Jessica White says she’s shy—that she’d rather be at home, cooking in her kitchen, than living the fast-paced life of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Instead, the business-savvy 29-year-old is recording her first album, filming a documentary, designing a new lingerie line, and piecing together an art exhibit for the fall. So…She’s busy. Thankfully, not too busy to talk to us.

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Men's Fitness: You were discovered really early, weren’t you?

Jessica White: The age of 13 was when I was discovered [as a model] but I had been involved in entertainment since the age of 6. My mother and my father always had me in ballet and dance, and I sang in a girl’s group. I was taking acting lessons by the age of 10, starring in plays around western New York. It was kind of just natural. I was born, or probably trained.

What would you have done otherwise?

I wanted to be a forensic pathologist at one point. I think that was because I was being rebellious. I was so involved, and I had a huge social calendar. I was always in dance; I mean, I would go home, do homework, and then I was training. I went through my rebellious phase not in my teenage years but around age 12. The year I decided I didn’t want to do entertainment anymore, I was discovered. And I couldn’t back down from that.

You once said, “I’m in church a lot. I don’t drink anymore. A lot can change in life in a month.” What were you referring to?

I moved back to Buffalo in 2009, and I had this moment where I wanted to have the best of both worlds. I wanted to be able to be in church and cook at home but then still get on a plane and fly back to New York and be this supermodel. I was 24 years old at that time, and by that time I had already experienced this full life with all these life experiences and all these stories and lived in three different countries. I just wanted a break and that is exactly what I gave myself for about a year, and then I realized that was just a dream and I needed to be involved in the industry. That was a very pivotal moment in my life. It was very profound for me and I grew, spiritually, a lot. That was a time where I was very also very religious. Now I don’t believe in religion. I’m not religious, but that was a journey. I had to figure out my personal relationship with God versus the organization of Church.

You’re working on so many things. How do you decide what’s worth your time?

It’s all based off of passion. If I’m not passionate about it I can’t do it.

What are you passionate about when it comes to men, maybe style and grooming in particular?

I like very masculine smells. I like wood scents on men. I just like a man to smell great but I don’t like very strong cologne. I don’t like when a man is overpowered by cologne. I think subtle and sexy is always best. 

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