Terrence is on his cool J after leaving BET’s “106 & Park.” After snagging a few movie roles and taking his hosting talents over to E!, Mr. Jenkins is feeling extra ambitious these days. In an interview with Ebony.com, the aspiring actor/media-mogul spelled out his ultimate career goal: to be a Will Smith-Ryan Seacrest hybrid. Check out a few snippets.
Why he took the E! gig right after the height of “Think Like a Man”
I think that Hollywood is this sort of hybrid now. You have incredible broadcasters like Oprah Winfrey who are now doing movies like The Butler. You have people that are building careers that don’t just have to fit in one lane. I want to be a trendsetter in that space. I look at a mentor of mine like Ryan Seacrest and the incredible amount of equity he’s been able to bring to the broadcasting arena, and the branding and the world that he’s been able to build around himself. I look at another mentor of mine, Will Smith – I call him the greatest actor alive right now – and I’m trying to merge the two. I have a long way to go, obviously. Those are some very big ambitions. But I’m shooting Think Like a Man 2 next year and I have two more film projects that’ll be coming out relatively soon. And I’ll be every day onE! News. Hopefully people just won’t get sick of me!
Why E! was a good move
They’re at the pulse of pop culture, and that’s where I’m at. I think that they’re excellent at what they do. They have a very great staff and amazing people that I get to work with. I think Giuliana Rancic is amazing, and they just get it. They’re a show on the rise and I’m happy to be a part of the program.
Whether he thinks America is starting to embrace diversity more on-air
I would hope so. And I just hope it leads to more. I called Michael and congratulated him, and obviously I’m very close with Steve. I hope it leads to more and more opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds – not just African-Americans, but Latinos and Asians. I hope that these new hires open up more and more opportunities so that TV looks more like America.
What motivates him
My mother. She and my stepfather moved from New York at a young age to build a more safe life for me in North Carolina. And I just watched them grow and work – they had five jobs – and just their drive and their hustle is what fuels me to this day. I come from humble starts. I went to an historically Black college where we’re always told that there’s limitation. And so I’m happy to represent for Black colleges. I’m happy to represent for my fraternity. We work hard, man. And we don’t stop, man, we don’t let up. As soon as I get in one door, I’m simultaneously working to be the best person in that door, open up doors for other people to walk in and opening up the next door for myself to walk through.
Are you excited to see what’s next for Terrence J?