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Meet FRÉ Ambassador Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, Two-time Bobsled Olympian

Jude Jacob Kayton April 05, 2020

@jazminefenlator

About Jazmine:  Jazmine was born in Wayne, New Jersey and currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is an American-born bobsledder who competed for Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics and Team Jamaica in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

 

My fitness journey

I started dancing at age 4. The teachers noticed that I was always humming and singing and that nap times were tough, so they told my mum I needed a channel for my energy. She enrolled me in dance. Up until age 14, I was very serious about it. I tried out for Broadway and movies and I competed nationally.

Then, high school happened and I shifted to track and field. In gym class, we had introductory sessions on lots of different sports. When I threw shot put for the first time, I beat my teacher so he asked me to join the track and field team. I ended up breaking the school record and carried on competing in college.

Then, my coach told me about bobsled. I ended up graduating in May 2007 and trying out for the Olympic team in September 2007. A lot of track and field athletes are recruited because of their power and speed. When I tried out, I didn’t know what would happen, but I didn’t want to say “I wish I’d done that.”

You lose nothing trying and if things work out, doors can open to opportunities you never dreamed of.

 

Team USA & Team Jamaica

In 2014, I competed in the USA Olympic Team. It was a dream come true. My Mom saw me on TV. Russia was so beautiful and it was great to be there and see the country, especially since I have some Russian heritage. But I was disappointed with my performance - I came in 10th. I felt I didn't perform at my best. Lolo Jones was my brakeman, and she got very sick – she was on an IV and in quarantine – and that was hard. My Mom was also in and out of hospital. There were variables we just couldn’t account for, so I managed it all as best I could.

Next season, I came back and learned how to heal. I needed to get out of the do or die mentality. I ended up having lots of fun and meeting my husband, a fellow Bobsled athlete! I enjoyed the experience and became 3rd in the world and 6th in the world championship. But I faced a lot of challenges. I wasn’t treated well: there was verbal abuse and discrimination. Overall, it was not a good mental environment. In time that got to me physically and I started to get injuries and chronic discomfort.

At this point my husband asked me “What’s your why?” It was a hard question. I said: I want people who look like me and you and who don’t have representation in TV and sports to know that they have options, that they aren’t categorized by their skin, or by their background. And at that point, I realized I would compete for Jamaica. I knew the team and was friendly with them so when I contacted them they said to me, “Welcome home!!”

The sport was the same, but the way we did it was very different. For starters, the budget was a lot smaller. Some of my teammates had never seen snow before or been under 10 degrees Celsius. There were growing pains. At team USA, I was ranked 3rd in the world, I had some stipends, and health insurance. It wasn’t like this in Team Jamaica, I had to pay my way. My husband and I joined the team together and self-funded for 3 years until we found sponsors. It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was worth it.

 

 My proudest moments

  1. Qualifying for my first Olympics, walking into the opening ceremony. It was amazing to feel the pride of my nation’s colors. I remember waving to the camera saying “Mom we did it!”
  2. Being the first Caribbean woman in the Winter Olympics representing a Caribbean nation. The 4 years of preparation were a culmination of my entire life of struggles - pushing for things people didn’t understand or necessarily agree with.
  3. Competing for Team Jamaica. Representing a minority culture and country and showing people that there are opportunities. Hopefully people saw me and thought: she looks like me, has hair like me, I have the strength to do it too.

 

Coping with Covid 19

We are so used to interaction on a daily basis. Being without it causes cabin fever. So take the time to reach out to people and make sure they are ok. You have your priority list, but in addition to those people, reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in a while. This can fuel some healing conversations.

It’s important to stay positive. Create cool playlists. Set some boundaries and a routine even though you aren’t going out. Have a morning routine that gets you ready for the day. For me it’s using FRÉ in the morning and feeling fresh, doing personal social media, then doing a joint workout with my husband. And get creative! Right now we use canned soda or canned goods to work out with! We even have duffle bags stuffed with shoes because we don’t have much equipment at home.

 

Why I love FRÉ

I love to sweat, but with a winter sport it’s hard to feel a hard sweat going on. Sometimes, we train in high heat in the summer because the body recovers quicker and warm ups are easier, but when October comes the temperature difference can be almost 50 degrees. All this can wreak havoc on your skin. I have inconsistencies in skin tone and with the sun and cold: I get dry patches in winter and super oily patches in humidity. Sweat is the opportunity to heal skin, but, unfortunately, it can also make things worse.

Having a skincare line that lets your skin breathe and sweat and protects you against impurities is super important.

Day to day, I use  PURIFY ME in the morning, followed by  GLOW ME. I love how light and weightless it is. I also use  DETOX ME 2 to 3 times a week when I do my Epsom salt recovery baths. In the evening, I use  PURIFY ME and  REVIVE ME with  I AM LOVE for extra moisture since it’s dry here in Vegas. And just before bed, I put on a layer of  RECOVER ME.

 

Supporting social causes

I am a big supporter of the  Women’s Sports Foundation. They were founded by  Billie Jean King who fought for equality and women’s rights through tennis. All the board members are athletes who fight for equality in their sports. I was a recipient of their WSF Travel and Training Fund back in 2013, which aided me with training and equipment costs that ultimately helped me qualify for the 2014 Olympics.

I’m an ambassador for  Kids Play International. They work to create equality in sports in Africa by developing possibilities for women and girls in sports.

I’m also a supporter of  The Lupus Foundation. My Mom has had lupus my whole life. Her case was so severe that she was told not to have kids. My Mom is now 62 though they told her she wouldn’t get past 50.

 

RAPID FIRE:

  • Favorite exercise? Squats
  • What comes to mind when you think of FRÉ?  Free spirit, women’s empowerment, glowing skin
  • What are you most excited about in life right now?  Family time
  • What’s something you’d still love to learn?  Some languages
  • If you were a hashtag, what would you be?#supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Who do you admire the most?  My Mom
  • What is your mantra?  As long as you stay true to yourself, the result doesn’t matter because you are already winning.
  • What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received in your life?  Always be unapologetic about who you are.
  • What is an issue that you wish we spoke about more often? The equality of minorities and the importance of representation, in work, sports, commercials, brands and more.
  • One skincare tip you swear by: If all else fails just rinse your face with nice warm water and moisturize. Keeping your skin clean and unclogged is the most important thing.

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