Name: Tennille Jenkins
Claim To Fame: Jenkins was once on the cover of Curl Magazine. She is also the founder of The Tennille Life.
If you’ve stepped into a Vitamin Shoppe or strolled past a magazine stand in the past five years you probably didn’t expect to see a corporate flight attendant with two grown daughters staring back at you. But silver haired beauty Tennille Jenkins turned her passion for personal wellness into an unexpected part-time career as a blogger and model becoming a cover girl in her 40s.
“Wellness is something that I really believe in,” said Jenkins. “That’s all I wanted to portray was positivity and uplift, inspire, get people to connect with themselves and love themselves in that kind of thing. And so the fact that that’s sort of spilled over into modeling, and then now seeing my image doing that, and it’s…I never thought that the two would connect.”
The connection between her image in storefronts and magazines and her lifestyle content has brought joy to women across the world. She often has admirers tell her how much seeing her image celebrated fills them with hope. “I have had dozens and dozens probably now in the hundreds of women come to me from all over the world with messages,” said Jenkins.
“I have to be honest. I’ve kind of detached who I am from the image,” she admitted. “Inevitably when you get on set, you see the other models there and then you get it.”
Her focus is more on the women who will be taking the image in and how it makes them feel.
She feels so connected to them that when she steps in front of a camera she has one thought circulating in her head, “I hope I do a good job.”
Her gleaming smile, and frosted ringlets serve as concrete proof that life can actually get more glamorous after one’s thirty-fifth birthday. “Not only do I have white hair, I have like curly, frizzy, white hair. So, you know, I’m embracing my natural self on so many different levels and that empowers women.”
“There’s stigmas that are so deep and so deep in cultures, there’s women that I’ve talked to that say ‘I’m from XYZ Island and, and here a woman with white hair, you were persecuted,” she continued.
“Your hair color does not define your beauty, only you can do that,” she added. “We’re all headed in the same direction. We’re all getting older.”
Jenkins who thinks carefully before lending her face and image to campaigns recognizes the importance of seeing others achieve before you can imagine yourself doing the same.
“I think the more that people see images like mine and like women that are embracing themselves at their age and totally confident and totally comfortable with it, people can see themselves,” she said.
“Being a model for me is more about being a role model and being a person that people can turn to and say, I can do that too.”
She sees the power of that approach in her own household with her daughters who are also her “best friends.”
“I know that part of them embracing their own beauty and they’re loving themselves is because they have me as their mom,” she said.
“I now know the power of an image. I now know the way that it can change people’s way of thinking and give them the confidence to embrace themselves. And I, I didn’t know that before, I guess, because I wasn’t really doing that type of modeling work,” she said.
“I definitely want to continue changing the conversation with my image in the beauty market. I think there is such a gross lack of representation there, not just for Black women, but for aging women, for women with white hair,” she continued.
She knows that her image being front and center doesn’t just inspire it serves to fulfill corporate mandates.
“I feel like there’s tapping on so many things when, when I’m hired for a job, because they know they’re getting sort of the diversity of a Black woman. They’re getting the diversity of age. They’re getting the diversity of someone who has white hair. There’s someone who has natural hair. There’s a lot that they get in hiring me. And I understand I check a lot of boxes for that, but so do so many other people.”
Every success she has as the face of a brand opens opportunities for other diverse faces “And I know that the more that I push, especially in the beauty world, the war, that that’s going to be something that brands have to include and, and think about hiring,” she noted.
“And I hope hiring within their company too. It’s not just, you know, what you see on an ad or something like that,” she added. She appreciates walking into a business meeting and seeing that the room includes more than one perspective. “It’s definitely comforting,” she said.
“It is something that is important to me, and certainly moving forward and where we’re at right now in the world, it should be important to all, all companies and all brands, especially in this influencer platform in the beauty world.
She approves of influencers and models marrying their audience’s loyalty with new business models to diversify the faces behind the camera.
She hopes to join them soon. “That is definitely a goal of our brand is to one day maybe be able to produce something that our audience will enjoy. And that means any team that I bring on is going to be a representation of my ethics and my values. And so that’s it, that just creates more opportunity for diversity.”
“I got big, big dreams, girl,” she revealed.
“I’m just an everyday woman that’s just over here trying to make stuff happen.”