JW in conversation with Jaynee Penny

Tessa Talks with Jaynee Penny on work life balance, greatest strengths + weakness’ and of course all things wellness

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Sydney; we had a family home in Parramatta and our weekend holiday home on the Central Coast in Terrigal.

How did where you were raised influence your healthy habits?

I’d say my healthy habits that make up my life today include a fresh and colourful diet, daily exercise, ocean swims and 0 consumption of alcohol. 

I was raised in a family where we had a healthy cooked meal on the table every night (mum made sure we had eight vegetables included in every dinner!!). Both parents rarely drank alcohol in front of us so it was never a huge part of our upbringing. 

We were also encouraged to be a part of sporting teams and I was lucky enough to play representative touch football and netball for the state. 

Most weekends we escaped up the coast to Terrigal and A LOT of my time was spent in the ocean and soaking up Vitamin D – which is something I try do most days.

What is one of your daily rituals?

I aim to walk or run at least 10000 steps per day.

What are you currently working on?

Professionally, I am working on the next swimwear collection for TRIANGL which is due to launch in mid October. 

Personally, I am working on the renovations of our new place. Well, not personally working on them but my amazing father and his team.  

What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your life career wise?

Making career decisions have always been my biggest challenges. I studied Medical Science and Law at UTS; worked as an International Business Lawyer and then made the decision to change careers. Moving from law into fashion (as a Buyer’s Administration Assistant) was a huge call I had to make (as well as a huge step back!). 

Since that decision, I’ve always found it challenging when I change jobs – I always consult my mentors and parents but also go with my gut.

What are some ways you handle stress and pressure?

Being active really helps me feel balanced – going for a run is the best way to clear my mind and I almost always feel stronger mentally after. 

I do tend to go pretty quiet when I’m stressed or under pressure so I’ve found talking about things also helps.

What is your greatest strength?

This has been the most difficult question to answer so I asked around for some suggestions. Top of the list was caring and selfless. 

I think my answer would be that I’m a realist – I keep a level head and think logically in most situations. 

What is your greatest weakness?


Who inspires you?

A lot of the men in my life serve as inspiration for me, specifically my father Tony, husband Richy and my boss Craig. They all empower and encourage me to be better everyday.

My father is the most generous, beautiful man I have in my life. He treats everyone equally, has the time of day for absolutely anyone and goes above and beyond for his family.

They always say you marry someone like your father, and my husband Richy has a lot of these traits too. Richy inspires me to give anything a go, he is a true optimist (which balances my realism!) and is the most energetic person you’ll ever meet.

My boss is a true entrepreneur, family man and mentor. He is extremely generous with his time both professionally and personally.
He’s been a professional football player, a pilot and has had both successful and unsuccessful businesses – of which he said he learnt everything he knows today.

He challenges you to think innovatively, gives you autonomy in your role but also asks the right questions to get the ideal outcome.

What inspires you?

People who think for themselves and come to their own conclusions based on their own research. People who challenge society norms.

How is sustainability apart of your life?

I can say that I haven’t purchased any item of clothing this year that hasn’t been vintage. I love sourcing vintage as well as donating/selling a lot of my own clothing.

What is your biggest wellness indulgence?

I’m a big fan of the sauna, it’s a great way to clear your mind and at the same time clear your body of toxins. 

What are your 3 clean – non toxic beauty must haves?

I don’t like to wear makeup and I also don’t wear a lot of skin products, I never have and I’ve found that my skin has learnt to not rely on products. 

I am in the sun a lot and find Mother sunscreen to be the best for sun protection, free from all the nasties.

I lather myself in coconut oil (the type you find in the kitchen) when I first wake up and before bed (surprisingly it doesn’t ruin sheets!). This leaves my skin feeling really hydrated and prolongs my tan.

Not very beauty related, but I am also trialling some period cups (instead of tampons). I’m using the brand Scarlet and have found they’re comfortable and great for the environment. 

What are your 3 wellness must haves?

All my wellness must haves have actually been introduced to me by my husband Richy. 

Grounding – a bit of connection with the earth each day is great and also helps with my sleep

CBD oil – I suffer from extremely bad period pain and I also sometimes find it difficult to get to sleep. CBD oil has changed my life! I now don’t need to worry about my period each month (usually I am bed ridden for an entire day) and my sleep is extremely restful. The best brand I’ve found on the market is Yakuru. 

Sauna – mentally and physically a game changer for me

What’s your ideal way to switch off?

I love going for big walks either listening to music or calling family and friends around the world to catch up. 

What are you currently reading, watching and or listening to?

Reading – I’m not currently reading anything, in between books and open to recommendations!

Watching – My Octopus teacher

Listening to – I listen to a daily podcast on trading which I find very interesting as it’s something I’ve never been exposed to before

Where is your favourite place to travel?

Anywhere coastal in Europe – Ibiza, Amalfi, Hydra; those would be my top 3 places.

What do you eat for breakfast in the morning?

I’ve recently started having an AM bone broth body glue by Gevity. It contains ginger, turmeric, apple cider vinegar and lemon myrtle.   

Tessa James

Tessa James

Australian Actress & Founder of James Wellness


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