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Jewish Journal

Jennifer Gimenez Faces Reality

by Ilana Angel

September 13, 2012 | 3:42 pm

Photo courtesy of JennGimenez.com

I met Jennifer Gimenez for lunch this week so I could interview her in anticipation of the premier of Rehab With Dr. Drew, on which she is featured.  I spent about 3 hours with Jennifer and I never took one note, recorded one sentence, or asked one interview question.  I went to speak with a reality TV personality but in the end I hung out with an actress.  It is time for people to see Jennifer Gimenez.  Really, really see her.

I have been a fan of Jennifer for a long time.  I  remember seeing her in magazines as a supermodel years ago.  I thought she was beautiful and in some pictures I think she looks like my mother when she was young.  While I look just like my dad, a pale Englishman, my mother was born in Egypt and raised in Israel by a Turkish mother and a Spanish father. Both my mother and Jennifer are exotic, olive skinned beauties.

Jennifer is willing to talk about anything and everything, with no hesitation. She has been to hell and back and you can see it in her eyes.  She is happy and joyous, with a real sense of gratitude for where she has been, but is also shy and somewhat hesitant to share where she wants to go.  Jennifer, like all of us, needs to remember she is an actress, not just a sober reality star.  Her addiction should not define her.

Additionally, her sobriety should not define her to us.  Many people may not know that long before they saw Jennifer on reality TV, she was a movie star. This is a talented actress who was on a fast track to fame when she got temporarily derailed.  I am huge fan of reality TV, am blessed to make a living talking about it, and I will watch Rehab with Dr. Drew because it’s compelling.  I will also revisit Jennifer’s other work.

You can see Jen in Blow with Johnny Depp, Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, and Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle with Cameron Diaz.  This is a woman who has paid her dues and is ready to pick up where she left off.  You cannot talk to Jennifer and not love her.  She is authentic, sweet, kind, and very funny.  She is a master storyteller, no detail is left out, and humor is found in everything, even stories of her darkest times.

She is ready for fame, success, love, and ultimately peace.  She is proud of all she has accomplished and knows how important her sobriety is to not only her and her family, but to the countless people who feel like they know her and have a real affection for her.  I think she is torn between not wanting to let down those who look to her for strength, and her own desire to recapture who she was, while hanging onto who she has become.

We spoke a lot about VH1's Rehab and it is not for the faint of heart.  It was an exhausting shoot for her physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I honestly don't know how she did it.  She has changed her life in a profound way, yet allows herself to be on the front line of other people's struggles.  I want for Jennifer to give to herself, not just everyone else.  She is an inspiration to many and must be an inspiration to herself also.

Jennifer Gimenez is a star.  She is powerful but gentle, funny but serious, hopeful but nervous, ready but scared.  As fans, we must embrace not only who she has become, but also remember who she was all those year ago when she was a movie star.  I love reality TV but I'd rather see her opposite Johnny Depp on the big screen.  Life is about second chances and it's time for Jennifer to start her second chance as an actress.

I had a wonderful time with Jennifer and feel a little guilty I never got around to the interview because I know her fans were looking forward to an update.  I will just have to force myself to see her again I guess.  Ms. Gimenez is doing fine. She is alive, aware, and fabulous.  Beautiful on the outside, but when you see her from the inside out, you see a woman who reminds us the best life is one that keeps it real.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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