When it came to choosing her first name, Jazz Jennings from I Am Jazz mulled over a few options. She was born male and was originally named Jared.
However, once Jennings embarked upon her transition to female, she wanted a name that fit her true identity. Although her mother called her by her birth name until a few years ago, Jennings has stuck with the name Jazz. And while the name Jazz Jennings sounds perfect, Jennings is not actually the family’s surname.
“Jennings is our pseudonym, to sort of make life easier. We try to hide our real last name as much as possible,” Jennings’ mom Jeanette told The Miami Herald in 2015. “Our last name is a very Jewish, long last name. We found it easier at this point. She’s known as Jazz Jennings. With the TV show, they’re not going to tell anybody where we live. The TV show is not going to reference our true last name.”
This is how she arrived at ‘Jazz’
Jennings’ transition began when she was 5-years old, according to In Style. Barbara Walters considers Jennings to be one of the youngest documented children to openly transition from one gender to another.
When it came time to choosing her name, she looked to her big sister. Her sister portrayed Princess Jasmine in a school play. So Jennings went with the name Jazz based on the character.
She started searching for a new name at a very young age
Although Jennings began her transition at age 5, she gravitated toward all things glittery and sparkly even earlier. In an Instagram post, Jennings shared a name she chose for herself at age 3.
“Meet Sparkles,” she wrote next to an incredibly adorable picture of Jennings as a toddler. “When I was three years old, I named myself that. I know, I know, it sounds like something you’d name a pet. But I just loved everything sparkly, glittery, and shiny (those all mean the same thing😅).”
“Anyway, looking at old photos helps to remind me of how precious I am,” she continued. “We are all so precious. Always look at yourself in such high regard— you are so valuable and deserving. Sparkles is here to say that life is fun, and we all just have to let go and enjoy the ride, even in the face of contrast!”
The name “Sparkles” is really fitting. Jennings spoke with ET and said she’s always loved all things glittery and feminine. “I gravitated toward everything feminine, dolls, dresses, princesses, mermaids, high heels, pink, purple, sparkles — everything girl and it’s just who I was and as soon as I could verbalize words, I was saying ‘I am a girl.’ It wasn’t that I just like these girly things, but I knew I was a girl,” she said.
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