READY, JETT, GO
FROM HIS DAYS AS A NIPPER TO APPEARING ON NATIONAL TV, JETT KENNY ISN’T AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
He’s the model son of Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny – but it’s not the scruffy blonde hair or chiselled physique that gets us. It’s the laid-back, good-natured spirit of the Coast-grown lad that we’re obsessed with. And if we’re honest, he’s not bad to look at either. It’s been a big year for the 23-year-old: appearing on Channel 9’s Ninja Warrior and Seven’s Real Full Monty, training for ironman, mentoring younger kids in the Alex Headland nippers program, getting involved with local charities supporting kids with autism and disabilities, all while doing his regular lifesaver patrols. Phew, need a breather? Yeah, me too. Jett is fast establishing a presence on the Sunshine Coast, becoming a celebrity in his own right, outside of the influence of his superstar athlete parents. But for the multi-talented guy, it all just comes “naturally”. Never having been one for long-term plans or taking life too seriously, Jett says he likes to take things one step at a time, while also jumping at any opportunity presented to him. “When Channel Seven contacted me about the Real Full Monty, I wasn’t nervous for it at all, it was a massive opportunity for me to do something really good and I figured ‘well, why not’,” he says. “So I dove at the opportunity to get on board. They didn’t tell me who was a part of it because they wanted the initial reaction to be a surprise. “It was funny walking into the room and seeing all these people I’d seen on TV before, and I remember thinking, ‘oh, all these guys are famous people’, I felt a bit out of place. “I wasn’t, and I still don’t, consider myself really anybody. So I remember being like, ‘hi guys, you probably know me more as Grant and Lisa’s son’.” The live performance filmed at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney was one of the year’s major highlights for the lifeguard/model. He says while preparing for the show, he and the other guys involved grew a “family-like bond”. The group, including Shane Jacobson, Campbell Brown, Matt Cooper and Brendan “Jonesy” Jones, had nerves of steel in the lead-up to the event but when the night came to “bare all”, their confidence quickly disintegrated and unfortunately for Jett, a technical glitch caused him to reveal a little bit more than expected. The firework that was supposed to go off to help cover up his “John Thomas” malfunctioned, showing his “full monty” to the crowd, where his sister and mother were sitting front row. However, in true laid-back Coast style, what more could Jett do but laugh? “It was quite funny actually,” he says. “I just remember as I was going to throw the hat, seeing it go off and then stop, I thought ‘oh no’, and I think I panicked for a second and covered up, but in the end I just let it all out. “It wasn’t that bad, I think if I had stuffed up the dance or something I would have hated it a lot more.” However, while Jett clearly seems comfortable in his birthday suit, he admits that when posing for the camera his feelings of vulnerability have yet to fade. “The TV stuff is okay because I’m just being me, I don’t have to play a character or anything,” he says. “As for modelling, every time I step in front of a camera I feel a bit nervous and I get a bit clammy because it still doesn’t feel natural to me and I don’t know if it ever will.” Modelling is a job, like most things, that Jett found himself thrown into. As a child it wasn’t something he envisioned for himself but in the moment he threw his hand up and decided to give it a red hot crack. His optimistic, carefree attitude is credited to his active coastal upbringing. As the youngest of three children, Jett, like many grommets, followed the path of his older siblings. His sisters were great swimmers and with an olympic medalist as a mother and a champion ironman as a father, surf lifesaving was an almost expected pathway – one he has never looked back on (well, except for a brief soccer stint). Starting at Mooloolaba then later competing for Noosa and finally ending up at Alexandra Headland, he has spent his entire life in the ocean. And like many swimmers, surfers, rowers, divers or fishermen will tell you, the ocean has a special type of influence on the soul. “Most people love that nice flat and clear day but I still enjoy those days where it’s howling and the bumps are massive and it’s messy and wild. Just being out in the ocean in that is a heap of fun,” he says. “That’s the stuff I remember growing up with.” These days Jett finds his inspiration to train through the younger generations at his club. He hails head coach Jack Hansen’s leadership skills and his ability to positively
affect all the members at Alex. “It feels at home at Alex,” he says. “He points to myself and a few of the older guys in the club as role models for the younger guys and I think that’s a massive thing that inspires me to go training. If I can get some of these younger kids to the highest level they can be, then they’ll get the most out of the sport, whether that’s for competing or just the social side of things.” Jett’s love for the sport gave him a clear path to find his rewarding job as a lifeguard. He can’t exactly put a number on how many lives he has saved but the responsibility of the role is never forgotten. “You just don’t know because if you get someone early when they aren’t struggling that much, who knows where they could have been in a few minutes, and then other times you’ve pulled someone out and they are literally on their last breath. “When you pull someone out of the water and they tell you ‘you saved my life’, it’s a weird feeling. It’s a rewarding and scary thought at the same time to think people’s lives are in your hands.” For now, Jett’s focus is on training hard for the upcoming season, with the first carnival in October and the world titles later in November. This means early mornings, big days and a lot of his most hated training (sorry to say, Lisa) – swim practice.
“IT’S A REWARDING AND SCARY THOUGHT AT THE SAME TIME TO THINK PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE IN YOUR HANDS”