Bottom Line Third Person "I sound fancy pants" Bio: Jen Friel is a corporate sponsored minimalist who gave up everything she owned to find happiness and currently spent the last year urban camping, living with readers of her site “Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover,” documenting all of her adventures in social media. (Which included but were not limited to, crashing the 2010 Grammys to meet Pete Cashmore, dancing on stage with Prince, hosting on the red carpet at the 2011 Academy Awards, eating beef jerky for 30 days, having her arm lit on fire, skydiving, flying cross country with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and The Fonz, learning how to drive stick on the Ford test driving track in Dearborn, Michigan, and going out on over 103 dates in 9 months from OkCupid.) She has previously worked for the founder of Myspace launching his start up LiveVideo, and was also a model on Deal or No Deal (5 episodes on the syndicated version #16), and for Snorg Tees respectively. Her website is also being made into a pilot from the producers of Elf, Wedding Crashers, Meet the Fockers, and The Bourne Supremecy. She is also currently writing a book titled "A Nerd's Guide to Being Unapologetically Awesome" and has earned the title in Silicon Beach as the "female Chris Hardwick."
And now to keep it real: *waves* hello, my names @JenFriel. I'm the one in the polka dotted dress.
The story of Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover. Where oh where to begin?
Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover on paper (hehe funny because we're digital and it's not actually "on" paper) was started on November 3, 2009 on my roommate's bed. What started as anger from a broken heart has now been turned into a new media property garnering national attention from sponsors like AOL, Ford, AT&T, Samsung, Motorola, Chevrolet, and Nike - just to name a few.
It started with passion, it started with love, it started with … confusion.
Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover is my baby, my everything. This isn't just a website to me, or a place to bask in narcissism and self indulgence - it is a transparent experience and a glimpse into my journey of self expression and self exploration that has ALSO inspired others to go on THEIR own personal journeys and explore THEIR own world.
In the summer of 2009 I fell in love. I fell in love … hard with a mentalist. (Literally, a fucking mind reader.) After a few months, however, it appeared that we did not see eye to eye on what we both wanted from our dynamic, so after I found out just HOW MANY other people he was sleeping with - I left.
Standing in a place of confusion, and anger - I wasn't sure how to move on. At this point in my life I had had success in sales and in modeling, but was unsure with the exact trajectory that I had for myself.
After a tech event a few weeks later my answer came to me … I needed to start a website. I had been involved with computers since the age of two, and even had my first HTML book and computer consulting company before I was 10 - but outside of that, with only limited coding skills and UNBRIDLED passion for the space, I immediately ensconced myself in everything I could get my hands on related to new media.
Having spent literally all of my life up until that point in varying levels of depression this pursuit of knowledge and technology ended up completely consuming me. I had never been so passionate about something before, and never felt more alive. I didn't know exactly what I was doing but I knew people were responding to it and I knew for ONCE in my life that this was the reason why I was put on this Earth.
It took TNTML a few months to get up and running but by January of 2010 we hit a turning point.
My favorite blogger and founder of Mashable.com (the new media guide to EVERYTHING) announced he would be attending the Grammy Awards.
Since this blogger didn't live in LA this was a SUPER big deal that he was going to be here and throughout everything that I knew to be true in life - I had to had to HAD to meet him while he was here.
I exhausted my resources and connections hoping to get a press pass for the red carpet, but unfortunately it wasn't happening.
I then decided, well, why not just try to crash it? I can document it all on the website, and after all - isn't there a mantra about where there being a will there will always be a way? I CERTAINLY had the will!! Why not see if there is a way?
I grabbed a red dress from my closet, put on a little bit of makeup and without even knowing what time the red carpet was - I drove down to the Staples Center and decided to attempt to crash the Grammy Awards.
I was EXTREMELY specific with my intentions though. This had NOTHING to do with the Grammys and everything to do with the blogger. I was only going to get to the red carpet, find him, and then leave. Plain and simple.
After six checkpoints (and a handful of run ins with law enforcement) I not only managed to successfully make it onto the red carpet, but within a matter of minutes I found my target.
Congratulations, he said as I approached him. (I had been tweeting every step along the way.)
And what was my response back?
"I recognized you by your jaw line."
Yep, that happened.
After taking a picture with him I then left the red carpet (like I said I would) and went home to do laundry. There was no big hurrah, no press - nothing. I had a handful of people on twitter cheer me on but outside of that - this moment was strictly for me.
Where there is a will there is always a way is ACTUALLY true, I thought.
A few weeks later an old friend of mine told me about the Ford Fiesta Movement. See, Ford was looking for local influencers to give a Ford Fiesta to and have them compete in a series of challenges and adventures.
My friend being a big you tuber, and me having the website and just crashed the Grammys - we were fairly confident in our chances.
After 40 background checks the winners were announced, and on Valentines day 2010 my partner and I were named the Ford Fiesta Movement agents for Los Angeles. (There were 16 towns in total competing.)
Ford fitted us not only with the vehicle but a Macbook pro, cameras, and plenty of other tech devices. I decided to forfit the tech in exchange for spending more time in the vehicle. Even though I had my own car at the time, there was something so special about that car and this bond that I had with it.
I can't believe passion created this opportunity, I thought to myself. How did this happen? How did my UNDYING love for social media actually produce something like this??
I was still consulting and working as a server at the time, but I hit another turning point in May of that year. I just want to do my website, I thought. How do people start businesses? What do I have to do to strictly follow in my passion and stop working these other jobs that I don't like.
I then stared at the car and thought to myself, why don't I just move into the car? It's a place for me to stay, I can shower in a public shower, and I even have a gas card that I can use to get around. Why do I need a home since I'm never even in it?
The thought barely registered before I then decided to donate everything I own and actually move into the Ford Fiesta. I had 6 compartments in the back of the vehicle organizing everything - but everything from my bed, desk, and these things that I called a "life" I chose to get rid of.
I was then without a home from May 2010 to May of 2011. I managed to get to 12 states with only $10 to my name. I never went hungry, never went without a shower, and I never went without a place to stay. I didn't stay with family, I didn't stay with friends - I instead stayed with people that I met in the community that I was building for my website. I documented all of my fears, all of my anxieties and wound up literally building a brand off of it and off of being a corporate sponsored minimalist.
Companies kept sending me things to talk about, and I would then have adventures while wearing or using their products. Some of the adventures included flying cross country with Billy Gibbons of ZZ top, dancing on stage with Prince, going out on over 103 dates in 9 months, having my arm lit on fire, and even corporate sponsored skydiving.
I am so blessed and so UNBELIEVABLY grateful to now almost three years later still be doing what I do and still telling stories. This is my life, this is my passion, this is my expression, this is my self exploration. I invite you all along on the journey.
Official Twitter Hashtag: #NerdsUnite
Established: November 3, 2009
Theme Song by: Laura Cheadle