Gina Jensen

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“What Not to Wear” taught a professor how the art of style

Written by Alex Wilking

From Facebook, Gina Jensen may be seen having playful arguments with her husband about baseball. This friendly rivalry even carried over to their four children, who take the side of either Cardinals or Cubs. But the playful banter doesn’t end when Jensen goes to work as an adjunct professor at Webster University. Inside her office also sits another professor — her husband, Scott Jensen.

Both Gina and Scott Jensen teach forensics and speech at Webster. She said she feels lucky for the opportunity to work so close with him. Scott was hired as a full-time professor first, with Gina following. Jensen sees her husband as a huge influence in her life, learning a lot from him when she first started teaching. The two met at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and married before taking jobs at Webster.

Jensen also serves as the assistant director for the speech and debate team at Webster. Her husband is the director of the team. Under their leadership, the team has won countless awards and state championships. They have qualified the past 15 years in a row for the National Individual Events Tournament, a very elite national event, Jensen said

Apart from Webster involvement, Jensen recently stepped down as president for Phi Kappa Delta (PKD), a national speech and debate organization that has been competing for over 100 years. Gina headed PKD from 2011-2013, and Scott also served as president. Both have been involved in Phi Kappa Delta since college. She has also made multiple appearances on television to talk about communication and politics. However, one appearance on television drastically changed Jensen’s life.

Jensen was the star of an episode of TLC’s “What Not to Wear”, a fashion show about changing someone’s appearance to look more stylish. She was ambushed while talking on “Show Me St. Louis” about non-verbal communication.

The shows hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, entered and signaled everyone to stop what they were doing. Jensen had thought at first that she had done something wrong.

“But then they said, ‘Cut cut, this is a wardrobe technicality.’ And that didn’t hit me that they were saying that,” Jensen said. “I’m still thinking it must be technical difficulties. Next thing I know, they grab me by the hands and stand me up.”

But how Jensen ended up on the show was a surprise to her. Jensen was stranded in an airport with some of her students due to a late plane. Conversation was struck up about “What Not to Wear” and how Jensen should appear on it. Her students sent in an application for her to be on the show, and after one failed attempt, they succeeded.

Those students, along with Jensen’s friends, family and Webster President Elizabeth Stroble all came out to greet her with the TLC hosts.

“I had never seen ‘What Not to Wear’ before, so I didn’t know who Stacy and Clinton were at the time,” Jensen said. “All along the cameras are rolling, both on ‘Show Me St. Louis’ and ‘What Not To Wear’. So let me tell you, I was floored.”

Jensen was on the show in March 2010. Her episode has aired almost every two months since. But since the hosts are leaving, “What Not to Wear” is coming to an end. Jensen was invited to be a part of one of the final episodes. She was able to stand in front of the stage with a handful of the hosts’ favorite participants. The finale episode Jensen took part in aired October 18th, 2013.

“I was thrilled she enjoyed it,” Scott Jensen said. “It was a great way to acknowledge that she had sacrificed herself for a long time. This corrected the sacrifice in a lot of positive ways. Because she’s appreciated that, I have to.”

Now Jensen does know what to wear. With the support of her family and friends, she continues to keep her look up. Especially since that support sits in the office next to her.

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