Interviews / August 16, 2012

Jenny Jones

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Before beginning her own TV talk show, The Jenny Jones Show, she was the first female comedian to win Star Search, and performer for Sammy Davis Jr. and Smokey Robinson, and a backup singer for Wayne Newton. She is also a Polish-speaking drummer.

Jenny is the author of Look Good Feel Great Cookbook (Wiley, 2006) and she donated 100% of the proceeds to City of Hope for breast cancer research and education. A longtime advocate for women’s health, Jones has served as honorary chairperson for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Chicago Race for the Cure, an annual event that raises awareness and money for breast cancer research.

Most recently, Jones established “Jenny’s Heroes,” a program where Jenny has committed millions of dollars of her own money to be given to individuals who use it to improve their communities.

Diet Detective: Tell us how you got to where you are now.

Jenny: By believing there is nothing I cannot do, by never accepting failure as an option, and by never using the work “try.”

Diet Detective: Define and discuss failure.

Jenny: I’ve always believed that failure is something we program in our minds. By saying you will try to accomplish something, means you might succeed or you might fail. By deciding to just do it, you are programmed to succeed.

Diet Detective: What’s the next major item on your “to-do” list?

Jenny: Short term, I plan to bake some cookies tonight. Long term, I plan to write another cookbook.

Diet Detective: Define individual responsibility and how you react to adverse situations?

Jenny: To me, individual responsibility is simply the ability to be totally honest. I continue to be disappointed in the number of people who can’t say, “I made a mistake.” They blame everyone and everything when it’s actually freeing to just say, “I messed up, but I will fix it.”

Diet Detective: Was there a defining moment in your life when you made a decision that changed the course of the rest of your life forever?

Jenny: As a struggling comedian I was having a tough time getting booked so I decided to overhaul my act. In doing so I realized most of my good material was geared for women, so I decided to try doing comedy for women only. That idea was so unique and successful it led to a wave of publicity and ultimately, an offer for my own talk show. That’s when the course of my life changed.

Diet Detective: What’s the most bodacious chance you’ve ever taken?

Jenny: I decided to be a drummer with no lessons and no experience. In only three months I was working professionally. I was seventeen at the time.

Diet Detective: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself?

Jenny: I’ve learned that I really can do anything I set my mind to.

Diet Detective: What keeps you going (your motivation)?

Jenny: I am my own motivator and continue to challenge myself.

Diet Detective: What dessert do you dream about?

Jenny: Profiteroles.

Diet Detective: If there were one healthy food item (something you love) that you had to eat every day, what would it be?

Jenny: Salad.

Diet Detective: What’s the best book about health that you’ve read?

Jenny: Nutrition Almanac.

Diet Detective: What are your two favorite health magazines?

Jenny: Cooking Light.

Diet Detective: What physical activity do you do to keep yourself in shape?

Jenny: I walk.

Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain? What food did it replace? Was that an important food in your diet, since you ate it so often?

Jenny: I love caramel corn, but if I ate as much as I wanted to, I would surely tip the scale. So I make my own. The recipe is in my cookbook and my version actually has health benefits because I include heart healthy walnuts and almonds. *Note to self: Just because it’s lower in fat and calories doesn’t mean you can eat it all in one sitting!

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