April 21, 1982
Queens, New York, United States
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He may have spent his formative years in North Carolina, but there's no denying the multi-talented Terrence J possesses the innate hustle of his native New York City. An ambitious communications student at the historically black North Carolina A&T State University, J (short for Jenkins) turned a one-off appearance on "Savannah" (The WB, 1996-97) into a springboard for his breakout gig as host of BET's music video countdown "106 & Park Top 10 Live" (2000-14). Sure, interviewing music icons like Jay-Z and Madonna and putting in appearances on talk shows and music award ceremonies was fun, but he still wanted more. So after a few minor film roles, including a bit in the campy "Burlesque" (2010), the charismatic former college DJ entered the big leagues when he was cast as an unrepentant mama's boy in "Think Like a Man" (2012). Based on comedian Steve Harvey's 2009 relationship advice book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, the movie inspired him to pen his own inspirational tome, The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom (2013), detailing the struggles and sacrifices of his hard-working single mother. That same year Jenkins replaced Ryan Seacrest as co-anchor on "E! News" (E!, 1991- ), while cementing his reputation as an all-around entertainment star.Born in Queens, NY in 1982, Jenkins grew up in suburban North Carolina as a self-described "little kid with big dreams." His four years at North Carolina A&T State University, where he DJ'd at a local radio station, solidified his determination to break into show business. Though his TV debut on the short-lived Southern drama "Savannah" failed to make waves, Jenkins' laser-like focus and engaging personality eventually landed him the plum job of co-host on BET's influential "106 & Park Top 10 Live" countdown show. He anchored the series for nearly seven years, balancing his hosting duties with an aspiring acting career that took him from the glittery sets of "Burlesque" to the football locker rooms of "The Game" (The CW, 2006-09; BET, 2011-15). In 2012 he landed his biggest acting role to date when he was cast in the romantic comedy "Think Like a Man." Working on the film proved such an emotional experience that Jenkins signed a deal with HarperCollins to publish The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom, where he celebrated the lessons his strong and successful single mother passed down to him. After a supporting role in the high-flying romantic comedy "Baggage Claim" (2013) as a lovelorn fiancée, Jenkins left BET for another hosting gig, replacing the ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest as the highly visible co-anchor of the long-running entertainment news program "E! News."