I have the very funny @yenniwhite in the Beyond the Bio HoT seat today. She’s hilarious and gives a great interview! If you’re not following this hilarious woman, you should be. Check her out!
Does anyone know where I can buy one of those cute little family member stickers for my car with a mom crying?
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) February 16, 2017
Things to know about @yenniwhite
Name: Jennifer White. I started using my middle initial “S” to differentiate myself from a porn star who, apparently, stole my name.
Living in: Ohio, The Comedy Capital of the World. I’ve lived in various parts of Ohio, plus New Mexico and the Philadelphia area as well, so I’m extremely well-rounded.
Number of followers: Let me look. I have 3800.
Year graduated high school: When a gallon of gas cost $1.15 and a loaf of bread was $1.26. So 1998.
Joined Twitter: I had to look this up. I guess I joined in 2013. I didn’t tweet then, however. I was mainly a voyeur. Once I did start to become more active on Twitter, I used my account for sharing my writing links. I finally attempted to be funny on Twitter almost a year ago. (I’m sorry, Mom.)
Before kids: OMG these painful shoes are SO cute! *buys*
After kids: I'll take these ergonomic, moderately hideous shoes in all 4 colors.
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) March 15, 2017
Okay, tell us more!
Tell us about your family.
I’m married, and we have two slightly insane daughters, ages 6 and 2.
A Mom Club with the motto: "We're sick of having so much responsibility around the house–but, also, you're doing that wrong."
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) November 3, 2016
Oh my gosh, they are so cute! I love this picture.
What do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
Writing is my career and my hobby. I’m a voracious reader, although less so now than before having two kids. I’m also one of those weirdos who loves exercising. I practice yoga daily. I lift weights. Technically, I’m a certified Spinning instructor. I do Pilates.
I overpronounce the "th" in "clothes" to make buying new sweatpants sound fancier.
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) March 5, 2017
I also love food. I enjoy cooking, baking, and, primarily, eating whatever my husband makes me for dinner. I have strictly banned any usage of microwaves, since our first apartment in college. (Clearly, I’m very low-maintenance.)
I didn’t drive for years either. At points in my life, I preferred living where I didn’t need a car because I could walk or take public transportation. When I did get a car for the first time in something like 10 years, it was a manual. And I learned to drive it. Now, I love driving and never want to own another automatic again. (So I’m maxed out at two children.)
Why did you join Twitter?
I joined to follow current events/news as well as comedians. It evolved into being a social media vehicle for my writing career—I wanted to connect with readers.
Nowadays, I still share my work on Twitter, but, more, I use it to make bad jokes and to read and laugh at much better jokes.
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
On the surface, I get nothing. Nada. Zilch.
But, truthfully, aside from these connections I’ve made with other writers and readers, I’ve unexpectedly found a community that challenges my wit and creativity and maybe even enjoys me a little. It’s become a place that makes me laugh on days when I really need it, and—I hope—I can make other people laugh and feel less alone when they need it, too.
How did you share your humor before Twitter? Have people always thought you were funny?
I’ve always enjoyed trying to be funny and witty. I’ve definitely infused my writing with humor.
I think the second part of that question depends on whom you ask. My kids think I’m “silly.” My husband says he thinks I’m funny, but he doesn’t think my tweets are. Growing up, my dad absolutely nurtured my sense of humor and appreciated it.
My sister always “got” me, and all of my greatest friends are people who make me laugh.
"I'm in charge here," I whisper into the fridge as I get my kids more snacks.
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) March 9, 2017
You have a blog, jenniferswhite.com. Tell us a little about it.
I created my own website a couple of years ago, after years of publishing my writing in newspapers and online journals. I’d been getting paid for my writing, but I hadn’t, up until that point, wanted to commit to an actual website that was exclusively mine.
Since its creation, my site has become a place for me to share what I feel is my best work. I offer email subscriptions to regular readers. I encourage people to comment, share thoughts, and create conversations on my blogs. Additionally, it’s a contact resource for those interested in publishing my work and, especially, to make people aware of my books.
Tell us about your books.
They’re all a little different.
My first book is The Best Day of Your Life: A guide to transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. It was naturally my first book because I was teaching yoga, and I was actively involved in a world where people want to grow and be their best selves, but where a sense of self-righteousness and phoniness seemingly abounds. This book was my attempt to put something meaningful yet accessible out there for this community.
My second book is exactly what it’s titled: The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother. It’s not at all a parenting “how-to” guide; its intent is similar to my first book: I wanted to portray a fresh, raw perspective of parenting, not just for other parents, but for kids and for people. The best teachers of love, forgiveness, second-chances, joy, humility and wisdom really are children.
My third book, A Quiet Kiss, is the most meaningful thing I’ve written. It’s intimate. It’s a memoir. I wrote it for my husband—it’s a love story. More, it’s a story about a woman finally learning to love and accept herself; who gently discovers both her own resiliency and strength.
I’ve actually written four books (and am currently halfway through writing another), but one is a gift for my daughter when she’s older, and it won’t be published.
Basically, all of my books are, in their own ways, a merging of my yoga practice and my writing.
I made you a cake for me to eat.
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) March 6, 2017
You’re a yoga instructor. How long have you been doing yoga and how long have you been an instructor? How did you get into it?
Well, when bread cost $1.26, we also still widely supported PBS and had something called VHS tapes. Initially, I followed along to a routine of yoga stretches and exercises through a butt-early PBS show I watched before high school. This would have been about 22 years ago. Eventually, I bought the tapes.
Later, I took a class in college with a friend of mine who was in her seventies. (She was the wife of a retired professor.) At that point, I mainly saw yoga as a way to stretch out after running or weight lifting.
Practicing yoga became a part of my daily life 12 years ago. It became a way of thinking and experiencing the world. I started teaching 8 or 9 years ago. I’m a CYT 200. (I was an RYT, but I stopped regularly teaching a couple of years ago.)
Okay, I’m one of the few people in the world who’s never done yoga, what’s a CYT and RYT and how are they different?
Basically, there’s no real difference that matters. Beginning with an RYT – an RYT is a registered yoga teacher, and the registration is through Yoga Alliance – the U.S.-based non-profit professional organization for yoga teachers. That’s a very loaded question as to the importance of Yoga Alliance, and they’re becoming increasingly less popular as the best “gauge” for credentials. Nonetheless, at one point I taught a lot, and when I did, I did register. And so was an RYT. So then, a CYT is a certified yoga teacher. Which is someone with the credentials and appropriate certifications and education to teach yoga but who didn’t register with Yoga Alliance. As far as teaching is concerned, RYTs and CYTs are equivalent. I just didn’t feel like paying to be an RYT anymore.
Okay, got it. Clear as mud.
You’re an identical twin. Can you share a picture with us of you and your sister together?
My twin and I are extraordinarily close. We’ve always said we would have been the perfect person if we had been one instead of two. As it is, we’re mirror image twins. We’re exactly alike in certain ways, and then polar opposites in some others.
(I asked her to send me pictures she liked. Here, I’m the barely visible one kissing her cheek.)
You have a degree in geology? Did you ever use your degree in a job? I have a degree in Biology and Nutrition and only slightly used it for two years, but really I think any degree would have worked.
I do have a degree in geology. (*Sits up properly*) I studied geochemistry and minored in sociology. However, the way life unfolded for me, working as an undergraduate research assistant was as close as I came to working in the field.
Any mom who's left the house in actual clothes instead of yoga pants understands how people were so fooled by Clark Kent's glasses.
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) January 10, 2017
Have you met anyone in person that you knew only from twitter? If not, who would you like to meet and why?
You know, I haven’t. I have had people recognize me, which has been pretty funny. There are several people I would love to meet out here in real life. I don’t know that I can even pick just one.
Have you interacted with any celebrities on Twitter?
I guess it depends on how you define “celebrity.” I think I am right now! I can’t believe I’ve become colleagues and friends with people, like you, whom I so admire.
What 80s or 90s movie do you identify with the most?
Without a doubt, Stand by Me. My sister and I wore out at least one of those old-timey VHS tapes, we watched it so much. While I never exactly was a 12-year-old boy, or was even alive during that specific time period, I absolutely identify with its camaraderie, humor, and raw emotion of growing up.
Reached the level of parenting where I understand why my dad called my sister and me "you people."
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) November 20, 2016
Do you feel like you have a good handle on which tweets will be successful and which ones won’t?
I feel I have a good handle on it, but also that I don’t care. For me, the real joy of tweeting is pushing boundaries and expectations; it’s conveying a universal truth that other people perhaps didn’t realize everybody else experiences, too—as succinctly and humorously as possible, of course.
That’s a really good way of looking at Twitter.
What’s the oddest place you’ve tweeted from?
My laptop. I’ve rarely tweeted from my laptop. Each time I have, it felt weird. Generally, if I’m on my computer, I’m writing—I’m working. A good tweet, though—I feel—should be astute, but without overthinking it. Laptops encourage overthinking a tweet.
What is your favorite book of all time?
This is nearly an impossible question. I value so many different books and genres of literature. I’m fascinated by books. I’m in awe of the power of words and of their united ability to transport and change us completely. If I had to choose, it would have to be David Copperfield. It’s the ultimate masterpiece of the telling of a person’s lifetime. Also, I like how the paragraphs are single sentences.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
Another hard question. I adore movies and, like with books, I enjoy many different kinds. Hmm. I do have an infatuation with Amélie. (Although it’s French, and all my tweets should be read in a Jane Austen English accent.)
Who are some comedians (or comedy shows/sitcoms) who have influenced you?
Oh—so many. Probably the first comedian I truly adored was Gilda Radner.
Sarah Silverman is pure genius.
I definitely grew up with Chris Farley and shows like The Simpsons and Seinfeld.
Mostly, I’ve dated my husband since I was 14 years old. We grew up together. He’s definitively the funniest person I know. A lot of our relationship has involved joking our way through tough times and enjoying even difficult days by trying to be the one who makes each other smile. Personally, I can have a dark sense of humor, and he’s a sort of sparring partner for me.
But, speaking of David Copperfield, it also says a lot about me to admit I grew up appreciating and admiring the humor of Charles Dickens.
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?
This feels funny to be asked—my husband’s going to laugh at me. The biggest piece of advice I have is to find your own voice, and to be confident in it.
And to be kind.
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
I like to think I’m both an open person and also an enigma. So, I’d like to think there are a lot of things. Possibly, other than those who read my stories, most people don’t know I love backpacking. I miss it. My husband and I backpacked every week when we lived in New Mexico, and we took backpacking trips before moving there. We backpacked on our honeymoon. My husband always greatly admired my ability to create a temporary bathroom anywhere—you know, twig toilet paper holders, and even a rock stand for magazines.
Goals for my kids before I had them: teach them Spanish, only use positive reinforcement, never yell.
After: get them to put on pants.
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) November 29, 2016
Is there anything else you’d like to say/share?
I’d genuinely like to say thank you for this opportunity. I love reading this column. I look for it. I cannot believe I’m in it! I’d also like to say thank you to the people on Twitter who have embraced me, and encouraged me. I’d particularly like to thank those who not only like my tweets, but RT them.
I believe in celebrating and supporting the successes of others, and it’s been a heartwarming honor to meet people who share this mindset.
*Sends a Bat-Signal to Facebook that self-deprecating posts are jokes and do not need a "You're so amazing, believe in yourself" response.*
— Jennifer S. White (@yenniwhite) February 10, 2017
Name some tweeters whose tweets consistently make you laugh.
Ooooo. Good question. Another tricky one.
Annie Hatfield (@HatfieldAnne) is brilliant.
Jimmer Cork-Bottle (@JimmerThatisAll) is an all-time favorite.
Jeff Newton (@yonewt), of course. I’d love to see a whole Jeff Newton movie.
Anna Grace (@graceful_asfuck) always, always makes me laugh out loud.
Thanks for the interview, Jennifer! Really enjoyed getting to know you better!
In case you missed it, last time on Beyond the Bio: @CulturedRuffian
A butt-load of the funniest parenting tweets all packed into one place! – The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, available on Amazon. Or try the original, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. They make great gifts!