Discover how Jennifer Irene uses her diverse background to fuel her career as a competition shooter and trainer at Taran Tactical.
Age: A little over 21 for the rest of my life
Hometown: Redondo Beach, California
Current Residence: Costa Mesa, California
Question 1: Tell me about growing up in California.
Jennifer Irene: I grew up in Redondo Beach and lived a very diverse life. My mother and father are immigrants. I spent every summer in Taiwan and every Christmas and Thanksgiving in Mexico. My mom is Asian, and my father is Hispanic. My parents tried to introduce me to lots of different things. I took piano and singing lessons. They found, and I found, that I’m a pretty quick learner. I like to learn new things. We traveled, and I’m tri-lingual—I speak Mandarin, Spanish, and English. I went to school in Taiwan in the summers, and I would sneak away and find my way back home through the city by myself.
Question 2: How did your parents meet?
Jennifer Irene: My parents met at a restaurant in LAX where they both worked. My dad was a chef, and my mom was a waitress.
Question 3: What did you get from having such a diverse background?
Jennifer Irene: I realized early on that I don’t like to be on a tight schedule—I’m a free spirit. I love traveling. I love music. I love learning new things. I learned through all of my experiences that I’m highly adaptive— a chameleon. I can fit into almost any situation.
Question 4: How did you get into shooting?
Jennifer Irene: I actually went to Taran Tactical for the first time with a friend who owned a stunt company. He brought me so I could meet Josh Duhamel. I didn’t have a lot of experience in the shooting world. Just getting a taste of that and having something so powerful under your control fascinated me. Learning how to be precise and controlled interested me. Taran picked up on that and started having me come to the range to train. Over time I competed in a few matches. I watched, learned, and observed. Just everything I could do to sharpen my practice. I ended up helping Taran train on the range.
Question 5: Do you enter competitions?
Jennifer Irene: Yes, and they are a whole new world. The skill required to compete is something else. It’s not just about aiming and shooting—there’s a whole level of athleticism that goes into it. I was able to tie a lot of my fitness into helping me become a better shooter.
Question 6: You’re a fitness instructor—you teach yoga and Pilates. How does that impact your shooting?
Jennifer Irene: The benefits of yoga are not just about how flexible you are. It’s a skill set for your mind and for your breathing that you can apply to concentration while you’re competing. I train at Ernd Perfomance Center, and I teach hot yoga.
Question 7: Your bio also says you model—tell me about that.
Jennifer Irene: I’ve done 15 issues of FHM, and several issues of Maxim. I’ve done a lot of fashion magazines. I’ve done 15 to 20 magazine covers. When I started, I was doing mostly runway shows. I was scouted when I was a college cheerleader. I’m pretty much self-taught. I made cards for myself and started networking and finally met the right people. My very first job was for Remington hair products when I was 18 while in college at Northern Illinois University. Now I model for FashionNova and am an athlete for 1st Phorm.
Question 8: You have a little girl—what do you want to teach her as she grows up?
Jennifer Irene: She is 15 months old, and I will teach her that the sky’s the limit. Actually I’ll teach her there is no limit to what she can do. I want her to be a badass lady. I’ll teach her self-defense and to speak up for what she believes in. I want to teach her to shoot, and her dad wants to take her hunting. And we’d like to take her traveling. Because I truly believe that the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. The more I was able to travel and expose myself to different cultures and people, the more I realized that there was so much out there to learn. It helped me to know who I am.
Question 9: Tell me about your personal fitness routine.
Jennifer Irene: I wake up at 5 a.m. every day, have a cup of coffee, and do some sort of body weight workout. I might do a Vinyasa flow or a Zen stretch. Once I’ve fueled, I do a 45-minute to one-hour weight workout. I train three to five times a week, sometimes every day. I also eat pretty clean and use an app to track my macros, but I don’t deprive myself. My weakness is Italian food.
Question 10: How many guns do you own, and what’s your favorite?
Jennifer Irene: I own four guns, and the Sig Sauer MPX is my favorite. The folks at Taran Tactical make fun of me and call me the MPX queen!
Question 11: You also enjoy fishing—what do you like to fish for?
Jennifer Irene: I love to fish. We went out on a boat a few weeks ago on a quest to find yellowtail. I caught halibut, and that was exciting. My favorite fishing memory was when I took my dog fishing for the first time on a camping trip near Mammoth Mountain. As soon as I pulled the fish out of the water my dog kept licking the fish.
Question 12: What’s something cool you’ve done through shooting?
Jennifer Irene: When I first started training with Taran, I got invited to participate in the Navy Seals Warfighter Academy where we trained in tactical situations. It gave me an idea of how it is to be in the military or the law enforcement world. It gave me a whole new respect for the work they do. My first time training with them was with Steven Seagal. I’ve been asked back several times.
Question 13: What’s your five-year plan?
Jennifer Irene: I want to continue the fitness training. I’d like to incorporate that into the shooting. I want to train people how to safely defend themselves and have fun doing it. I’m big into self-care. I want to influence people to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle.
For more exclusive interviews, click here.