Jen Thompson – The Texas Tomboy

Jen Thompson is a farm girl from Texas, an exceptional athlete, and a self-professed tomboy. She will humbly argue why she doesn’t measure up as a model, yet as the camera trains its gaze on her, something so truthful, so natural and un-pretentious appears that she takes your breath away. The work becomes effortless and magical, perhaps because she has no sense of her sensuality or how captivating she is when she is trying to be nothing more than herself. The hardest thing about photographing Jen Thompson is bringing the photoshoot to an end.  

She Is A Farmgirl

“I grew up in a very small farm town. We didn’t even have a single stoplight or a town center. It was just one main road with our school (that was k to 12 all on one campus), a general store, and a couple of churches. I was a middle child with an older sister and younger brother, and we were all about two years apart. Our time was spent outdoors playing in the woods, riding bikes, working in the massive garden my dad had planted picking and shelling peas, green beans, potatoes, corn, carrots, all the veggies, going to church, and playing sports. I started playing softball when I was five and then went on to play basketball and track and cheerleading. Track and cheerleading ended up being my sports, and they both led me to compete in college, earning scholarships in both. I was a heptathlete in track and eventually dropped cheerleading so I could focus my time training for 100m hurdles, high jump, long jump, javelin, 200m run, shot-put, and the 800m run. I also competed in the pole vault, so I was basically in training, weight lifting, and recovery for 4-5 hours a day. I worked my schedule out, so I completed all my classes by noon, then lunch, then training from 1 pm to 6 pm. Then I had a few odd jobs I’d do after that and on the weekends, waitressing, mowing lawns, and maintenance/ upkeep of track & weight room equipment, picking up trash, etc.”

From Gym To Fitness Star

“After college, I continued weight lifting and running, and people always asked me what I was training for and why I trained so hard, and I was training for anything specific. It was just for me because I wanted to do my best and not just go through the motions. I wanted to get results and get better. Then I had a friend start bringing me fitness magazines telling me that I could be one of those fitness models, and I should compete in bodybuilding. It wasn’t very mainstream then like it is now, so I had to do a lot of research and finally found a real person to talk to about it and get feedback on if I could actually do it. That day I started a ten-week cutting program to get ready to compete on stage! Lol, it was a whirlwind of learning a new way of dieting, training, posing, tanning, and Modeling. The training part was easy for me, the dieting was hard at first, but got easier once I made it my way of life. The stage part terrified me but also gave me a rush of adrenaline, so with practice; I was able to control my nervous shaking. Modeling was super uncomfortable for me at first because it was just way out of my wheelhouse. But that got better with practice too. I ended up getting signed with a major supplement company very early on. After about five or six shows over two years, I ended up winning the Spokesmodel Search in LA and then turned pro in Bikini shortly after. I was blessed and fortunate to have modeling work featured in a few major fitness mags and travel the world, promoting health and fitness and the companies I was sponsored by.” 

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

“Modeling for me, especially in the beginning, was challenging because it’s a vulnerable experience. I had to face fears of being “seen,” looking awkward and working through the learning phase, fears of people looking at the pictures which opens me up to judgment and criticism and opening myself up to my own personal criticisms questioning if I was “good enough” to even do it. Also, in the beginning, I felt like I had to be so much more seductive and play towards that type of audience to get noticed. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done so many things differently! It’s easier Modeling now that I have more self-awareness & self-love, and less fear of rejection and striving for perfectionism.”

Vulnerable And Confident

“To take professional pictures of yourself, you have to be vulnerable and have confidence, and that’s what most coaches and business owners are selling, confidence, and belief. They want you to have the confidence to step out and do what they see you doing, or the confidence and big belief in the products they are promoting.” 

Honoring God

“Competing and Modeling took me down a very self-indulgent and self-seeking path for many years. Competing is super intense and takes so much time & discipline and literally takes over every decision in your life because competing doesn’t revolve around your life, your life revolves around competing. There are meals, training, recovery, Modeling, buying supplements, trying to get signed/sponsored, buying expensive competition suits & modeling wardrobes. You lose friends, and you stop going to any social functions that involve food or drinks because you can’t indulge. And because it is so self-seeking, you end up hurting people that are close to you, and they don’t understand why you have to be so strict, so it’s a hard road to navigate. I also believed it was okay for me to “bare it all” and be super sexy because that was how the industry was. The girls who were successful were doing sexy photoshoots and getting published, so I jumped on that train too. Again, if I could go back, I would do it differently because there is a way to model in the fitness industry and still be honorable to God. At the time, though, sadly, I was more concerned with “making it” than I was with honoring my God.” 

The Tomboy And The Joker

“The shoot with Terry in Vegas was super fun because Terry is a phenomenal photographer and modeling coach! I felt super comfortable, and because of his extensive experience, he knew what looks he wanted to go for, how to shoot to my strengths and coach me on certain poses so I wasn’t just spinning in circles randomly posing while taking a thousand photos and hoping a few would turn out. He is also super witty and has jokes and funny stories, so that makes it way more fun as we are shooting to be cracking up. But it does make the “serious face” hard to nail!”

From Goal To Hobby

“Modeling used to be a much bigger part of my life and goals than it is now. Now it’s more of a fun hobby when I get the whim to shoot or maybe to use as an extra goal to use to slim down for summer or special event, or a skill to use when promoting myself in business/ on social media.” 

Support From Home

“My husband has always been very supportive of me Modeling and has always encouraged me to do what makes me happy, but now we are on the same page of it being more tasteful and more purposeful. Most of my family and friends have been very supportive and proud of me with my fitness and modeling accomplishments, and it has meant so much to me to have their love and support.”

Moving On 

“Currently I am working “behind the scenes” if you will- doing hair, makeup and spray tanning for weddings and events in the Dallas Forth Worth Metroplex area. I learned a lot of these skills in my years in the fitness industry and through Modeling and have also gotten additional training from some of the best artists in Texas who specialize in the Bridal industry. It’s been a very fun and fulfilling change, and I’m excited for the future! But, I’ll always have a huge heart and passion for health and fitness, so it will always be a part of who I am and what I post about and share on my platforms!” 

The Desire Is Still There

“I’d definitely be up for modeling in the future for fun, inspirational, or business purposes, especially now that I have a different perspective.” 

FB: Jennifer Thompson (@JenThompsonFitness)

IG: @jen_thompsonfit

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