Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg
From the football field to the dance floor, the Lombardi Trophy to the Shiny Disco Ball, it is all in a day’s work for Rashad Jennings. After spending eight years in the NFL as a star running back, the former New York Giant retired, headed west, and traded his shoulder pads for a vastly different uniform as he conquered “Dancing with the Stars,” winning Season 24. It was his dedication that led him to a successful career in football, and he brought that very same mindset to the dance floor, practicing more hours than any team in the show’s history. Quite an accomplishment for someone who as a child was overweight, and struggled with asthma and poor vision. In Jennings’ latest impressive accomplishment, his book “The IF in Life: How to Get Off Life’s Sidelines and Become Your Best Self,” he shares moving stories about determination and how hard work pays off. The Overhead Compartment took a spin on the dance floor with the highly talented Rashad Jennings, to discover his winning secret on the field, on the dance floor and in life.
Rashad Jennings’ book “The IF in Life: How to Get Off Life’s Sidelines and Become Your Best Self” is available now!
The Overhead Compartment with Rashad Jennings begins now….
OC: Your book “The IF in Life” is filled with insights drawn from your experiences in your career and life. What is the most important lesson you hope readers will learn?
RJ: The beautiful thing about my book, “The IF In Life,” is that it will hit home to every reader differently. I hope that everyone finishes this book feeling inspired to pursue their own foundational “IF’s” in their own life.
OC: What’s one piece of advice all aspiring athletes should hear?
RJ: The advice I would give to an aspiring athlete would be that when opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare. I was an overweight kid with glasses and asthma. I had a .6 GPA at one point in time and, with the right mentors, I was able to do a 180 in my life to put me on the right path to lead me to where I am today.
OC: You won Season 24 of Dancing With The Stars. What was your favorite part of that experience?
RJ: My entire experience on Dancing with the Stars was extremely memorable. There truly wasn’t a second that was really above the others, but if I had to choose one that stands out it would be the contemporary dance Emma and I did, which was dedicated to my relationship with my dad. My dad has some health issues, so it wasn’t easy to get him to Los Angeles, but it made that dance even more special having him in the audience.
OC: Considering what you were used to as a football player, how challenging was DWTS physically?
RJ: I don’t want to say one is harder than the other, but for me, I grew up playing football, so it comes naturally to me. I had never taken ballroom classes before I was on Dancing with the Stars, so this was a completely new craft for me. I made sure to dedicate many hours to it, which eventually led to Emma and I winning the Mirror Ball Trophy.
OC: When you travel, are you more recognized for your running on the field or dancing on the small screen?
RJ: Dancing with the Stars seems to be what I am mostly recognized for. I think it is because the show has such a national presence and the fans truly feel connected with the stars and dancers on the show.
OC: You started the Rashad Jennings Foundation that promotes health & fitness, mentorship and literacy for kids, what would you like people to know about your mission?
RJ: Our mission is to inspire youth by making education fun, providing mentorship for individual success and promoting health and fitness worldwide. These three pillars made me into the man I am today, and I have made it my mission to pour into the younger generation to equip them with the resources they need to be successful.
OC: When you were playing in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and NY Giants, your travels took you all over, what is your favorite city to visit?
RJ: My favorite city will always be New York City.
OC: How would you spend a day there if you had one free?
RJ: Some of the things I like to do when I am in the city is grab sushi from my favorite spot, catch a good play, run around shopping and explore new places in the city I have never been to.
OC: What stadium has the loudest fans?
RJ: I think it is probably a tie between New York and Oakland. Both fans are very passionate about their teams and I think they are the rowdiest!
OC: What was it like to travel with a group of football players every week?
RJ: Traveling with a group of football players was always a lot of fun because not only do you work with each other, but you are like family members. We fight like brothers, but, overall, we just enjoy being around each other!
OC: First thing you do when arriving at a hotel in your room?
RJ: The first thing I do when arriving to a hotel room is put my bags down and relax on the bed.
OC: Complete the following sentence: I never leave home without:
RJ: My headphones, because I am always listening to music.
Rashad Jennings, please use care upon departure as items may have shifted in The Overhead Compartment during our journey. Thanks for choosing us for your travel tips! Have a wonderful day!