Terrence Jenkins, aka Terrence J, was born in Queens, New York on April 21, 1982, but raised in Raleigh and Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism at North Carolina A&T University where he also worked as a DJ and was served as Student Body President.
In 2006, Terrence launched his television career as host of BET’s “106 & Park.” That same year, he made his movie debut alongside Zoe Saldana and Wood Harris in The Heart Specialist . He parlayed that success into roles in Stomp the Yard 2, Think Like a Man and Sparkle, to name a few. And just last year, he played himself in the big screen version of Entourage.
Terrence has blossomed into a charismatic actor, philanthropist and author who is now one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, most recently, as the co-anchor of the news program “E! News.” The three-time Emmy Award-nominee also spent seven years hosting BET’s “106 & Park,” the longest-running music countdown show in television history.
Here, he talks about his latest outing opposite Cassie Ventura in The Perfect Match, a romantic comedy revolving around a shameless player who takes a dare to remain faithful to one woman for an entire month.
Kam Williams: Hey Terrence, thanks for the time.
Terrence J: Thank you so much, Kam.
KW: What interested you in the script for The Perfect Match?
TJ: I don’t think it was called The Perfect Match at the time, but it had some really amazing characters. And I’d been working with Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit [her production company] for quite some time. When we were able to develop it into a great story with dynamic characters, it became a no-brainer and a project I really wanted to be a part of.
KW: Who put together such a talented cast with people like like Paula Patton, Lauren London, Cassie Ventura, Kali Hawk, Brandy Norwood and Donald Faison? And even that scene stealer Beau Casper Smart was terrific in a minor role.
TJ: Yeah, Casper was great! It was definitely a collaborative effort. Billie [director Billie Woodruff] made some decisions. Queen Latifah’s team made some decisions. I had my hand in it, and we had great casting directors [Kimberly Hardin and Natasha Ward]. We all came together.
KW: How did you prepare to play Charlie?
TJ: I really wanted to nail this character, so I worked with an acting coach. I was heavily inspired by Eddie Murphy in Boomerang and a lot of my favorite movies growing up. Charlie’s a multi-layered character, and I devoted a lot of time to working on him so that I felt like I knew him by the time we shot.
KW: Although this movie is unique in its own right, it did remind me of a couple films, Love Jones and The Best Man. I’d rank it right up there with those urban classics.
TJ: Thank you so much!
KW: What message do you think people will take away from The Perfect Match?
TJ: This is a coming-of-age story about growing up. A lot of times, guys think we can get away with things. In the case of Charlie, he meets his match, a girl who really helps him mature and to look at relationships, his career and other aspects of his life in a new way. That’s what I hope people take away from the film.
KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
TJ: Not really one in particular. I love any script that tells a good story.
KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?
TJ: They couldn’t be more different from each other. I’ve really learned to compartmentalize the different parts of my life. I work really hard. Today, I was up at 6 am and, from the moment I woke up, it’s been go-go-go, from shooting a show in the morning to doing press in the afternoon. That calls for a lot of balance. So, I definitely need to know when to turn it off and just take some time for myself to relax. I’ve gotten very good about scheduling time for myself when I don’t have to be “on.”
KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
TJ: Wow! I’ve never been asked that question before. Let me think… Riding on the train with my mom.
KW: What was your very first job?
TJ: Selling shoes at a Footlocker in the mall. And that’s how I met the guy from the radio station in Rocky Mount, North Carolina who gave me my first internship. I sold him a pair of sneakers. I fell in love with radio once I started working there, and I never stopped.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
TJ: Just myself.
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
TJ: Zegna. I like Zegna’s suits a lot.
KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
TJ: My ID and credit cards.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Terrence, and best of luck with the film. I really enjoyed it.
TJ: Thank you so, so much, Kam. I really appreciate your taking the time to watch it.
To see a trailer for The Perfect Match, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKCFkFaIwU0