The average law student would not think that their post-graduation plans include trekking around the world with a total stranger and engaging in strange tasks for the viewing pleasure of the American public. The average law student expects to find a job at a firm and plans to spend a few months holed up somewhere to study for the Bar exam. Jenny Wu, two-time USC graduate, was no different; the last place she expected to be after graduating from the Gould School of Law was on CBS’s The Amazing Race.
Wu began to diverge from the usual course shortly into her first job as a lawyer for a fashion company; she started a fashion blog, goodbadandfab.com, as a way to indulge her affinity for fashion while handling a demanding legal career. She decided to take up fashion blogging full time when she began to receive offers to promote different brands and companies that she loved. Wu had a difficult time explaining the abrupt change to her conservative Chinese immigrant family, but they soon became supportive of her goals.
“I grew up in Arcadia, a very conservative suburb in the San Gabriel Valley — so my parents let me pick between being a doctor or a lawyer,” Wu said. “I took all the right classes, graduated magna cum laude and got into Gould.”
Law school proved to be a whole different kind of challenge for Wu, and it pushed her in ways she couldn’t have anticipated.
“It was shock; law school was like boot camp every day — it was nice to have my support system around, especially my family and the familiarity of USC,” Wu said.
All things considered, Wu’s interesting path shaped her into an ideal candidate for The Amazing Race. She decided to put fashion on hold when CBS offered her the opportunity to be a candidate on The Amazing Race.
“In law school, I learned that life is about balance — which is how I got into fashion blogging, and what ultimately led me into pursuing The Amazing Race,” Wu said.
She started the audition process almost as a joke between herself and a close childhood friend. Both longtime fans of the show, they decided to post a video onto the casting webpage. Wu describes the audition tape as goofy, but it worked. The next day CBS called to inform her that they had seen the video and asked if she would be interested in pursuing her candidacy.
“I embarked on this long application process which included personal interviews, a written application and more videos,” Wu said. “Finally, the original person who had first called me reached out and told me to pack my bags, because I was going to be a contestant on The Amazing Race.”
Though Wu’s family was slow to warm up to her career as a fashion blogger, they have shown their undying support for her in The Amazing Race.
“My father calls me every week with tips and strategy from watching the show,” Wu said.
This season, The Amazing Race focuses on dating — it consists of six teams of real couples and five teams of total strangers on blind dates; they termed it the “most extreme date ever,” according to Wu.
Though the television cameras, exotic locations and outrageous tasks are definitely attractive, Wu said the most fun she has had on the show was learning more about herself.
“When you’re racing, everything is magnified,” she said. “I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for and I learned that after the race.”
Any girl who can make it through law school, reinvent her career and embark on a entirely new life path seems determined, but Wu has remained down-to-earth when it comes to her accomplishments, a quality she attributes to her Chinese roots.
“My culture really values humility, so I never really acknowledged how strong I was until I was really put to this test — after the race I live with no fears,” Wu said. “It’s about following my dreams and the race really culminated that for me.”
Catch Wu on season 26 of The Amazing Race tonight on CBS at 9:30 p.m. CT.