Friday, August 21, 2015

Grin And Bear It:How To Be Happy No Matter What Reality Throws Your Way

This next book was actually idealized from a conversation w/ the author's friend, boss and co-star, Jeff Lewis. After a day like any other, Jeff suggested that Jenni write a book about coping. At first, she thought he was picking at her of course. After thinking about it and what life has put her through, he was right. This isn't a book of what she's done, it's more of a guide of what NOT to do: "A How-To In Reverse" by Jennifer (Jenni) Pulos. Don't Give Up! Hang In There. Own your flaws and succeed anyway. From the sane of insanity. From the cast of the HIT Bravo REALITY show, Flipping Out, here is HER side of her story. Here's the story from the woman herself of hilarious, assistant/rapper/mother; Jenni(fer) Michelle Pulos.

For a long time, Jenni's life and attitude centered on what I call comparison:"Whatever you've got sad/wrong in your life that you have; I'll match you." Focusing on the negativity of her life rather than the positive.

Jenni was born in Portland, OR on 1-3-1973. Her sister, Krisann, 12 years her senior was ELATED to have a baby sister. Their father used humor and being funny in stressful situations, something Jenni's inherited. Jenni grew up using humor in the same way. When she was 2, they left the big family security and moved to Scottsdale, AZ. Jenni's father wanted to be his own boss. He was one of the original owners of The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant chains. He was the face of the always packed restaurant. Jenni's dad was a functioning drinker. When he was sober and and kind, Jenni took after him. It was untalked about when he was belligerent. One person by day. Another by night. These outbursts were ignored due to success & being well liked in the community. Jenni's bond w/ her mom over Looney Tunes voices would come alive in the living room. Mimicking and using wacky Warner Bros., her mom taught her the lessons she would use in life. Being a worry wort was an adaption from her mother. Jenni was a dream child until the age of 13, then came the "teenage terror". Jenni was defied as a "juvenile delinquent". Once Jenni got a taste of being social, all she wanted was to do was be with friends. Her mom thought her daughter had too many friends. Too many that Jenni & her mom paid for. She used her friends to escape her father's drinking. Looking back, Jenni was a teenage Bitch.

In 8TH grade, Jenni DEFIED the term "teenage REBEL". In high school, Jenni reversed her energy from a rebel into tennis. She was connecting. Her coach used Jenni's angst as fuel for a better tennis player. Turning negativity into positivity. She would later see that it was a talent you could get/be paid for. Playing competitively and "flipping the switch" on her life. Using her energy to better her game. Due to Greek eating habits, Jenni was fluffy. She used humor to deflect from her weight. Laughter made her feel safe. Everything was OKAY! Jenni was involved w/ school activities from drama club and cheer leading. She was the school mascot which was more fun. Even though she was picked on, being tortured made Jenni feel they cared. In addition to family/friends, Jenni enjoyed being with her older sister, who had just graduated from UCLA.

Jim Carrey
Despite a 12-year age difference, Jenni & Krisann have always been close. Jenni had begun making up stories to get others to acknowledge she was special. She used creativity to help her deal w/ her parent's difficult & painful relationship. Something most of her family hasn't dealt with. Jenni, Krisann & their mom had NO coping skills. There was ALOT of silence. So much of what Jenni heard at home made her feel "not good enough". She built a wall that she disguised w/ humor so no one could see her fragility. Going by a certain creed that lived by. As a way of reaching out, Jenni began performing. Making them laugh gave Jenni the feeling of acceptance. After seeing comedian, Jim Carrey, her mom suggested this as a career for her daughter. Making people laugh.

Jenni had always loved comedy for as long as she can remember dating back to the ICONIC Saturday Night Live w/ the LEGENDARY Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players. An obsession of hers.That is what got Jenni started in doing her own sketch comedy. TV was a regular babysitter and Jenni would try to imitate what she seen on the show. Jenni was a Saturday Night Live FAN w/ Gilda Radner as a favorite. Gilda and her characters were her comedic IDOLS. Working at 30 Rock and making these characters come to LIFE! Following in her sister's footsteps, Jenni went to UCLA majoring in theater, film & television. Her days were all about studying. Her nights were about taking classes at an improv theater group that had an alumni of stars that housed MANY Saturday Night Live LEGENDS. Jenni was in a sorority of Pi Beta Phi which heightened her weight insecurities. Manifesting into bulimia. Binging and puking. Her past gave her bulimia some "control" in her life. Dropping to 98 LBS at only 5'5 1/2. Going home for the holidays got Jenni's family's attention. Deep down, Jenni KNEW of her eating disorder, but she didn't care. In California, Jenni was DETERMINED to make it as a performer. Fitting in to look the part. LITERALLY starving for attention. Being seen for the wrong reasons. NEVER mentioning/discussing her eating disorder until this very book.

What changed EVERYTHING was when Jenni met a boy and fell in love for the first time. Feeling special, loved, attractive & desired. The movie Braveheart managed to change ALL of that. As a way of showing her TRUE school spirit, Jenni set her sights on becoming UCLA's Bruin Bear mascot. All this time, Jenni believed that she was destined for Saturday Night Live! A dream that kept her going that had signs EVERYWHERE. Seeing those around her motivated her more than ever. Jenni was going to find a way to somehow share the stage at the ICONIC NBC Studios. It was in her junior year that Jenni had spent enough time working her way up at the Groundlings and it was finally her chance to be a part of the troupe. To be a part of it, Jenni had to audition. It didn't go over well. She was just seeking validation, which she didn't get. She decided to shift her focus and prove she could do something; dramatic acting. Trying out for Shakespeare. Hoping to show talent and versatility.

Jenni and Chris Elwood
Shakespeare was where Jenni was flawless. Jenni KNEW his work. She TRULY RESPECTS his work. NO ONE expected her to audition for the roles, let alone get them. Once she got the roles, Jenni didn't work as hard as she did in prep. Looking back, it wasn't about the ACTING, more about the validation. But, her teachers at UCLA seen a waitress in training. Placed in the "never-gonna-happen" pile. After graduating, Jenni tried to follow in the steps of those who've been there. If they could do it, so could I. What's worse is running into those who think they pegged you where you are when you're only on a stepping stone towards your dream/goal. It was around that time that Jenni met her first husband, Chris Elwood. They had both been set-up on a blind date by their managers at a time when they were both struggling actors. They partied and obsessed about the tabloids. Celebrity was the name of the game. Chris was spot-on with his Jim Carrey impression. This was a man to bring home to Mother! Working together built into more! Two years into their relationship, Jenny & Chris were ready to get married.

Although coming from divorced parents, Jenni believed in the sanctity of marriage and strong partnerships. Commitment and the sacrament itself are important. At the time when they met, Chris was living with his ex-wife. He sort of proposed to Jenni during a flight they were on from LA to New York. A question sort of "out there and can't be taken out of the air". Not really the best, but it was good enough. Jenni thought she TRULY loved Chris and very much wanted to marry him. They were both flat broke. Jenni purchased her own ring on her own credit card. Her mom was paying for their big fat Greek wedding. After they were engaged, Jenni wrote and produced her first one-woman show; All About Me that ran for a couple of months and sold out. After the show closed, Jenni & Chris were married in Palm Desert near her mom and sister. A honeymoon that presided in Greece. Chris KNEW he married the right girl. After the honeymoon, Chris' career began taking off which made Jenni jealous. She wanted to be the successful one.

Jenni would be working and auditioning for minor roles here and there; not even getting them. Once in a while, a small role came up. A role in the movie The Bachelor paid for Jenni's chest reduction. If not working odd jobs, Jenni spent her time at B-list Hollywood premieres, A way to feel she belonged. Although on the outside looking in, Jenni was GRATEFUL! She was okay being a sidekick for awhile. It became tiring. Jenni wanted to be sexy, stunning, sophisticated & special. She wanted to start at the top. Jenny & Chris would develop scripts involving characters they performed at local comedy clubs. They wrote a love story that could work as either a feature film or a TV series. In 2004, while trying to get people interested in their script, they developed a pilot presentation with a friend who believed in their project - enough to put up his own money for production costs. They began shooting in the fall of 2005. Even though their act got interest from The Farrelly Bros. (Dumb & Dumber and Stuck On You) they couldn't seem to get anything off the ground. In 2006, Reality TV was in its infancy. The interest sparked another idea for the show The Wannabes. Jenni KNEW they were onto something. The plot was based on them trying to make it as actors. For Jenni, it was an opportunity as a rapper too!

Jenni's rapping career was born back at UCLA when she was in a comedy rap group called Juicy. NOTHING was off-limits. In 2002, Jenni entered at the Showtime At The Apollo as a rap duo w/ Todd Lewis. KNOWING the environment, Todd & Jenny went for it. They were the 2ND-to-last group. EVERYONE loved who had performed prior to them. Then, it was their turn. Chris & Todd's girlfriend, Carrie, were in the audience. The minute they stepped onstage. They wanted to be SEEN and they were! What was expected to bomb - they were a SUCCESS! They tied for first place. The crowd went NUTS! After breaking the tie, they lost. They may have lost, but it was an incredible moment. Jenni felt SEEN for the first time in her career. After hearing the negative points from her mom, Jenni heard what would count as support from her mom. She thought The Wannabes might be something her mom could be proud of. Jenni put her mom in the pilot episode.

Jeff Lewis
The original concept for the show was about Chris & Jenni doing odd jobs as they struggled for that big break. (Here is where you would) Enter Jeff Lewis. Jeff was a professional house flipper and real estate developer in Los Angeles. He had hired Chris to be a house assistant long before they came up with a shows concept. One day, Chris had an audition and Jenni filled in to work for him. She was prompt and took detailed notes for anything Jeff wanted. He had immediately offered Jenni a job as his executive assistant. She agreed to the job on the condition that Jeff let her off for auditions. It had been odd jobs around L.A. and Jenni was completely over it. A secure job w/ a steady paycheck proved its importance. Initially, Jeff was to have had a small role. That was a tough sell for him. Finally, Jenni wore him down to a Yes! Literally still begging for him to do it until the first day of shooting. Chris & Jenni celebrated. They were on their way to becoming famous. Jeff was as unfiltered for that video sample as he is TODAY! He was interested in that and was unwilling to go any further. By the time they shopped The Wannabees, "inside" shows like The Comeback were well on their way out. The more people that seen it, the stronger they'd come to love Jeff.

Jeff's "discovery" instantly spun Jenni & Chris' show towards his story and the world of real estate. Bravo soon came calling wanting to meet. The real estate portion for Bravo was already covered w/ Million Dollar Listing. The executives believed in Flipping Out and were willing to go the extra mile for them. Next thing you know came a green light for a 6 episode start. Jenni was bittersweet. She wanted to be taken SERIOUSLY as an actress and wasn't SURE if reality TV was a way to go. After the success they had pursued, if Chris & Jenni took on Flipping Out, they were afraid to be seen just as what was on-screen. For Chris, it was a step-down to what was accomplished before. He didn't want himself or Jenni humiliated on public television. Next came Jenni's situation of Sophie's Choice. Jumping headfirst into unknown territory. Being given an opportunity if Jenni was willing to do the work. For Jenni, looking back, she didn't know it was the beginning of the end of her marriage. Chris was so angry that the networks were gravitating towards Jeff. Jenni struggled to be happy for him at first, but she wanted him to go for it. Chris wanted her to walk away and pursue The Wannabees - but Jenni couldn't do it.

Instead of crumbling in defeat, Jenni did her best to embrace this new opportunity. The people who worked the HARDEST often got the BEST results. That's exactly why the networks LOVED Jeff. He walked the walk/talked the talk while Jenni walked around making people believe who she wasn't. She needed to SEE herself. Flipping Out allotted that opportunity. Once the show was off the ground, the rest is history.

When it comes to the dynamic duo of Jeff & Jenni, they are the yin-to-the-yang. It works! Jenni does have tremendous love for Jeff Lewis. She is forever GRATEFUL to Jeff for the opportunity they have shared on reality TV. It has taught Jenni ALOT! Working with Jeff and reality TV has forced Jenni to be more self-aware. Jeff is NOT scared to LITERALLY say-it-like-you-mean-it. After getting used to him, Jenni found herself appreciating that Jeff cared. Working w/ Jeff has taught Jenni ALOT about PATIENCE & RESILIENCE! You may not like who you work for. but you do have to be respectful. Growing up w/ her mom taught Jenni what she would encounter in her life. Surviving her mom prepared Jenni for her life. As of this book's publication, Flipping Out is in its 7TH season. Jenni's mom is proud of her daughter. She just wished Jenni could be seen more.

Lizard at a kids' party
Way before meeting Jeff, when she first started out as an actress. Jenni took a job at a company called Characters Kids Love, dressing up as kids' favorite characters to entertain at kids' parties. Things may happen, but the show must go on. Working kids parties is NO JOKE! Having to build a thick skin enabled Jenni for her work with Jeff. Then there was a job as Captain Coconut. Jenni had built up quite a repertoire of off center jobs that trained her for what she would need as Jeff's assistant. At first, she thought Jeff's anger was towards her. It wasn't! It was about him! They were NOT the cause of each others misery. After working together for 10 years, it's their work ethic that keeps them together. They GET each other. Jeff has been great training ground for change and survival. If you can survive Jeff, you can survive ANYTHING! What others see as rude & crude w/ Jeff, for Jenni, it's another day at the office. Jenni IS the HR (Human Resources) at Jeff Lewis Design. Even with a small staff, it's a FULL time job. Having to learn ALOT along the way. Learning of HR and it's details at the annual Old Spaghetti Factory meetings for its employees and more. After sharing her experiences and others thinking she was joking, Jenni wasn't. She was DEAD SERIOUS! A small office is less formal than a large company. EVERYTHING is MAGNIFIED! She wrote a letter to the head of HR.

HR letter

Jenni grew up in a home w/ parents who didn't gush over their children's accomplishments. You can't expect more of what someone isn't willing to give. Another aspect is the double standard. A man is respected. A woman is seen as a bitch. Jenni gives SUREFIRE examples of a difficult boss. Sometimes keeping quiet diffuses a situation. Putting out a spark that lights the fire. You're not letting someone win, you're diffusing the situation. In MANY situations, Jenni is quiet on purpose and let the situation run its course. She seen it as being the babysitter who wont sink to a child's level. With a demanding boss, there will be often times they zero in on something to create havoc. Something as small as OCD tendencies. The BEST way to better it is to FOCUS on the POSITIVE. Instead of blowing up, take ANY situation one step at a time. Be effective and DO NOT drop anchor.

One IMPORTANT factor is that things may be friendly, but they're still your boss who has a job to do, just the same as you. Looking back, if Jenni gave it more, she would've gotten it rather than wingin' it. She expected it to be given to her. Jenni spent years running instead of blooming where she was planted. Good things come to those who are patient and wait.

A PERFECT example whas the time when Jeff was chosen to design "Kitchen Of The Year" for House Beautiful. Jeff had to go to New York to design a kitchen to be designed at 30 Rock. SEE the glass as 1/2 FULL instead of EMPTY!

Ratings were so good in a first season, there was automatic pick-up for a second, Jeff & Jenni were booked on Nightline. Jenni was getting the attention she wanted. Not long after the show aired came the circuit to discuss what was seen. Coincidentally, the naked truth about Jenni's marriage was about to be exposed. Although Chris had doubts when the show started, by the 2ND season, he decided to work hard and embrace the experience. Jenni truly believed he was all in. Chris was being promoted to house manager, Jeff hired a 2ND assistant to work under Chris, Things were looking up & going great! Or so Jenni thought.
Zoila Chavez

Jeff had some suspicions aout Chris and his commitment to work. Zoila, Jeff's faithful housekeeper, had taken Jeff's side and privately told him she caught Chris going into Jeff's office when he wasn't there. NOTHING in his job alotted Chris on Jeff's PRIVATE computer. NO ONE was to touch Jeff's PRIVATE computer for ANY reason WHATSOEVER! Something was in the air to cause suspiciousness. Jenni didn't know what. Chris had begun asking to leave work early more than usual. Jeff was becoming suspicious that Chris wasn't going to auditions, During this time, Jenni gave Jeff her WORD that Chris wasn't a liar. When being confronted in their own home, Jenni believed Chris. Zoila is the eyes/ears of EVERYTHING in Jeff's absense. Chris thought she wouldn't say anything to Jeff. He was wrong.

Zoila felt that Chris was neglecting his responsibilities and taking advantage of his position. To confirm Zoila's accusations, Jeff installed a hidden security camera, so he could see for himself. Jeff never said anything. Cameras were used to due to the show, no one noticed a difference. Jeff had collected weeks of film before showing Jenni. He broke the news to her in private. When he took her aside, Jeff could no longer keep what he knew to himself. He did keep Bravo camera crews outside while they privately spoke. Since it hadn't been done before, it made Jenni nervous.

Jeff had explained to Jenni that Chris had been spending hours on Jeff's personal computer for things unrelated to work. To this day, Jeff had spared Jenni of the FULL details. What she does know, Zoila was right. Chris was NOT being TRUTHFULLY HONEST! Jenni refused to accept that Chris would ever betray Jeff in that way, swearing on her life of a misunderstanding. It wasn't! Jeff told her about the hidden camera and of its direction. Jenni fell to the floor in total disbelief. Making Jenni an emotional wreck. Zoila held Jenni as she let it out. Jenni pleaded w/ Jeff NOT to ruin Chris' life. She COULD NOT believe what was happening. Jeff felt EXTREMELY BAD for this ENTIRE situation. There was NO denying the evidence. Out of respect for Jenni, he told her first of Chris' firing beforehand. This was an UNFORGETTABLE DARK MOMENT where REALity comes insanity. Making Jenni doubt herself. The bottom fell out between her feet. Jenni NEVER saw it coming.

Jenni got into her car and drove to the safety of a friend's house. Home was out of the question. She was too hurt, mad & vulnerable. It's when going through an experience but watching it happen to someone else. Making Jenni QUESTION EVERYTHING! When she arrived at her friends, Jenni was definitely on the emotional edge letting it out. KNOWING he'd been caught, Chris tried to call Jenni, but she couldn't talk. She was paralyzed by her fear and hurt. Chris needed to step up and face the music. It took Jenni 2 days to actually face Chris. Her ENTIRE world fell out from under her. She told Chris to temporarily move out so as to not be featured on camera. Even though Jenni KNEW & REMEMBERED her vows, she was relieved when Chris was gone for a few days. She thought it would blow over after a grace period. Not knowing what would come next. In times of stress, Jeff is KNOWN to have "verbal Tourette's". Lightening the mood by saying the most funny inappropriate things possible. Leave it to Jeff. Wanting to laugh, Jenni was going through an emotional turmoil. She never thought to ever be without Chris. It was like a tornado tore her life apart. When reality TV becomes REAL, it's devastating. Making you question EVERYTHING! DOWN TO YOUR INNER CORE!

Chris & Jenni
As time passed, Jenni felt EXTREMELY BETRAYED! Who was Chris Elwood? He wasn't the man Jeff described Jenni to all those years ago. Throughout it ALL, Jenni thought to protect Chris. A few days later, Chris was ready to talk. Jenni wasn't. She needed time. She stayed w/ her family for awhile. A priest that Chris & Jenni knew advised him that EVERYTHING needed to come out. ALL cards lain on the table. Chris held his ground. Jenni wasn't sure if she believed him. What exactly did her future w/ Chris entail? A question Jenni never thought to ask herself. REALity hit when the show aired. Jenni offered to leave the show to save their marriage. Chris told her it wasn't the solution. He committed to doing whatever it takes to make things work. Deep down, Chris having Jenni stay on the show was due to KNOWING he was leaving her for good. Even though she felt betrayed, Jenni wanted to be and work things out with Chris. Deciding that night to stay together and give their marriage a chance.

When Chris came home to what was to a planned date night to begin starting over, he came in the door and blurted out his TRUE feelings on Jenni about her and their marriage. Afterwards, he TRULY thought they could be friends and still work together. Jenni stood in their living room in tears listening to what he had to say. Her spiritual advisor told her that once things were done; they're done. If there was ANY second thoughts, she should read Chris' letter. He didn't want to be obligated to Jenni. She accepted it w/ heartache. Looking at the letter, Jenni KNEW their marriage was OVER! He didn't want to be married to Jenni. Something BIGGER carried Jenni through her pain w/ the hope someone would love her. At first, the end of her marriage was seen as a sign of failure, but she was wrong. You have to get the wrong answers before you get to the right ones. Paving the way to start your dreams have a rocky start. Jenni was afraid to be on her own, but she faced her fear to move on. Jenni was in pain when Chris left. She did NOT want to be alone on any level and was afraid to sleep. Even though that period is now a blur, Jenni was TERRIFIED! In a midst of trying to forget the pain, then come the episodes to air. After seeing the episodes leading to that particular show, Jenni could finally see the truth about her relationship w/ Chris.

When the day had come to watch this infamous episode, Jenni was w/ Jeff and his ex-partner, Ryan Brown. They were at their best showing care & compassion, but it didn't make viewing it any easier. Jenni ran out bawling after the first few minutes. Understandably, it's an episode in which Jenni CAN'T watch TO THIS DAY! Jeff is the one who told Jenni that she needed to face it rather than fill the void. The show OPENED her eyes to finally see what she was blind to for so long.

There was a moment before the unfolding of Jenni's marriage on public television. In 2004, about 4 years into the marriage, Chris came to Jenni and confessed that "he couldn't be married anymore". Jenni's relationship w/ Chris seemed fine. Both of these confessions threw/felt they were coming out of left field. For Chris, it was a build-up of things to come. For Jenni, she wondered why he would pull away if nothing was wrong. After letting a few days go by, Jenni decided to fight as hard as she could to salvage their relationship. She begged Chris to go to counseling. He agreed on the condition it was from someone outside of their church. Through the therapy, it could be summed up as "taping up a glass plate that was broken that can't really be fixed." Anything that could be done would be grasping at straws. For Chris, it was like playing in an already lost game.

Less than a month after he left, Jenni seen Chris walking down the street as she was in her car. When he waved, Jenni pulled over to say hi and asked him if he wanted to talk. He did. He had admitted to making a mistake by leaving her. In that moment, Jenni felt she had dodged a bullet. As time went on, they were back to their existence. Jenni was deaf to any bells of WARNING! It was around this time that Jenni was cast in Jewtopia, sharing a role with an actress already on-board. Once added to the roster, Jenni took over the role full-time while her partner left to do other acting jobs. About a year later, the role was headed to Broadway. Jenni was so excited! She quickly found an apartment that they would utilize during the run. It was the perfect fresh start they needed. Jenni thought this would be her BIG break - NO! A rising star career never coming to pass. When the other actress heard of the show relocations to New York, she took the role and wasn't interested in sharing. Jenni was down, but got back up. After that loss, life went back to normal.

Jenni & Chris were both cast in a movie called Manhattan Minutiae. Chris was the lead and Jenni was his best girl "friend". It was like old times. Only for temporary elation - just a few years. Their reconciliation would only last a few years and the same problems would resurface on national TV. Jenni wasn't "NEW!" The TRUTH HIT her when it was exposed on Flipping Out. After the INFAMOUS Nanny-Cam episode aired, Jenni received LOADS of love, support & hope. These letters, support & encounters w/ unconditional love helped Jenni through a HORRIFIC time. Bravo & NBC had actually sent Jenni to see a therapist before the show aired to UNDERSTAND how others can/could have a reaction from her experience. How can strangers have a reaction from Jenni's life without knowing her? But, in many ways they do. She GETS what Jeff did wasn't cruel. He was OPENING her eyes to the TRUTH. She was happy it was done. Just NOT the method in which it was. For that, Jenni will be FOREVER GRATEFUL!

This too shall pass
During her midst of an almost debilitating depression, Jenni KNEW she didn't deserve to stay humiliated forever. She had to STAY IN THE POSITIVE! It wasn't easy. Even when she wanted to hide away from the world, she couldn't. Jenni still had to work because there were 3 months of filming left. Jenni is GRATEFUL to have to keep walking. Sometimes we need someone to simply BE THERE. For support, care & to be seen. Jenni had her family for her. EXTREME SUPPORT & BEING THERE! Jenni made the choice to go towards the hit. Being there when others wouldn't. BE a willing participant in your life. Take your hits, deal with them & move on. When it came to her breakup w/ Chris, facing her hand in the sabotage was her going toward the hit. Jenni chose to protect Chris, even in their darkest moments. She is giving her perspective.

Go into battle dead already. For Jenni, humiliation was death. Killing down the fear set her free. Give yourself the upper hand before it's taken from you. Make them laugh with you before they laugh at you. Even though it may seem Jenni was humiliated on the show w/ their crazy stunts, she WASN'T. She had control of her jokes. She KNEW the various situations. It was a BIG difference when it pertained to the breakup of her marriage. She had NO control over a no laughing matter. Despite the end of her marriage on tv, Jenni was GRATEFUL. It allowed her to see the REALness in others. To see who people REALLY are. The night Chris told her their marriage was over, Jenni believed everything lived for was gone - or so she thought. Obviously, when you're in it, it's the worst. Coming out of it was is a deeper appreciation for it. Things give you a different view. Jenni's public journey was the best thing to ever happen to her. Jenni's divorce from Chris was a loofah for her life. Being scrubbed raw and managing to survive. Jenni learned that her failures do NOT define her. When one chapter ends, a new one begins.

What's the worst that can happen? I can fail. . . . . I've done that. - Cher

In the darkest of times, you see who IS THERE for you. Watching how everyone responded when Chris left was an uncomfortable beginning. Jenni's ah-ha moment that she OFFICIALLY moved on came when the day arrived she no longer missed Chris. There is great power in thinking through the things you REALLY want. Jenni discovered that she was the real roadblock to stop herself from achieving her dreams. NOTHING truly stopped her -but her. Allowing her faith to carry her and being her a place where embracing over and beginning are the same. Through her breakup w/ Chris, Jenni seen what she didn't want in the future.

Patti Stanger
Jenni didn't let a fair enough time pass after her breakup before wanting to enter the world of dating. Wanting to fill a lonliness void. Of course came the fear of finding someone else at an age. What Jenni TRULY needed was a mental makeover. The first thing to do was the mental adjustment of KNOWING she COULD live alone. Something she'd never done before. First there were parents, then college w/ roommates, then Chris. After Chris came roommates. NEVER to live alone. There is always a time to come. After getting into a new house, Jenni could call it HOME! It didn't take long to see the benefits of being/sleeping alone. To ease herself back into the dating game, Jenni sought advice from Ms. Patti Stanger. Seeing others differently as well as the world once she came out of a post-divorce fog. Taking Patti's advice to an extreme that taught a lesson. A string of bad dates create great comic relief for the future. Beginning to see another side of the coin: Are they out w/ me for me or due to a reality show? Taking quick ques on their intentions or stupidity. Jenni wanted a man to share his life w/ her - not just his resume.

Anyone who KNOWS Jenni will tell you, Patience is NOT her strong suit. When authorities in position speak, Jenni listens. Whatever they said, Jenni took to heart. Adjusting her behavior to benefit others. While there may be those in your life who are there to help/see you succeed, there are those that secretly wish for you to fail. There are those who ask/need the same scheduled routined day. Jeff has major O.C.D. and a need to be in control, even to the tiniest detail. The KEY to survive at Jeff Lewis Design is to abide by his set of rules. Jenni got a sense of what it was like to boss the day Jeff was out sick w/ food poisioning. It was an EYE OPENING experience. Seeing the office in Jeff's shoes. In a single day, Jenni had become a total "boss-hole".

                                                  Jeff scaring someone, Andrew, w/ a spider

Since Jeff can't let mistakes slide by without some sort of response, they make a game out of errors in the office. Jenni's way to cope w/ this particular punishment is to HAVE FUN w/ it. Taking what would be a negative and turning it into a positive.Going towards the hit. To see the smile on Jeff Lewis' face when he has scared someone to the point of heart failure, you know he has an inner child. Things in the office DO become UNprofessional at times. Sometimes being an assistant entails being a sound board. Not to be one to stand there and take it, but to be one your boss can trust and vent to. Don't feed the monster by being/becoming defensive. Address the problem and mitigate the fear. Focus on getting the job done. If all else fails, make them laugh! Break the tension w/ a joke.  Dealing w/ office politics is like the show Big Brother: Suriving to win. When you're out w/ co-workers after, gossip can be both a friend & enemy. Becoming a critic & setting up panic! KEEP YOUR mouth SHUT w/ an eye on the prize! The key to speaking up is to protect your boss & the business. Action speaks louder! w/ appreciation!

Jenni inherited a trait from her mom that excelled a worrying gene. Always one to worry and find the worst in a situation. Henny Penny with the sky always falling. It wasn't until she was working w/ Jeff that Jenni truly discovered the true meaning of hard work and dedication. Jeff doesn't worry it, he does it. She is inspired by him; his drive, passion and ability to GETS SHIT DONE! Jenni seen new perspective when her sister, Krisann, was diagnosed w/ Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Her diagnosis wasn't good. Her illness had a seen effect on their mother, silent but strong.The toll it took on family members. Since she lived in Palm Springs, she stayed w/ Jenni while having her treatments. At first, seeing her pain was hard for Jenni to deal with. She was still wrapped in hers. She focused on being busy to escape her sister's suffering. Despite her illness, Krisann was supportive and cared about Jenni's life. Jenni wasn't the same in return. Jenni watched her sister face her biggest fear: getting cancer. What kept Krisann going was wanting to be there for her children. Coming together as a family meant they could face whatever obstacles came their way.

During Krisann's treatments, Jenni had to go to New York for Bravo's "Summer By Bravo" ads. Over the years, Jenni has become friends w/ BIG HITS at Bravo including Tabatha Coffey. Jenni had mentioned Krisann's hair battle w/ cancer. 2 days later, a wig from Tabatha appeared at her sister's door. Krisann's spirits were TRULY lifted by the incredibly kind gesture. Tabatha KNEW what it was like to lose a family member to cancer; her mom. Jenni wanted to be someone who genuinely cared about others and showed it. A necessary reminder that there's always going to be some kind of challenge, we can do ANYTHING if we set our minds to it. When Jenni put together her Old School Kids Beats CD, it had been a passion of her to do for a long time. Everyone told her NOT to do it. It was a terrible idea. Kathleen & Jenni co-wrote the theme song to Watch What Happens Live! Andy is LOYAL to that song. NO change needed. Jenni is FOREVER GRATEFUL & APPRECIATIVE! Even though others said it was a dis, Jenni KNEW it was a HIT! The same focus & discipline is how Jenni acquired and completed her Secret Outlast deodorant ad. NO PAIN. NO GAIN!

                                                Jenni's Secret Outlast ad

It takes EFFORT to be PRESENT where others are zoning out in the world. When you GIVE it your ALL, you have a better outcome. Because you were PRESENT! GETTING the point made Jenni revert back to her days playing tennis and her skill learned of/from the game. NOTHING is EVER PERFECT. ESPECIALLY the outcome! Appreciate that things HAPPEN! Work through the pain and KEEP running. Television that had been her babysitter as a kid turned into a truth telling therapist. Flipping Out at times has served as a GIANT wake-up call for change.

Andy Kaufman
Jenni does talk about surefire ways to fail. When one door opens, another one opens. She had wanted to be an actress, but instead ended up starring on a reality show about her day job. The more mistakes she's made, the more she realized there was nothing to fear and positivity to gain. All war stories have major battle scars from their failtures. When you fail and get back up, you'll see how far you've come. Jenni has had a long history of creating characters she's used over the years to help her find and express her voice. Her character Gordy, who claimed his sole purpose in life was to get work for his client, Jenni Pulos. In a way, the character was an homage to the ICONIC Andy Kaufman.

A very popular character Jenni created over the years is Deb Krux. A woman she refers to as her cousin and was born in during her rap career. For those of you that remember a short film in theaters before the major motion picture would appear, Jenni thought it would be funny to use Deb as a character who worked the craft services on set. EVERYONE loved her from the start. Deb is strong, formidable and completely unafraid to say what she thinks. She KNOWS HOW TO GET SHIT DONE! She isn't afraid to stand up for herself or to others. She TRULY has NO filter.  THAT is why Jeff, as well as viewers, love her. Jenni is often asked to speak as Deb wherever she goes. In the beginning, Deb was just a character she only played on occaision. These days she has her own Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Deb has been brought to life in such a way that people really do believe she exists outside of imagination. Deb is everything Jenni is NOT! A COMPLETE OPPOSITE! Jenni is nice, polite & warm. Deb is bold, brash & balls to the wall. Jeff is deeply amused by her. When there is thick tension in the air at the office, Deb & the other characters bring together a connection.

Whenever a little ballbusting needs to get done in the office, they call in Deb to get it done. She handles all of the things on one else wants to confront in the office and ALWAYS gets the job done. FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE SEEN THE SHOW; THEN YOU'VE SEEN AND YOU KNOW DEB.

Jenni has a STRONG appreciation for the benefits of taking a wrong turn along the way. When she was a junior in high school, Jenni ran for student body treasurer and was elected by a landslide. As a way to redeem herself, she ran for senior class president against a kid no one really knew. He was a quiet loner. After upping her gimmicks in her speech, confident but she couldn't lose. She lost. She thought there was a mistake and wanted a recount. Out of desperation, she tried to run for class senator. Most great achievements come from meandering paths of misjudgment and false turns. Our past is what shapes our future. In the end, failure leaves you w/ 2 choices: quit or learn & move forward.
For me personally, when I failed to succeed in one area; I managed to succeed and make an impact in another.
When the real estate market crashed in 2008, Jeff could've panicked but he didn't. He put aside his ego, lowered his prices and got fast, without taking as hard a hit as others did. Although he felt the financial hit, he did the right thing based on the market. His liquidation allowed him the opportunity to move into another area of interest - design. In the end, it worked in his favor because he now has a thriving design business that brings him tremendous satisfaction and an outlet for creativity.

The first real job Jenni landed that made her feel she made it was one that never aired. That didn't deter her. She was determined to prove she could make it. She continued her budding rap career in 2005 by joining a group when a UCLA friend had to drop out. The group morphed into another act called Hot N The Buscuit. They got a little attention for their music videos, released a CD, had an album on iTunes and enjoyed the fun while it lasted.

Jenni loved it, but she wasn't growing/going in the direction she thought it would. This made things hard to be taken seriously as an actress. For years, being an actress was something Jenni thought would HAPPEN to her. Her career would be in the hands of others. She believed a career would be handed to her. NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING the work that comes behind it. Finally, she decided to GET SERIOUS and FOCUS on what she WANTED. Spending  2 1/2 months working like a SERIOUS professional, doing the work and being prepared.

In her personal life, failing forward also helped Jenni close a chapter w/ Chris. Several years after they divorced, she ran into him. That was the day she KNEW that chapter of her life was OVER! Jenni realized Chris was just really her buddy and someone she loved performing with. Looking back, they had no relationship. They may have had fun, but when the going got tough, Chris ran. After all this time, Jenni felt things had come full circle that day at the dry cleaner. When she seen him, she felt nothing, which was a good thing. No regrets. No remorse. NOTHING. Learning to fail forward became a journey of embracing the unknown. Throughout it ALL, Jenni could HONESTLY say it was all good.

Out of total desperation and as a way out of a funk, Krisann persuaded a friend to give Jenni's number to a guy named Jonathan (Nassos). He was doing a sports medicine fellowship in Los Angeles. They kept mentioning this nice Greek doctor but seemed hesitant to pass on the number. This was a first time Jenni felt comfortable in her own skin. After a few failed casual meetings, thankfully Krisann stepped in and made it happen. Jonathan called a few days later and asked them out. A typical blind date that turned out awesome. 5 hours later, they found themselves closing the restaurant. Jenni had no idea she would find her soulmate that night. It was effortless, calm yet exciting. She felt peaceful & safe. An official date consisted of attending a Halloween party. Jenni seen this guy was alright. She wanted someone who cared about his family, was responsible, present, kind and one who accepted Jenni for who she was. He was all of that + more. From the moment they met, Jenni & Jonathan complemented each other in a way she never experienced before. Experience made her who is today. They were married on 5-27-2012. It was a dream wedding.

Jenni & Jeff at her wedding
Planning the wedding was extremely stressful. When Jenni married for the first time, her mom & Krisann took the reins and planned it ALL! It felt like she just showed up and ready to walk down the aisle. This time, it was HERS! Outside of planning her own wedding, choosing to do it on Flipping Out added fuel to the fire. While it was nice to share it with the world, it heightened the need to get everything right. There were several moments along the way where she wavered on wanting Bravo to film the wedding. The world seen her fall apart and regain to find happiness again. Jenni & Jonathan both agreed that the wedding was bigger than there and if publicly sharing it w/ others was a means of inspiration, it was the right thing to do. Before she finally agreed to the executives at Bravo and made them promise that Jenni & Jonathan would be protected. NO disfunctional drama. Thankfully Jonathan understood to trust her decisions. Out of the chaotic wedding planning, Deb should have stepped in and cut down the guest list. They decided to have the wedding in Chicago, where Jonathan & most of his family live. Due to re-locating his life & practice, Jonathan was the one to make the ultimate sacrifice and start all over again. Even though he offered to have the wedding in L.A., it didn't feel right. Jenni wanted to throw the biggest, best good-bye wedding for his family/friends to celebrate a new beginning.

Jenni also states that she and her father are in a great place. They now have a relationship they are both happy to share.

When Jenni & Jonathan met, they were only working on Flipping Out. By the time they married, she'd added a new show Interior Therapy With Jeff Lewis. Jenni has NO REGRET. It led to where she is today. These days, there's a clear difference in what it feels like for her & Jeff. She is truly present and engaged in their work together. Jeff can see that Jenni has respected her work w/ him and given it the attention it requires. She is more creative and therefore a better asset to the business. Jenni has true love w/ a man. She was HONEST with Jonathan from the start about wanting to be in Los Angeles for work. Every time she mentioned she wouldn't move to Chicago, he let her know he was clear on that decision and supported it. Jonathan's job training as a physician acquires traits Jenni is NOT known for. Jonathan was THERE for Jenni. He TRULY BELIEVES in her and her dreams. Jonathan moved to Los Angeles in September 2012 w/ the difficult task of rebuilding his life and career from the ground up. His life was now exposed because his wife is in a reality show, still choosing to leave Chicago for them.

Shortly after settling into their married life, they discovered Jenni was pregnant. At the time, they had planned a getaway to Hawaii before filming a second season of Interior Therapy. Sadly, she suffered a miscarriage in Hawaii. Jenni felt very peaceful about it, yet emotional for their loss. At the same time, Jenni was extremely grateful to know she could get pregnant. When they got back to Los Angeles, they decided to try again right away. After going to the doctor for answers, the doctor seen something on the sonogram and suggested a blood test. It was during a filming of Interior Therapy that a client KNEW and sensed she was. After leaving his house that night, she checked her messages from her car. One was from her doctor.

Jenni was in fact PREGNANT. Jonathan & Jenni were speechless. She was easily overwhelmed. With the changes that've gone through, Jonathan was graceful. Jenni's pregnancy was the greatest lesson in embracing the unknown and being at peace with it. There was something & someone in her life that is SO MUCH BIGGER than her now.



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