I am thousands of feet up in the air (literally, as I write this, flying somewhere over Arizona, and also figuratively after the Step Up Inspiration Awards!). I can’t even tell you how amazing this past week was and just how I felt. Kind of like the coolest girl in the world. I arrived in LA on Wednesday night (flew there on a private jet - my first private plane ride EVER! this trip was full of so many fun firsts!) and was taken to the most amazing spots in town by my label owner and his wife (such GOOD people!) and their long time friend, that his kids (and now I) call “Shark.” His last name kinda sounds like Shark… so his name just became what it sounded like! He is the man.
For dinner, my publicist joined us and we all went to a restaurant called The Nice Guy, an Italian spot you have to be on a rolodex to get into... All I have to say is, get on that rolodex! It was a dark, moody, small place that screamed “celeb hot spot.” The food was amazing and was all served family style. They kept it coming — everything from the best vodka sauce pasta I’ve ever had to lobster pizza (sounds weird…but it was delicious), and DOUGHNUTS for dessert. DELICIOUS! After dinner, we went to an old Hollywood cocktail lounge called Delilah’s. The 20’s architecture meets 50’s glam ambiance was perfect. A girl sang from a list of Top 100 pop songs, but with a jazzy feel. It was something else. The drinks were good and the company was great. What more could you want?! After Delilah's we went to a much more “clubby” place called The Peppermint Club, where rap/dance music boomed and the paparazzi awaited their next celebrity sighting. It was very cool, but we didn’t stay long. After our night ended, my publicist and I headed to the Beverly Hills Hilton, where we stayed for the rest of the week. That leads me to the real reason we were in LA to begin with...
We were there to meet the women who run Step Up Women’s Network, an organization that brings awareness to the importance of mentorship with young women and girls in under-resourced schools. Step Up helps to show these girls the limitless possibilities that live inside each of them and gives them the tools to attain those possibilities. I cannot say enough good things about this organization. I met the core team behind Step Up on Thursday afternoon. We went for coffee and spent a good hour-and-a-half to two hours getting to know each other. The fact that they spent that much time with me is something that I didn't expect, but they listened and told me about their stories and their goals and how it all lead them to Step Up. I may or may not be obsessed with these amazing women now. It's amazing how each of their backgrounds has given them the tools needed to be rapidly expanding Step Up's efforts. Jenni Luke, the CEO, is as genius as she is nice, with a lawyers tenacity and a mind that is geared towards expansion (and not just for Step Up, but for the girls it helps and the people they team up with). She said her mind was going a million miles a minute thinking of all the possibilities for me. And I just felt honored to be there with her. Alissa Zito, their VP of Communications, took care of me the whole time and helped make me feel like I was at home amongst strangers. Everyone was so. nice.
The following day, I attended the 14th annual Step Up Inspiration Awards presented by Coach Foundation, where I announced on the red carpet my partnership with Step Up for the release of my first single “Coolest Girl in the World” this summer. To me, this song is about how great songs on the radio make girls feel about themselves. That we are something amazing to somebody. Songs like that are what make me feel like the “Coolest Girl in the World.” For our partnership, we plan on asking women and girls of all ages, demographics, and influence to tell us what makes them feel like “the coolest girl in the world.” Step Up will be reaching out to the girls that are in their program and that have graduated from the program to be a part of the video, as well as women that are in support of Step Up. I got to meet a few of these women at the awards show - they are women who have a huge influence and some have already expressed interest in being a part of the launch video for my single. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that! Also, I couldn’t believe how wonderfully nice, genuine and encouraging each of the women I met were. I felt pretty special to be in the company of so many talented and genuinely sweet souls.
Speaking of special, let me tell you how it feels to be on a red carpet with 30+ paparazzi cameras and reporters yelling my name to get a picture of me looking at their camera… “Jenna over here, Jenna chin down, Jenna look up, smile for us Jenna, Jenna Jenna, Jenna…” haha! It. Was. CRAZY. My legs were shaking and I am sure everyone could see my nerves, but it was my first time on a red carpet and in front of the paparazzi, and they actually wanted to know my name and take my picture. It was a surreal moment! I was shocked and blinded by the flashes, giddily nervous, and having the time of my life all at the same time. If that wasn’t enough, I then interviewed (for the first time ever! I told you - so many fun firsts!) with Entertainment Tonight (with Alison Deyette - my first on camera interview ever! She said yes to interviewing me, not knowing my name or who I was and agreed anyway... and then girl talked by the pool w/ me over a Frose (frozen rose) - forever thankful for her!), Us Weekly, and then live with Daily Mail and Six:02 (OB-SESSED. Love all of their goods!!). I then proceeded to sit at the SAME TABLE during the awards luncheon with a bunch of women I have seen and admired in movies and on TV my entire life… AND THEN I got to sit by the pool with them and girl talk for the next few hours after the most inspiring lunch watching girls who, at one point didn’t believe in themselves, stand on stage and deliver amazing speeches and talk about all of the things that they believe they can accomplish - all because of Step Up. It was magical.
I felt like the coolest girl in the world amongst all of the other coolest girls in the world all day and week long. Just as the women involved with Step Up mentor younger girls and try to pave the way for younger generations to fulfill their potential - I feel like this one week in LA and the couple of days amongst everyone involved with Step Up helped ME to walk away as a more confident woman myself - fully ready to step out, step up, and give back this summer and the rest of this year (and forever, actually!). The love and energy and positivity that each woman on the Step Up red carpet and in that awards ceremony room radiated was inspiring and life changing.
I cannot thank Step Up Enough for partnering with me and cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together in both the short and long term, working with one another to invest in the next generation of women. It’s going to be unreal.