12.10.2013 / Blog Posts WOW Interview Series
WOW is getting to know the Team behind the Team and next up is Redskins Linebacker Bryan Kehl's other half, Jessica.
Both hailing from Salt Lake City, Bryan and Jessica attended rival high schools where they were dedicated students and athletes, however the two did not actually meet until they attended the same college years later. Jessica was a gymnast for 8 years before she ended up switching over to competitive cheerleading. She attended Brigham Young University where she was the cheerleading captain, studied professional photography and eventually ended up meeting her future husband!
Jessica sat down with WOW to talk about her love for photography and extreme sports, hidden talents and more...
How did you and Brian meet?
We met each other on campus but didn’t date for a few years. I had a boyfriend when he first asked me out so I had to turn him down! When he asked me out a few years later we hit it off but then he had to move away to get ready for the NFL draft. We kept in touch long distance throughout the next year during his rookie year and he surprised me by coming to Utah unannounced and proposing to me on a private airplane. It was a total surprise and very romantic. We were married a few months later right before training camp.
Since then we’ve been with a few different teams, just living the crazy and unpredictable life of a NFL player! In 2012, we were blessed to have our first child, a sweet baby girl that we named Jayda Faye. I am currently pregnant with our second child, a baby boy due May 6th. Jayda was born right in the middle of training camp last year so we are feeling really lucky that our timing is better this time around!
Do you have any special game day rituals?
On gamedays, Jayda and I attend church before we head over to the game. In my opinion it’s the best way to spend Sunday and it helps to keep me centered and to calm any nerves I might have.
As a photographer, what are your favorite events to capture?
Growing up I attended a private school that was very focused on the fine arts. They had an amazing photography program headed by a quite famous photographer, Tillman Crain. That is where I began my love for photography. I continued on to the highly competitive BYU photography program where I really was able to expand my skill set. My senior year at BYU, I was able to get a grant to photograph throughout the country of China. It was a life changing experience for me. I really enjoy a lot of types of photography: photojournalism, portraits, product, fashion, architecture, etc. but my business is mostly focused on high-end corporate events.
I also do a lot of weddings, families, babies etc. on the side. The one type of photography I don’t like is wildlife- I just don’t have the patience for it! I also surprisingly have never done any sports photography- I always get asked if I photograph any of Bryan’s games but I would much rather be a fan in the crowd than have one more thing to be thinking about!
Do you and Bryan have any special hobbies?
In the off-season we usually return to our home in Utah. We enjoy the beauty of the mountains while we are there by snowmobiling, riding ATVs and hiking. Bryan’s family has a cabin up in the mountains that we like to visit. We like to just relax by the fire and play board games with our friends and family. We also really enjoy boating and we take a trip to the beautiful Lake Powell every summer. It is my favorite vacation because we get to spend a lot of time with family and friends on our houseboat.
Are there are causes that are important to you?
Bryan and I love to get involved with serving the community whenever possible. In my opinion this is one of the greatest opportunities and blessings of being a NFL player because there are so many ways to help and serve. The NFL is definitely a great platform for community service. We have a special place in our hearts for kids and adoption. Bryan comes from a family of 9 kids, 6 of which were adopted. He feels so grateful for his adoptive family. We believe that every child deserves a loving family.
Bryan is also a gifted motivational speaker. He gets asked to speak to youth groups, sports teams, businesses, and at church meetings. He loves to inspire people to be their best selves.
Jessica and Bryan Kehl with Salute to Play 60 Kids
What do you like to do to keep in shape?
Well I have to be honest, I have a hard time making it to the gym because I am sick and fatigued from being pregnant! Usually I love to work out and stay active. I have never really been into running long distances but I like doing short sprints or going on long walks because it is easier on my joints. I love workout classes, Pilates classes and any class that incorporates dancing! My tip would be that the best, most efficient way to get in shape is weight lifting. I like to do low weight, high reps and I like mixing in plyometric exercises for a little cardio inbetween. Weight lifting helps to build muscle, which in turn burns fat. When I was trying to get back in shape after having my baby, Bryan suggested that I really focus on weight lifting and strengthening exercises and I think it really worked great. When I am in need of a new routine sometimes I check out Pinterest for exercises I haven’t tried before!
We hear you have a passion for extreme sports!
I do love extreme sports! I blame part of my addiction on growing up with my crazy dad and brothers and part of it on my gymnast/cheerleading background. I love anything that involves flying in the air, flipping, twisting and spinning! I love tumbling, skydiving, flying trapeze, cirque du soleil- type activities, surfing, amusement parks, zip lines, trampolines, etc. I am really scared that my children might inherit my love for adrenaline rushes! Bryan is similar and enjoys doing some activities with me, although he is way more cautious. He cannot afford to put himself in danger but he does enjoy watching me try some crazy things!
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice that I ever have received was from the sports psychologist at BYU. He was talking to our cheer squad and told us this catch phrase “Daily Decisions Determine Destiny," meaning that the little things you do every day really shape your future and help decide who you are going to become. So, it is essential for you to evaluate the little things you are doing every single day because they will either move you toward or away from your personal goals.
Do you have any hidden talents?
A few months ago, I won a chocolate tasting contest and I could not be more proud. I think I am pretty talented. Also, if I was blind folded and you fed me a jelly belly I could tell you the exact flavor that I was eating.
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