it was only worth $230,000. I found myself, only four or five years after receiving ownership of this business having to declare bankruptcy and having to walk away from everything that I built. And, then rebuild all over again.
So, at a young age I learned what to do and not to do when it came to businesses. I had nobody to help me do anything; I had to do everything on my own.
It was also during this time that I realized I wasn’t happy in life, or in my marriage. So I turned to bodybuilding as my outsource, and I went pro. That was my excuse to not have to come home everyday - I was training at the gym, and spending time with my son.
When my son was 16, I decided to get a divorce. I was at the pro level and at that point, I got accepted to the Arnold Australia.
Go figure - at one of the most difficult parts of my life, I got accepted to Australia’s biggest health and fitness expos while getting a divorce.
My husband began spreading rumors; he said that I was on steroids and that I couldn’t think straight.
This had such a profound effect on those around me that they all left - my friends, parents, and even my son.
So I’m sitting, getting ready for the Arnold Australia; my son left to live with his father and, three weeks before my show, I came down with shingles.
I thought to myself: I have nothing else to live for. And I knew I had to push through it and compete. And that’s exactly what I did.
I downsized my business, claimed bankruptcy again, and traveled to Australia to live out my dream. I competed, with shingles, and I placed ninth.
But the reason I tell this story as “my story,” is because you have to trust yourself inside. You’re going to make life choices that aren’t right, based on everybody else, rather than listening to yourself.
And when I hit rock bottom, three weeks before the Arnold Australia, I realized I had to stand up and listen to myself. I wasn’t happy in my marriage, or in my life at that point.
And it was that push that really helped me heal again. Upon competing in Australia, I met someone, with whom I am deeply in love with now. It was the best time of my life. And we traveled the world for a whole year.
He lets me be who I want to be, lets me be myself, and doesn’t hold me back from my dreams.
It was that moment that I realized, “this is who Jenn is, this is what Jenn has wanted to do in life.” And when I came back to my realization of what makes me happy in life, all of these amazing things started happening.
My son came back into my life.
My business flourished and grew.
I launched my skincare line.
And the pieces began to fall into place.
Through this whole mess of experiences, I have come to learn valuable lessons and truths that I spread to those whom I help everyday. I have been at the bottom and I have been at the top. But none of it matters unless you know who you are inside, and what you deserve for yourself.