Dr. Jennifer L’Hommedieu Stankus has accomplished a lot in her 53 years on this planet. Whether it was her career as a BMX rider, a police officer, pilot, cave diver, climber and mountaineer, surfer, extreme skier, motorcycle enthusiast, shooting and tactical expert, actress, producer, screenplay writer, or courtroom expert, the philosophy has always been consistent – do the best job possible and make other people’s lives better. After reading all of that, you may be wondering when she would have time to sleep, but she confirmed that she still gets her eight hours every night.
“Sleep is actually super important to me,” she said. “I’m just very efficient with everything I do while I’m awake.”
Stankus has been efficient with her time since childhood. The teenage BMX rider and competitor actually graduated high school two years early. She used that extra time to join the Naval Reserve at 17 and eventually get her EMT license as well as working at the local sheriff’s office. She used to live in Hawaii and really enjoyed surfing and hanging out on the beach. Knowing the importance of the work that had to be done, she made herself follow a rule.
“You have to finish your work, and you have to finish it very well before you can do that.”
The native of Colorado credited the enforcement of that rule for both her efficiency and effectiveness. She eventually became a police officer and would serve in the military as an Airborne Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) and as a military judge. Her vast talents and notable achievements only appear to be surpassed by a desire to chase greatness in as many forms as possible.
“As a kid, I was driven. I think people just pop out with the personality that they have, and you work around that personality.”
That drive was fueled by watching the Olympics in the 1970’s. Stankus was very patriotic as a child and had dreams of representing her country someday. Even as young as six years old, she started running and finding any activities she could do to help her get in better shape. That was the beginning of a commitment to fitness excellence that she honors to this day.
“Fitness has been a central theme my whole life. Being super fit has led to a lot of great opportunities,” she shared. Stankus feels an important part of that commitment was enjoying the process.
“To me, everything is fun. That’s just my attitude. I make everything fun. Even if I find it to be hard or challenging, it’s still fun.”
She doesn’t lock herself in to one type of training, either. Stankus feels that a fully prepared athlete is a better athlete. Thus, she didn’t just run or just surf or train with weights alone. She has focused on improving in all facets of fitness.
“You always want to stay open to new ideas for training in my opinion.”
Another theme that you may have noticed is that many of her occupations were roles that gave her opportunities to help others. Whether it’s saving lives as an EMT, physician, or cop, protecting them as a second-generation military member, or inspiring others through her career in entertainment and having others join her on adventures, helping and serving other people is of the utmost importance.
“I truly believe that life cannot have meaning without service to others – whether it’s from a biblical standpoint or an ethical standpoint. Helping others can also come back on you tenfold if you’re the type of person that is willing to help others for the right reasons. You don’t even have to view it as it is coming back to you. It just does.”
Stankus has seen that generosity returned in her favor in many ways both personally and professionally. Among them is her success on television. In 2016, someone introduced her to American Ninja Warrior. After applying, she got the chance to compete on a special military edition of the show, and she prepared for that challenge by setting up a home gym version of the set in her garage. Fast forward to 2021, and she joined the cast of “Surviving Mann,” a reality-based survival competition show starring Seal Team 6 Special Operations veteran Don Mann. Stankus would also be cast in the sequel as well as Surviving Mann All-Stars in 2022. As of this writing, she’s preparing to produce and co-star in a new show called “Lifeline!” The show is tentatively scheduled to air in late 2023 or early 2024, but she’s excited about the potential for this new show.
“What I hope from this show is to really help and empower people to know what to do to either avoid or survive a violent crime incident. I want it to allow people to live freely, and not in fear, and to save lives.”
As if all the above careers and passions weren’t enough, Stankus is also a professional diver, and she wants others to enjoy the experience of exploring underwater. She’s offering a select few opportunities to join her on Aggressor Adventures cruises, where you can swim with her and see parts of the world you would only see on TV or online otherwise. Go to aggressor.com for more information.
The common theme about Stankus’ life, career, and service is that none of it falls under the category of ordinary. That is one aspect of life she doesn’t want to experience much of, and she hopes that others will take the step out of their comfort zone and experience whatever forms of success and excellence they can find for themselves.
“You can’t succeed if you don’t face your biggest challenges and overcome them,” she explained. “You can be marginal. You can get by, but you can’t excel and succeed without overcoming those fears and going for it. You have to totally commit or it isn’t going to go well.”
You can follow Stankus on Instagram @_dr_jenn , Twitter @Dr_Jenn_, and you can subscribe to her YouTube channel @dr_jenn .