READY, JETT, GO

FROM HIS DAYS AS A NIPPER TO AP­PEAR­ING ON NA­TIONAL TV, JETT KENNY ISN’T AFRAID TO TRY SOME­THING NEW

Life & Style Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - WORDS: AN­NIE CAUGHEY

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”

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