Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Jennifer in California

Jenn M., 28:

I was born a Jennifer, but I rarely go by Jennifer anymore. I am
destined to be a Jenn with 2 N's. I have no aversion to the name
Jennifer, and at work many superiors refuse to call me by my nickname.
But anybody who has known me for longer than a day knows I prefer to go
by Jenn. Jenny makes me want to cry. There are 2 people in this world
who are allowed to call me by this abhorrent name; Grandma and my
niece Stacey.

I was born in 1981 in Oceanside, California. Mom didn't name me after
anybody famous, or after someone she once knew. She just liked the
name. My sister and brother have equally popular names (Michelle and
Mark). There were something like 15 Jennifer's in my graduating class,
and 5 other co-workers right now that share the same name. I find
myself turning my head to the sound of Jennifer a lot, and I find it
insanely entertaining when the Jennifer in my row, and the Jennifer
across the room do the same thing. We all smile accordingly,
appreciating the bond we share.

I don't remember disliking my name, just the fact that it is so
normal. I grew up being the oddball, the outcast, the child that
nobody understood. The art freak. The rebel. My name just didn't fit
my personality at all. But as the years went on, I became increasingly
more "normal" and I grew into my name. The fact that I'm a redhead has
been my only saving grace in this world of endless Jennifer's; it
helps keep me original and unique.

My goal of individuality aside, I love being a Jennifer. A Jenn. Never
a Jenny. And I have come to realize a name is just a name. I may have
one of the most common names in the country, but it doesn't make me common.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birthday Blah Blah

I had a birthday last week.  And I wondered:  how many other Jennifers are having a birthday on this very day.  How many Jennifers were born on my birthday?  I tried to log on to Twitter to tweet that one up, but it didn't work and my head started to explode, so I went hiking instead.

I'm curious, though.  Any Jennifers out there have birthdays in July?  Specifically July 9?

And a project update:  I had scheduled a Jennifer Project photo shoot in Seattle for July 18.  I had one person respond to my request, so I decided to cancel the shoot this month.  I need some time to formulate a new plan...

It's been great hearing from Jennifers from around the world, sharing their stories of name frustration, identity challenges, etc.  I am hoping to weave these stories into a play, novel, book, something at some point.

I am committed (to myself anyway) to put together a Jennifer Project photo exhibit.  I have 7 Jennifers' portraits, and would like to have at least 20.  I'm having trouble finding more Jennifers to photograph.

So, do you know anyone?  Are you in the Seattle area?  I'll come to you, sister!  Email me and we'll work it out:

Hope you are all enjoying this lovely summer day!

Jennifer K

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Seattle Jennifer

Jennifer R., 42:

I’ve had many of the same experiences; a bad time with “Jenny” in first grade, nicknames Jeffiner, Conifer, and Refinnej, (spelled backwards,) and in ob-talk, Jobinobifober.  (That’s the one where you insert ‘ob’ in front of any vowel.)  

There were eight Jennifers in my eighth-grade homeroom, and the teacher just called out our full names. 

I love the song about 27 Jennifers – when I’m with my 9 year old son, we sing it at the top of our lungs when it comes on the car radio.  (“You could be the strange delightful one, you could be the sweet unspiteful”)


I was born in 1967.  My parents were going to name me Jonathan Scott, and my mother “just knew” I would be a boy, because to have a boy then a girl was “too perfect, just what I wanted,” she says.  When I arrived, they spent three days deciding what to name me, and Jennifer was close to Jonathan, and they didn’t know anyone by that name.  My mother hated the idea of me being called Jenny, so my father promised never to do so, and in fact, called me ‘Niffer until I married. 


One of the strangest things about my experience with my name is that when I was 9 or 10, my father’s sister decided to change her name.  Her given name was Ruth, and she had always hated it.  While I could understand that at the time, what made me angriest is that she changed her name to Jennifer. Just liked the way it sounded.   As we had the same last name at the time, I was furious!  How dare she take my name, even though she was then Jennifer Ruth and I was Jennifer Lynn.  None of the other Jennifers bothered me as much as that, not before or since.  

Growing up, it didn’t bother me much to share a name with so many other people, much in the same way that I don’t feel like I look like the person who I see in the mirror.  Even though I am very fair, I didn’t relate to the name or feel that it described me.  

I have always been such an (ahem) unusual person that I never worried about being confused with anyone else, although even now I sometimes get emails from friends who were meant for other Jennifers, or once in a while, a cell call from a college friend who confuses me with her friend, Jennifer H., which was the initial of my maiden name.  

Most of the Jennifers I have met have been very strong confident people, secure in themselves, perhaps from cultivating the girl/woman/person inside them to be recognizably different from the others. 


Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Jennifer in Idaho

Jen M., 33:

It was actually my Father who named me Jennifer.  It was partially due to the character in Love Story.  It was also partially due to the Donovan song “Jennifer Juniper” ( which I guess is cute when you're little, but really my least favorite song.

I've been called almost every variation of Jenn, Jen, Jenny, Jeny, Jennifer imaginable, none that I really mind, with the exception of Jenny.  My Father, the same one who PICKED the name, used to call me Jenny, and then tease me with “And you know what a Jenny is don't you?” For those not familiar, a Jenny is also a female mule.  Seriously!  I was crushed.  I always wondered why name me that, and tease me about it.  Did he really think of me as no better than a mule?  It gave me a very serious complex. From that point on I was scarred for life and always HATED being called Jenny.  I have only ever let two people in my entire life call me by that name, and after a bad falling out, that name doesn't seem to have the power that it used to, or make me feel as bad as it used to.  At times I even miss being called Jenny.  It's amazing the power and the weight that a name can have.  

I have lost count of the number of Jennifers that have been a part of my life.  There were at least 4 other Jennifers around growing up.  I have two very dear friends that are both Jennifer's.  One of which I see on an almost weekly basis when we go to a local knitting store to knit and chat and catch up, everyone refers to us as The Jennifers.  Even my mother, but her daughter is the brunette one.  

I wouldn't trade having my name for anything, even if it IS another word for a female mule.  Despite being such a common name, we are all unique, interesting, beautiful, and always entertaining.  But maybe I am a little biased.  :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Jennifer from Idaho

Jennifer G., 34:

I was born Jennifer Estelle in February 1975. Jennifer was not originally my parents' first choice for a name. Well not my mother's, anyway. She wanted to name me Noel Suzanne. Suzanne is her first name and my mom is a Christmas-loving freak (said in the most loving way, of course). Luckily, my dad talked her out of it, and when I was born they said I just looked like a Jennifer (Estelle was my grandmother's middle name). 

This idea of me "just looking like a Jennifer" always struck me as odd because as I grew up I suddenly encountered a lot of Jennifers, and we looked nothing alike. 

In the 4th grade there were 4 of us in my class and we all had to experience what every Jennifer does at some point in their life-the last name letter designation, or shortening of the name to keep us all straight. I was stuck with Jenny, even though I am not sure how this happened. I don't remember any sort of vote or contest. Granted at the time I was nine so I didn't think twice about it. And really, a little blonde girl named Jenny is super-cute. Later however, I loathed this designation and would accept anything else, JUST NOT JENNY. I was even ok with my little brother calling me Jeffiner because he couldn't quite get my name out right. 

Years later, while I was in college, I had a similar situation occur when I decided to enroll in a study abroad program in Italy. This program was run by a school on the opposite coast from where I lived and enrolled students from all over the US. I should be safe, right? The semester I attended, there were around 30 students in attendance, a handful of teachers, and 4 Jennifers. So, once again I was faced with the query "How do we distinguish between them so that they don't all turn and answer at once"? Lucky for me however, I had dyed my hair red before leaving for Italy, so I escaped the last letter designation AND the shortening of the name. Everyone nicknamed me "Red" (the girls I became friends with called me Jen also). 

Again, the Jennifers in my program were from all over the country, from all walks of life, and nowhere near similar in physical features or personalities. The only thing we had in common was we were all artists.

It seems like every 5-10 years has a name that is more prevelant then others, ask any Sarah or David (which is my husband's name and he is unique in every way!). I think it is refreshing that even though our parents felt like we "just looked like a Jennifer", if you were to gather us all in a group we would be an amazing palette of colors, ages and distinct beings looking nothing alike. I am sure, however, we would have much to talk about over a glass of wine!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Jennifer in Massachusetts

Jennifer M., 39:

I was conceived in February 1969 while my mother was a student at Boston University.  I was named after the Donovan song 'Jennifer Juniper'.  

My early childhood was spent roaming around New England and beyond with my young and, er, free spirited parents.  They gave me a lot of breathing room, and actually lost me for an entire day at a folk festival in Louisiana.  

I think I could sing all the songs of Joni Mitchell, John Lennon and Janis Joplin before I could talk.  I actually spoke my first words at age 2 when our van caught on fire and my 22 year old father went in to rescue all of his worldly positions.  The bystanders were concerned about the a) vehicle on fire and b) the man rushing to ENTER it.  My mother just kept pointing to me and shouting 'She's talking! She's talking!"  Milestones matter.  Even to hippies who don't know what day of the week it is.
When I was in first grade my parents got day jobs and moved us into a four bedroom ranch house in the same small Massachusetts town they grew up in.  1969 must have been the Chinese year of the Jennifer, as I soon discovered that there were Jennifers around every corner.  About 10% of the girls in my graduating class shared the name.  The adventures of my early life gave me enough fuel for differentiation, though.  Wise beyond my years, I entered the sales funnel of public education as an ostracized outsider (almost like a jungle boy raised by wolves or bears or something) and came out the other end as cheerleader captain.  Looking back, I think I like jungle boy better.
I dyed my dark blond locks jet black before heading to college while I grasped for a new identity.  I smoked long, skinny cigarettes and spoke French.  I came out of that vortex four years later with long red hair extensions and a pregnant belly. It was time to get a job, and quickly. 
The first day of my first 'real' job I was introduced to the president of the company.  Who promptly began singing a heartfelt rendition of 'Jennifer Juniper'.  Middle-aged child of the 60s in pinstripe suit.  Story of my life.  Everything magically fell into place.
I've worn a lot of hats during the years, but I've always been a Jennifer, never a Jen, Jenn or Jenny.  I never minded when just about everyone in my second grade class shared my name, and don't mind now that it's pretty much a neon sign advertising my age.  It's a badge of honor like, say, Beatrice or Dorothy was a couple of generations back.  

Having the name Jennifer is like an book who's inside cover reads 'I was born into and grew up some of the most turbulent and fascinating times in human history'.  Man's first steps on the moon and the advent of the internet bookmarked my, and many Jennifer's first quarter century (regardless of whether that, and everything that came in between was watched on tv or from the back of a VW bus).  I wouldn't trade the name, or the experience for the world.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Jersey Jennifer

Jenn G.W., 29:

In December of 1970 my mother turned 19 and my oldest brother, Robert, was 8 months old. On one cold, Jersey night that month my mother went to see the movie LOVE STORY starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal.  


As she left the movie theater, through her tears, she vowed she would name her next child after Jennifer Cavelleri-Barrett.  Then in March of 1972… my brother Brian was born and the name “Jennifer” was shelved. 


When my mom got pregnant with me in 1980 she was determined to name me Danielle, even referring to her baby bump as “Danielle” to anyone and everyone.  Then just hours before I was born my soon to be Godmother referred to me as “Dani” and that sent my already suffering mother into a tizzy!  Naming me Jennifer was a last minute decision. 


The first day of 5th grade is when I decided I was going to be “Jenn”.  I was, and still am, pretty adamant about that second N.  I feel like so much of my identity lies there in the 4th letter of my name.  It’s what makes me different from all the Jen’s, Jennifer’s, Jenny’s, and Jennie’s.


When I was a junior in High School I had my first “serious” boyfriend.  We were separated in the summer while I volunteered at a camp in Maine.  I wrote him lots of letters and postcards and couldn’t wait for mail call everyday to see if he’d written me.  Finally, the day arrived when the mail guy tossed an envelope at me.  It was from my boyfriend… but addressed to “Jen”.  I was livid.  Weren’t we in love?!  Didn’t he know me at all?!  As soon as I got home I broke up with him.  There was no way I was dating someone who didn’t know my name!


As I got older I calmed down a bit about the “N”/”NN” thing.  But I was still struggling to find my own identity when surrounded by dozens of people with the same name.  While working at a job with 5 other Jennifer’s I started using my last initials along with my 2 N’s.  That’s when I became Jenn GW. 


I am Jenn GW.  I love Jenn GW.  I love being Jenn GW.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Jennifer in Oregon

Jen F., 34

I was never the only “Jennifer” in a class. One year there were 4 of us, so we couldn’t even work out who would be the “Jen, Jenny or Jennifer” that year… there was still an overlap! I can name off 10 Jennifer’s that I grew up with (just off the top of my head). It was crazy.

We moved to a new house when I was in 3rd grade. The next-door neighbor girl was also named Jennifer. That could be seriously confusing. There were times I would run into the house thinking I had been called in for dinner or homework… when it was the other mom calling the other Jennifer.

I wouldn’t change my name. I like being a “Jen”. It’s fun to meet other people with the same name and the shared experience of growing up with such a popular name. I wasn’t so fond of it when I was little, but it grew on me.

I thought about using my middle name for a while, but it seemed too formal and didn’t fit. I have friends that call me by my last name, and others that call me by my initials… but even though I don’t mind, I wouldn’t choose those for myself. 

My grandfather still calls me “Jenny” but he is the ONLY person allowed to call me that… I’m definitely a “Jen”! Every once in a while I get a last initial tagged on. There are two other Jen’s in my (smallish) town with very similar last names, so I think we are just careful about nicely forwarding each other’s email (yes, that happens a LOT). Also we all have such different personalities that we are easy to tell apart, even though we all have the same name!

 I’m comfortable with Jennifer, and it fits me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Jennifer in Delaware

Jennifer B., 33: 
In truth, I've always hated my name.  I grew up Jennifer May Lane before becoming Jennifer B. after my marriage.  Everyone called me either Jenny or "Penny Lane."  The most-hated of my acquaintences called me Jennie May.  I still remember each of them with ire. 
At a former job, while working in an executive position, I heard a contracted event planner approach our receptionist and announce she had arrived to see Jenny.  I kindly informed her that I preferred Jennifer.  Throughout the next    eight months of our working relationship she sneered when she said my name.
After 33 years with my name, I am still amazed that people find so much difficulty in spelling something as simple and common as "Jennifer." 
"Spelled the normal way?" they'll ask.  I've thought of changing the spelling to Geonuphur.  Is there an abnormal way to spell a name?
My original high school diploma had "Jan Lane" written on it.  A seemingly endless line of teachers wrote "Jenny" despite my objections.  After Forrest Gump, it got worse.  I've always said, "I answer to Jennifer or Jen."  But people will call me what they will.
To me, "Jennifer" became a name I couldn't own.  People would make what they wanted of it and a part of my identity was held capitive.  To me, a name is a thing to hold dear.  It is how we identify ourselves.  We take on attributes of our name.  Words take on association in societies and have meaning deeper than their surface intent and, in my environment, I am often assumed to be boring, common, not unique. 
How very wrong they are!  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Michigander named Jennifer

Jennifer Lynn T , 34 yrs old:

(seems pretty common to see Jennifer Lynns, no??)

I was suppose to be named Sarah, but my mom was fond of the character "Jennifer" in the movie Love Story.  When I was born, one look at me and I looked like a Jennifer.  Not sure what Jennifer babies look like, but I am happy to be among them.

I grew up with a boat load of Jennifers!  I remember in 1st grade having two other Jennifers in my class.  The first day of school my teacher asked each one of us what we would like to be called for the rest of the year (Jennifer, Jenny or Jen).  I told my teacher I would like to be called Jennifer.  Unfortunately, for the entire year I was called Jenny.  From that experience on I have always hated to be called Jenny.   

I do like my name.  Common, yes. But I feel like I am among a sisterhood of Jennifers.  Bonded by name, tradition, and a common time period.  I do not like to be called Jenny because of the incident back in first grade.  Plus the movie Forest Gump cemented the dislike of the name Jenny due to the slow pronunciation (backwards and uneducated connotation).  I’ll take being called a Jenn or Jen any day. 

I would introduce myself as Jennifer, “as in the very common name of the 70s”.  People would laugh, relate and remember.  Another mnemonic device game in college to introduce myself was to say I was “Jolly Jen”.  Again, the laugh, relate and remember technique worked like a charm. 

I am happy my parents named me who I am…it is the impression, fortitude, action and ambition that drives me to make an impact onto others in one shape or form…the first name does not define me.  I consider myself quite lucky to have experienced quite a few things already, but I am always looking forward to the next adventure…as a Jennifer!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Jennifer from Canada

Jennifer/Charlie/Jenn/Jenny/JK/JennieK from Canada writes:

I was also named after Jennifer O'Neill, and usually one of many Jennifers during my tenure in the education system. 

I was a Jenny L till the age of 12, then I named myself Charlie- as to be somehow unique, and different from the other Jenny's. . 

I then altered the spelling to Jennie, as only the kids from 6th grade knew of my Charlie name change. 

My mother remarried, and I became Jennie K. 

At 15, I was growing up, and became a Jenn. 

While in Mexico last year, everyone who asked my name, I would say 'Jennifer' b/c often 'Jenn' gets confused with 'Jan'. Everyone would smile and reply, "Lopeeeeez!" which is now another name among my close friends. A rose by any other name, is still a rose. 

I have grown to like my name, and let go of any resentment towards my mother for being uncreative in the name department. It has made me find out about myself in an interesting fashion, and I am grateful. 

My mom still calls me Jenny.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

About the name...

From Wikipedia:

Jennifer is a female given name; it became a common first name for females in English-speaking countries during the 20th century. The name Jennifer is a Cornish variant of Guinevere,[1] which is a French form of theOld Welsh Gwenhwyfar (gwen: white, fair + hwyfar: smooth, soft).[2] Despite the name's similarity to the Old English words jenefer, genefer and jinifer, which were all variants of Juniper and used to describe the juniper tree,[3] there is no evidence that it was derived from these.[citation needed]

The name has been in use since the 18th century.[1] Before 1906 the name was fairly uncommon, but it became popular after George Bernard Shaw used it for the main female character in The Doctor's Dilemma.[citation needed] It gained even more popularity in the 1970s. Though its popularity is often attributed to the novel and film Love Story,[citation needed] Jennifer was already the number 3 name given to baby girls in the United States in 1969, the year before the book and movie were released. Jennifer was the single most popular name for American girls from 1970 to 1984.[4] It is also popular for Hispanic females. Since the early 1990s it has remained common, but considerably less so. Diminutives include Jen (Jenn), Jenny (Jennie, Jenni), and Jenna.

In contrast, "Guinevere" itself is at present a rather rare first name, considered "old-fashioned" - a fate shared with "Lancelot" and other Arthurian names (except for that of Arthur himself, still very common and popular).

The protagonist in the 1938 novel "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" is very self-conscious about being named "Guinevere", which goes along with her being depicted as an unworldly curate's daughter who wears old-fashioned clothing and is very confused and intimidated by the world of 1930's London.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I was named after...

(image courtesy of

Jennifer O'Neill:  actress, model

Born in 1948 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.  Jennifer O'Neill is an actor, model, writer, speaker, and has a ministry.  Among many other projects, she was well known for her movie:  Summer of '42.  She's a pretty amazing woman.  You can learn more about her on:  
Some information about her ministry:

Working with Biblically-based denominations and organizations, Jennifer O’Neill Ministries' Mission is to help equip and edify those in the body of Christ, while reaching out with God's Gift of Salvation in Jesus' name. As Christ's Ambassadors, we're broadening the impact of our team by offering extended materials, live/simulcast events, unique family TV, film and multi-media projects along with an interactive web in support of our Community of forgiveness, hope and healing. ( Statement.php)

I'd like to interview her for this project.  I'm going to send her an email (via her website...)

Which feels a little freaky, but cool... I'm still looking for Jennifer Jones's contact information.

My naming story:

My mother told me this story many years ago about how I was named.  I'm not sure how accurate it really is, but I like it...

My mother liked the name "Jennifer."  She thought it was beautiful and unique.  She admired Jennifer O'Neill, thought it was a beautiful 

While she was pregnant with me, Bill Cosby came to the radio station where she worked.  She had a radio program, but also was frequently asked to host celebrities when they came into town.  Bill Cosby and my mother had a cup of coffee together and he asked her what she planned to name me.  She had chosen Anthony if it was a boy (my younger brother is named Anthony) and was unsure about names for a girl.  She was deciding between "Emily" and "Jennifer."  Apparently, Bill Cosby said, "name her Jennifer."  And she did...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Jennifer Who Named Other Jennifers

(Image from:


Several of the Jennifers I have found thus far were named after Jennifer Jones, a popular actress in the mid-20th century. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1944, when she was 25.

According to Wikipedia (and we all know how reliable this information is...) Jennifer Jones was born in 1919 as Phylis Flora Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Which means, friends, that she is a stage named Jennifer! Jennifer was not her birthname.


According to the website, Jennifer Jones is now 90 and is still! alive! I really want to get in touch with her. Anyone have ideas on how to do that?

For more information about her:

(Image from Wikipedia)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Jennifer in San Francisco

Jenn W, 35:

I was born in San Francisco,  CA (interesting story here is that the same doctor that delivered me, delivered my Aunt, my Mom, my ex-boyfriend and friend).  

I grew up in the military so it gave me the travel bug early in life...I have lived all over the world.. California, Montana, Germany, Florida and many other places in between. My family now all lives back in California with most living in the bay area.

My mother loved the actress Jennifer Jones and thought the name was pretty, so when I was born, I was named after her. After my older brother, my Mom prayed to St. Rita for a girl (I think he was a terror as a and when she had me, she gave me Rita as a middle name.

Being born in 1973, I think there were A LOT of Jennifer's born that year. I was a Jennifer W. starting in kindergarten (there were 3 Jennifer's in my kindergarten through 4th grade classes)..that is when I became a Jenn. I don't think there was a year in any of my schooling where I wasn't either Jenn or Jennifer W. so I grew up with quite a few.

I do like my name... there were times growing up I wished I had a more unique name, but as I have gotten older, I realized I am meant to be a Jennifer/Jenn. It fits me as a person and I think it's a pretty name.

I think my parents did a good job in naming me. I'm a Jenn. 

A Jenifer, Abroad

I got an email this morning from a Jenifer who is currently living abroad.  I deleted a few details to protect her privacy.  This is a beautiful, poignant, and empowering story.


I read about your project on Craigslist and love it. Having the most common name in the year 1970, I go by Jena. Not Jen or Jenny but Jena. Jena, because I thought my name was too common. My middle name is Annabelle and my name is spelled with just one "N".

My story is that I am a mother, lawyer, lover of the earth, animals and building lasting relationships. I grew up in the small town of Moab, Utah. My life journeys took me to Brussels, Belgium, where I am finishing up a post graduate degree in international law and international relations. I have lived here since September 2008, with my two children and our dog. Brussels has been a challenging, rewarding and wonderful experience.

When I first told people that I am moving to Brussels for the year, the first response for many was "what are you going to do with the children?" Well meaning friends even asked me if I wanted them to keep the children in their home while I went on Europe to fulfill my dreams. What they didn't seem to understand was that giving my children the experience of learning a foreign language, new culture, seeing the art and beauty of Europe was a big part of my dream. I suppose many thought it would be hard for me to manage two children while going to school in a foreign country. Or perhaps they thought that pulling them away from the comfort of their friends and school would be more damaging. Truth be told, going to school and raising children was far easier than running my own law practice in the U.S. I should know, I have done both before.

While I was in law school, my husband was sick and dying from cancer. The monthly visits to the oncologist ensured that I could never step foot in a doctor's office again without feeling extreme anxiety. As my husband died during my second year of law school I was forced to take the remaining year, one day and one commute at a time. After he died, I was looking forward to putting an end to life's tragedies for a few years. Unfortunately, this didn't happen, because my son's father (my kids have different dads) also died a year later. By this time I was just 33 years old with two kids without a dad. I rarely feel sorry for myself, because I know there are millions with far worse stories to tell.

My life is an endless quest for knowledge and understanding. The more educated I become, the more I realize how little I know about life, myself and human suffering. For the first time in years am I grateful for the gifts I have received in life. Once again I truly feel blessed for being American and what it stands for. I can eat and drink, own my own home, live safe and secure, vote, express my religion and opinion open and freely; I can teach my daughter that being a woman is special and not inferior to men.

I no longer fell my name is common, I celebrate it. I'm a white wave, feminine and ferocious.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Images from the Latest Photo Shoot

I photographed and interviewed 5 Jennifers today.  It was awesome!  They were all amazing people, all with interesting stories, perspectives on life, insights.  Below is an image from each Jennifer I met.

Special thanks to N, who gathered props, hung out with me while two Jennifers didn't show up, and was just generally awesome.

I'm planning to schedule another Jennifer Photo Shoot in Seattle in July.  If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please let me know:  I'm also looking for bios from Jennifers from across the country.  Look forward to hearing from you!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

-- Jen

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Jennifer Project on Twitter!

A Jen who recently commented on my blog suggest I go on Twitter to find more Jennifers for the project.  I'm on it!  I have no idea what I'm doing, but you can follow project updates at:  Follow me.  I'll follow you.  Or something like that...

I'm super excited for the photo shoot tomorrow.  I have two young photographers who will be joining me during the course of the day to help, etc.

Look forward to it!

And now I need to start looking for Jennifers for shoot #3.  Sometime in July.  If you know someone who is interested...

And, you can still participate even if you don't live in Seattle.  Here's how:
1.  Send in your photograph:
2.  Answer a few questions (I'll send them to you if you email me)
3.  Send in a bio

I look forward to hearing from you and Tweeting with you!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Photo Shoot #2

Although I haven't posted for a bit, there's been a lot going on in The Jennifer Project world.  I've heard from Jennifers in Oregon and the midwest, and a local Jennifer who has 3 year old twin boys.

And, I've been preparing for the second Jennifer Project photo shoot.  It will be held on June 14.  I will meet and photograph 9 Jennifers that day.  There are two other people who may come that day as well.

It is my hope that I have a Jennifer Project photo shoot once a month.  It depends on who I find / how many Jennifers contact me.

I've been using Craig's List and put ads in local online newspapers / blogs.  Wondering what the next step might be in finding other Jennifers?  It might be a word of mouth sort of thing...

I'd love suggestions...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Jennifers...

Jen O:

I'm 41. I'm gay and currently single. I was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota and raised outside a little Minnesota farming town of 302 crazy, loving, hard-working folks who were either off the boat from Scandinavia or the direct descendants of someone who was. I had 10 people in my graduating class. Eight of us went to college.

I was named for the actress Jennifer Jones and because my parents really wanted to call me J.D. (DeAnn is my middle name.) Apparently J.D. was some guy in the old westerns. But they never did call me J.D. Instead, I was - and still am by my father - called Barney (of Flintstones' fame).

I didn't grow up with too many Jens. I had a great aunt named Jenny Olson (old Norwegian spinster - I wonder if she was cut from the same gay cloth that I am) and knew of a couple other Jens from the neighboring towns.

Of course, now I am surrounded by women with my name. At work, there are so many Jens that we have our own alias so that we can redirect email to the appropriate one ("Hey Jen - is this for you?). 

Until I read about the Jennifer Project, I never thought of us as a sisterhood. But now I do. Human beings love to build community any way they can - and I think this is as good as any. And come on, we are way, way cooler than say, all those Marys and Stacys and Lauries and Karens.

Jennifer T:

I think it will be fun to see what variety of ladies we are who happen to share a name. I think it must have been a particularly popular name from about 1960-65, I've always had lots of similarly aged Jennifers in my life but known relatively few outside my age group.

As a Jennifer, I am 46 years old (young?,) live on a gorgeous 5-acre piece of land north of Seattle, about half-way to the Candian border, married my best friend 23 years ago and am still deeply and happily in love with him, got my bachelor's degree in education then stayed home to school and raise our 2 children (that son is now 23 and our daughter is nearly 21,) worked a ton of part-time jobs during those years including about 10 years of substitute teaching, and now that the kids are successfully launched have decided to return to school for a registered nurse degree. 

I plan on starting a whole new career by the time I turn 50. I love to sing and have been a member of a choir that specialized in Gregorian chant and Rennaissance sacred music and more recently in one that performs music from Eastern Europe. When I have leisure time I garden, cross-stitch, or read. 

Communities of friendships are highly important to me and I'd rather hang out with girlfriends than almost anything else. 

When I was little I went by Jennie, decided as a teen I'd rather always be known as fullly "Jennifer" and recently slipped into more and more times when Jen is used more frequently. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Jennifer Project Photo Shoot #2

The second Jennifer Project photo shoot will be held on Sunday, June 14 in Seattle.  I still have a few slots available.  If you are a Jennifer or know of a Jennifer who might be interested in participating in the project, please let me know:

Want to participate but don't live in Seattle?  Never fear!  Email me and I'll send you a Jennifer Project nametag.  If you send me your photo (with the nametag), and a short bio, I'll post it on my blog and I may include it in the upcoming exhibit.

Hope you have enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday!

-- Jennifer K.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another Jennifer List

Some more things named Jennifer:

1.  The Jennifers:  Band.  No one currently in the band named Jennifer, but one of the founding members was named Jen.  I find the wallpaper on their website intensely creepy.  But that's just me.  And I like purple.  A lot.

2.  Jennifer Bridal:  Bridal Salon.  Owned by a Jennifer in Delaware.  There's even a "Jennifer's Thoughts" page on her website.

3.  Jennifer's Journey:  All Women Travel Site.  The site and company is named after a woman named Jennifer who died of cancer.  Her sister is running the company in honor of Jennifer.  Cool.

4.  Jennifer Baybrook.  World Yo-Yo champion.  There is a history of yo-yos, demonstrations, etc.  and Jennifer has a new DVD coming out.  I want it.

5.  Jennifer's Body:  Horror / "Dark Comedy" Movie.  Coming out in September 2009, apparently.  Jennifer, a cheerleader of course, becomes possessed and starts killing people.  Doesn't that happen to Carrie?

6.  Jennifer's Patriotic Dog Jacket:  There is crochet involved.  Need I say more?

7.  Aunt Jennifer's Tigers:  A poem by Adrienne Rich.  

There will be more...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Jennifer from Maine

Today I was delighted to get an email from a Jennifer from Maine.  Part of her email reads:

I'm a pre-boom Jennifer, born in 1959, named after my mom's college roommate because she liked the name. My dad would have named me Debbie.  I was Jenny until leaving for college, strictly Jennifer after that and now seem to be drifting into jen.  I grew up as a solo Jennifer but in the late 80s I started having more experiences where I would be one of several Jennifers at an event. When I went to graduate school in 1988, I taught freshman (so they would have been born around 1970) and there were four Jennifers in my Design 1 class.  I thought then about changing my name to Lee (my middle name) and considered it again recently when I changed my last name from my married name back to my birth name but so far I've stayed Jennifer--

I have heard the Love Story explanation and although I distinctly remember reading Love Story stealthily in algebra in high school.  I didn't remember that being the main characters name until I heard the myth.

I'm planning to send her a nametag...


Sunday, May 17, 2009

First Photo Shoot...

I had my first Jennifer Project photo shoot.  Out of the 14 people I had originally scheduled to have their photos taken today, only 2 showed up.  It's about what I figured... Most of the Jennifers called or emailed to let me know they couldn't make it.  I'll find another time to meet with them.

Both of the Jennifers I met today were spectacular.  They were outgoing, fun, interesting, beautiful, and both were singers.

Each had different perspectives on their name.  One said that as she's gotten older, she's begun to embrace it, and likes who she is and the name itself.  The other talked about how the name Jennifer actually encourages people who hold the name to be more independent, to strive to stand out from the crowd.

It was amazing.  I am totally excited about this project, and to meet more people named Jennifer.

Thought I'd post two images of the women I photographed today.  More to come...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Shoot is On!

14 Jennifers.  6 hours.  

The first round of The Jennifer Project is on!  I got the insurance mess cleaned up today, so I've been cleared to host the first Jennifer Project shoot at my school.  

Which will happen this Sunday!

I heard from two new Jennifers today and got an email from an old Jennifer pal who lives in the midwest.  Keep 'em coming.  I'd like to get as many Jennifers to participate in this project as I can. 

If you are a Jennifer or know someone who is a Jennifer, please email me:

So much fun...

Monday, May 11, 2009

On insurance challenges, schedules, and knife wielding freaks

The first Jennifer Project photo shoot is this Sunday.  I'm super excited to meet a passel of Jennifers, take some photos, and learn more about these women (and children).  

The schedule is finished.  I have 14 Jennifers scheduled, in 30 minute blocks, starting at 10 a.m.  

The problem is... my location...

I work at a school.  It's an awesome school.  It's beautiful and old and a fabulous place to take photos.  I've gotten permission to use the building for this photo shoot, but... there's an insurance problem.  Who's liable for an accident / fiasco / broken window during the photo shoot?  Me.  And the school requires me to have liability insurance in order to shoot there.

I've made a call to my insurance company and I'm waiting... waiting... waiting... for a response.  Apparently, homeowners / renters insurance sometimes covers such a thing.  

So I have a schedule, I have a location, but I don't have the final "yes" in order to proceed.  It's making me nervous.  I like to plan things.

The other thing I've been thinking about... and I know it's wildly paranoid... is .... what happens if one of the Jennifers is a knife wielding FREAK.  OR, even worse, some freaky dude who has masqueraded as a Jennifer and is also a knife wielding FREAK.

That would just... generally suck.

But I have a plan in place.

All we need is to get the insurance stuff sorted and then we'll have a venue...

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Project Update...

I'm still planning to have my first photo shoot on May 17.  For those of you who have emailed me and are interested in participating, I'll be emailing you to set up a time for the shoot this weekend or early next week.  

I've been a bit delayed because of some health issues and I've been having trouble securing a venue for the shoot.  

Thanks for your patience... more information to come...

And!  I'm still looking for Jennifers.  You need not live in the Seattle area... if you or anyone you know is interested in participating, please contact me:

Hope all is well with you!

Other Jennifer Projects...

Last night, during a fit of insomnia I found myself in front of the computer at 3 a.m.  So, I thought I would check the site meter on "The Jennifer Project" blog.   I was too lazy to type in my blog address, so I googled "The Jennifer Project." 


I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that there were a zillion "The Jennifer Project" links (it's not that unique a name, let's face it folks), but I was... Not only was my blog the... um... 9 billionth listing in the search, but I learned:

1.  There is a band named The Jennifer Project.  No one in the band is named Jennifer.  I feel like there are enough of us with the name so people who don't have it should not be allowed to claim it.  I'm so sure.  I liked a few of their songs, though... 

2.  The Jennifer Project is a book by Clyde W. Burleson about a highly? effective? acquisition of intelligence (with the code name:  Jennifer) following the sinking of a Soviet submarine in the early 1970s.  This book was also made into a Discovery Channel show.

3.  The Jennifer Project is a qualitative research initiative undertaken by Gay and Gender Research.  They describe their Jennifer Project:   "In a world of strict gender roles and blatant heterosexism, one would wonder how an anatomical female who self-identifies as a, "bisexual multi-gendered person" could survive and thrive.  This project is a qualitative exploration into the life of such a person, who will be referred to as "Jennifer." 

4.  You should check out this The Jennifer Project blog entry from Ms. Prolix.


5.  Another Jennifer searching for Jennifers:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Moving Forward...

At this point, I have about 15 Jennifers interested in having their photographs taken for The Jennifer Project.  I'd like to have about 40, ideally... so I can have a variety of looks and ages represented in the project.  So, I'm still looking for more people / places / things named Jennifer.  If you know anyone, please have them contact me:

I've almost secured the venue for the first Jennifer photo shoot.  I'm waiting to get a confirmation, but it looks like I might be able to use the theatre at my school which would give me some lighting to play with, and is a fairly convenient location for most of the Jennifers.

Now, I need to start making a schedule.

I got an email from another Jennifer yesterday who now lives in San Diego.  She said she would like to participate in the project.  I'll send her a nametag and have her take her own photos...

She says:
I've been a Jennifer since the 22nd day of November, 1975. When I was a little girl, I was a Jenny. Actually, my full nickname was Jenny Penny. There were always at least 3 other Jennifer's in my class and I was not from a large town. Around age 8 or 9, I decided  not to be a Jenny anymore because [] just sounded too childish. Then I was a Jennifer again. Until college. In college, I was a Jenn (with 2 n's). Jenn was then shortened to J Mack [part of her last name] - because there were too many Jen's, Jenn's, Jenny's, and Jennifer's at my very large state university to identify me just by my first name. After law school, I chose to be a Jennifer again. Now, I don't mind being called Jenny and even think it's sweet. My son is named Nash. No way in hell he was  going to be named Jack (the male Jennifer...).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Toddler!

Most of the Jennifers I have been in contact with since beginning The Jennifer Project have been in their late 20s or 30s.  The urban rumor claims the movie Love Story starring Jennifer O'Neill sparked a wave of interest in the name.  Because hundreds of thousands of people were named Jennifer in the 1970s and 1980s, as these Jennifers and their contemporaries are having children, parents everywhere are avoiding the name.  Which makes the name "Jennifer" a rather unique name for a toddler.  

I heard from one (via her mother) yesterday.  Here is an excerpt from the email:

My name's not Jennifer, but my little 18 month old's is. Before she was born, we heard lots of comments when we told people the name we had picked - "oh, isn't THAT an original name (sarcastic tone lost in this email)".  The funniest thing is that Jennifer is a very original name for a little 1.5 year old girl these days! While many of her friends are named McKenna, Emma, Madelyn, Riley, Zoe etc, but she's just Jenny. Her name fits her very well because she's cute, smart, and has a really funny sense of humor.  She was named after our beloved Aunt Jenny who died much too young (age 43) one year before our Jenny was born. 


I can't wait to meet her.

As I'm putting together the project, I'm hoping I can find a broad age range of people named Jennifer -- children, adults, elders.  I think it's important to advertise the "Calls for Jennifer" somewhere other than Craig's List... 

Any suggestions on how to find more Jennifers?

My first photo shoot will be held on May 17.  I have about 15 people interested in participating so far.  Awesome!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

7 more Jennifers...

Holy crap!  There are Jennifers everywhere!  

In the past 24 hours, I've been contacted by 7 different Jennifers, all living in / around Seattle.  I'm so surprised (but am I, really?) to hear from so many people so soon after starting the blog and posting a "Call for Jennifers" on Craig's List. 

There are a lot of us prowling around the planet.  Official proof (link provided by my pal, Anna) of the number of people named Jennifer in the 1970s from the Social Security Administration:  

Amazing.  And my parents thought they were unique...

I've been really intrigued to hear about the lives of some of the Jennifers who have contacted me.  I'm looking forward to setting up appointments to meet them and take their photographs for the exhibit.  I'm still looking for more!  If you are a Jennifer or know a Jennifer, please contact me:  You need not live in the Seattle area to participate.

Here are a few excerpts from some of the Jennifer emails I've received recently:

Jen P, 35:
Always had at least three Jennifers in my classes. I tell everyone that all MY daughters will be cursed with interesting, beautiful names. But the chain isn't completely broken. My first husband insisted that our daughter have Jennifer as a middle name. I often wonder if she is the only one with Jennifer as amiddle name. :)  My kids names are: Alia Jennifer, Violet Ember, Aria Rose

Jenn I, 30-something:
I'm a 30-something yo Licensed Midwife.  My best friend from high school is also Jennifer.  She was Jen with one N and I was Jenn with 2 Ns.  When I lived in the Philippines and worked at a charity birth center there, I took on the nickname JennJo (my middle name is Jo) because of the other Jennifers coming through.  I have never liked being called Jenny because my mom's name is Genevieve and everyone has always called her Genny.  

Jen, 37:
Hi!  I'm another Jennifer, although I'm a "n".  My mom was being original...HA!  So, it wasn't bad enough to be one of several Jennifers in every single class I was ever in, but I was the one who couldn't find my name spelled correctly on all the cool pencils, letterheads, name it.  When I was in beauty school (a small, privately owned school), there were four of us on the floor at one time so we all had to have "nicknames". 

Jen R:
I'm intelligent, sexy, sensual and full of life. I'm an open minded person, adventure and creativity are my best friends. I've learned that life isn't about the destination, but the journey along the way. Life is about how we live each day and living each day as though it was our last and without regret. I enjoy being around intelligent, fun, and positive thinking people. I am a genuine, sincere, and trustworthy person.  Always up for an adventure at the drop of a hat, love to travel. I have a great sense of humor and love to have a good time.