I first met the Mexican-American singer and reality TV star Jenni Rivera on a Saturday afternoon in 2011 as I scrolled through my TV guide. Obviously the reality show titled I Love Jenni caught my attention. Not only was there another Jenni out there who spelled her name with an I, but she was extremely lovable. Ever since that discovery, I felt a special connection with Jenni Rivera.
However in incredibly sad news, she died on Sunday in a small plane crash in Mexico at the age of 43. She leaves behind five children and an incredibly loyal fan base who’s watched her rise to fame over the years. Like so many singers today she turned her successful career into a brand and used it to to not only launch various beauty and fashion lines, but also to start the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation for victims of domestic violence.
E! Online reports that all her charitable work didn’t go unnoticed — and that she was in fact recognized for all her contributions to her community.
On Aug. 6, 2010, Rivera was named spokeswoman for the National Coalition against battered women and domestic violence in Los Angeles. A proclamation was given “officially naming” Aug. 6 “Jenni Rivera Day” by the L.A. City Council for all her charity work and involvement in the community.
Between her singing career and her charity work, Jenni still found time to turn herself into a popular TV personality. New York Daily News says that the success of her TV show I Love Jenni helped her grow even more famous as a performer and that a sitcom titled Jenni was in the works at ABC.
As the popularity of her Mun2 show “I Love Jenni” increased, she was increasingly marketed as a singer in the U.S., and her 2008 album “Jenni” became the first No. 1 on Billboard’s new Latin albums charts.
It featured her version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
She sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles last summer, and a record-signing in Riverside, Calif., drew so many fans police had to be summoned to control the crowd.
Even though it sounds like Jenni was at the beginning of another exciting stage in her career, we can rest assured she accomplished more than most of us dream possible in her 43 years.
Our thoughts are with her friends and family as they go through this difficult time.