It was around Halloween, and while she can't recall whether she was dressing up as an angel or a princess, she does remember how she felt when she started to see her bare, hairless skin after each pass of the blades. "I remember being excited," she tells Refinery29. "And I remember feeling so grown up."
That razor ended up being a turning point for Jennings, who is now known as one of the youngest publicly documented transgender individuals in the world. "I think when you’re coming into your own with your identity, shaving is a form of expression," Jennings says. "When I was transitioning, shaving my legs was that first step. It was that feeling of stepping inside the gender and really feeling like a woman for the first time."
That's partly why becoming the face of a new campaign with Gillette Venus called #MySkinMyWay feels particularly momentous for the 18 year old. It's a campaign that's "in the direction the world is going in," according to Jennings, as it celebrates not just the act of shaving, but people's choices when it comes to shaving or not shaving however and whatever they please. It's a conversation that's been swirling on the internet for years now, with celebrities like Lourdes Leon and Amandla Stenberg making a point to step out on red carpets with visible body hair, and a concept that Jennings has taken to heart with her own relationship to shaving.
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#Ad I’m SO excited to be partnering with @gillettevenus on their new #MySkinMyWay campaign💙💙💙 Did you know that 87% of women say they wish they didn’t feel so much pressure to follow rules about how their skin should look? With this campaign, Venus wants to do its part to right those rules👏🏽👏🏽 As women, it seems like there are so many rules placed on our skin that we’re expected to follow—we’re told we shouldn’t show too much skin, can’t have cellulite, have to be smooth and hairless all the time—you know the drill🙄 But that’s NOT what most women look like! Whether you shave or not, Venus is here to say that ALL women and ALL types of skin are beautiful💫This campaign means so much to me—not only because I’ve used Venus razors for years, but because I’ve faced insecurities about my own skin my entire life. It’s so awesome that a brand like Venus is embracing all types of beautiful skin💗🌈🌟 Head to the link in my bio to learn more about this amazing campaign!☺️💕
"When I was younger, shaving was something expected of women," Jennings says. "And that's why I wanted to shave my legs in order to invest in the identity that I chose myself. But as I got older, I was empowered when I didn’t shave my legs because it meant that I felt so confident as a woman that I didn’t have to comply with something they had to do."
This evolving relationship with shaving is just one part of Jenning's experience as a transgender women, which she publicly documents on Instagram for her 800,000 followers to see. For the fifth season finale of her TLC reality show, I Am Jazz, viewers saw Jennings undergo the gender confirmation surgery she's wanted for years. That kind of representation matters — and it's one she hopes reaches more people through her latest partnership.
"I think trans representation and visibility is the most important thing because trans people face so much discrimination, and that comes from a lack of understanding of who they are," Jennings says. "It allows someone to see trans people, and realize we’re human beings too and that we’re just living their lives. And really, what's more human and normal than shaving?"