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Jen The Pen - conducted by James Johnson  

Jen: Not Quite The Ultimate Hustler

March 2006

ďThe Ultimate HustlerĒ was arguably one of the best reality shows to hit cable television in sometime. Aired on BET and organized by music mogul Damon Dash, the show chronicled a set of contestants in their challenge of becoming ďThe Ultimate HustlerĒ, which would equate to being Damon Dashís new personal assistant.

Up until this past December, fans watched weekly as each team member competed for the significant title, some inevitably being eliminated along the way. Naturally, people would pick favorites along the way.

While many of the contestants appeared conceited and arrogant to say the least, a few stood out. Jennifer Bayer, now known by many as ďJen The PenĒ, was one of the select few that stood out. While others were playing games, showing their arrogance and showing the least amount of appreciation for the position they were in, Jen was one of the most appreciative and humble characters on the show.

Things were a bit heated around mid-season, as she would nearly be eliminated for a botched-delivery to none other than P. Diddy. She received criticism for her mistakes, and was accused of setting up team-mate Shola Farrar in the aforementioned delivery attempt; yet, her love and dedication to the competition and the position she was in could never be questioned. Although she dodged elimination that night, she would inevitably be given the boot down the line.

Since the show has ended, Jen has carried on like a true soldier in battle. As the Executive Assistant of a booming Concierge service, she isnít hardly sitting around twiddling her thumbs. We recently caught up with Jen to see how things were going, and what else she had in store over this new year.

MVRemix: I just wondered at first if you would even want to be doing interviews and everything.

Jen The Pen: Yeah. Actually, there isnít any interview that I wouldnít do right about now.

MVRemix: Now going back to the beginning of things, how was it that you initially heard about The Ultimate Hustler?

Jen The Pen: Actually, I heard about it from my mother, who saw something about it in the newspaper. I figured it was already casted for. I thought I would have had a fair shot if I had tried earlier. Then I heard it on the radio on Hot 97, and I just figured, what have I got to lose?

MVRemix: Now you're based in New York, right?

Jen The Pen: Yes, Iím from Staten Island.

MVRemix: Was your goal always to eventually become a personal assistant?

Jen The Pen: Yes. That was my goal, you know, since I decided that I wanted to be in the music industry.

MVRemix: What were you doing before this all?

Jen The Pen: Well my first experience in the music industry was working with a subsidiary label of Epic Records. From there, I went on to work with a management company, which gave me the opportunity to work with a lot of producers and so forth.

MVRemix: Thatís really good, Jen. How were you able to get into those types of jobs?

Jen The Pen: Well, with the label, I started out from networking. There was this record store I would go to every day because I really wanted to work with DJ Clue. I was like 17 years old. I hoped to meet him, and I never did, but I met DJ Kay Slay. He and his people were starting this label up, and thatís how I was able to get in with that, just by being persistent. Basically, it all started from having a dream, pretty much.

MVRemix: Thatís beautiful, and it goes to show for other people that these things can be accomplished, and you can do what you and to do.

Jen The Pen: I know, and itís funny, because people are always asking me, "Whatís the number one hustling code?" And I tell them that they just should be persistent. You canít do anything else but be persistent.

MVRemix: Okay, so getting more into the show, I have to admit to being highly biased when it first came on, and actually, I somewhat still am. I just felt like, people go to school for years to do something like this, being a personal assistant, or working with the labels, and in this case, it seems like itís just being given away. Regardless that Iím working in the industry, that just bugged me as a student. I felt like that was the worst aspect of it all, but throughout the season, I grew to like some aspects of it. What do you feel were the best aspects, as well as the worst aspects, of the show?

Jen The Pen: To be honest, I donít think there was any worst aspect about the show. I just thing it could have been marketed better. It would have been nice if we had the opportunity to do magazine and television interviews. We were only being shown to BET viewers. While BET is a big market in the scheme of things, itís not as big as some of the other networks, like MTV, and VH1. Thatís the sad part about it, and thatís all that upsets me. I would do it all again in a heartbeat though. What I really enjoyed was that we were able to get a glimpse into Damonís world, and what heís really about. He does so much more than what people perceive.

MVRemix: Exactly. I know he does so many things that go unnoticed, and things that no-one really knows about. I know it had to be cool for you to see some of these things.

Jen The Pen: Heís not the monster that everyone makes him out to be. Going into the show, I thought he was just going to yell at us, and get on us. I felt like he was just going to make me cry [laughing]. In the episode where I did cry, it was not him that forced it. It was my team members that made me cry. He was the one there like, "Let it out, and are you okay?"

MVRemix: Even with you crying on the show, it still was cool in the end, because the world saw your true side, and nothing was polished up. So many of the people and their personalities were fabricated on that show. They just seemed so fake.

Jen The Pen: When I was at home and watched the show, if I was a viewer, not being on the show, I would be confused about some of the people and the things that they were trying to do.

MVRemix: In my mind, Iíve always seen the personal assistant as someone whoís conceited, egotistical, and cutthroat, which can be good or bad. Many of the team members seemed like they were all for self, and fit the category well. What made you different, and why would you have been best to win this?

Jen The Pen: Because Iím real, and I think thatís what everyone on the show loved about me. I think thatís what my fans liked. Whether you loved me or hated me, you could never say that I was not being real. I was mean, and I was humble, and I was there to prove myself. Ultimately, I did not win, but I think it was a win in other ways. Iím just hoping the right people see that.

MVRemix: Well youíre definitely capitalizing already, with the pen and all. I like that actually.

Jen The Pen: Thank you. When we were in the studio with M.O.P., I was writing down everything they had to say, so they ran with it, and said they would call me Jen The Pen.

MVRemix: Of all the people who didnít make it to the end, you are by far one of the most humble. As everyone gets kicked off and go on 106 and Park, they totally bash the show. To me that seems so ignorant to do that, because theyíre looking completely past the opportunity given to them, and the exposure theyíve received.

Jen The Pen: Yeah, itís pathetic, because Dame out you on, whether your website is blowing up, or whatever, he helped you. If you got kicked off, he didnít throw you under the bus, you did that yourself. When I got kicked off because I didnít get up as he came to the house, I couldnít be mad at him. That was my decision.

MVRemix: In the end, I think that was just a reason. Someone needed to go, and that was a reason for you to go.

Jen The Pen: I think they knew who they wanted to end the show. Whether Dame liked you or not, the production team knew who they wanted. That morning, I just kinda knew that it was my time.

MVRemix: Do you feel like there were certain aspects about you and your personality that were not brought to light, and perhaps should have been? In your last group, you were completely overstepped by Ray and Brian. They made you look so weak as a team member.

Jen The Pen: Yes, definitely. That goes for everyone on the show though. You saw a lot, but so much was edited out. The whole idea for our photo shoot came from things that I was saying. Little things like that, or putting the film together. My whole thing was I did not want to be a camera hog. Some people would only give ideas when the cameras were around, but I gave them around the clock, camera or no camera. I felt like we were being watched all the time. There were cameras all over the house. It was unfair at times, but I guess thatís how you get good television.

MVRemix: You also caught major flack when Shola got eliminated for giving Diddy the wrong bag. People felt like it was a set up. What happened with that?

Jen The Pen: That was so not a set-up. I would never set anybody up, and ultimately, has Shola not pulled the race card at the table, I probably would have been the one going home over it. She should have double checked the bag anyway, but I didnít set her up. It was the heat of the moment, with two bags in front of me. I mixed it up, and gave her the wrong bag, but it was not a set up. I feel like if I set someone up, I would get sent home, so why would I do that? It was not a set up.

MVRemix: You and Kira seemed to bond the most out of everybody.

Jen The Pen: We did.

MVRemix: Are you two still in touch?

Jen The Pen: Yes, we are. I think she is going to be a friend for life.

MVRemix: Thatís good to come off the show like that. People were able to see your bond.

Jen The Pen: You think so? We were really mad that there were so many things with us that were not shown. I mean, at the end of the day, we became friends, and we were competing against ourselves.

MVRemix: You and Kira were like my picks, as far as who I wanted to win. Definitely over Ray or Brian. And Tichanda, she seems like she came out of nowhere, and just should not have lasted as long as she did.

Jen The Pen: With Tichanda, they just didnít show as much of her.

MVRemix: Yeah, but once you were out, and it got down to the last few, I wanted Kira to take it. She seemed like the strongest candidate to me, and best of all, her heart was in it, and she really wanted to do this. Ray and Brian will throw you under a bus at the first chance given.

Jen The Pen: She was very strong.

MVRemix: So when were all of the shows recorded?

Jen The Pen: They did is last June. Everybody was home by 4th of July.

MVRemix: I always wonder how it worked, and when everyone involved would find out.

Jen The Pen: I wanted Dashawn to win. He was really focused on everything. He put a book together, and heís out selling it. Heís a hustler, and if no-one sees that, theyíre fools.

MVRemix: So what is ahead for you?

Jen The Pen: Right now, Iím the executive assistant for a company called Platinum Lifestyles. Weíre a car leasing company, as well as a concierge service. We assist rappers, athletes, and so forth. I love the camera now.

MVRemix: The recognition is good though.

Jen The Pen: It is, and I love the feedback I have gotten from it.

MVRemix: What youíre doing right now is really good for networking, and getting new contacts.

Jen The Pen: It definitely is.

MVRemix: So your clients, they are actually buying the cars from the company?

Jen The Pen: Yes, ultimately they are. Weíre actually getting ready to do a reality show with Jerome Bettis. Our office is in a customizing shop. Itís going to be something like a Pimp My Ride, so to speak.

MVRemix: Where are you in five years?

Jen The Pen: Part of me wants to run with Jen The Pen, and become a new face, and then part of me just wants to have a personal assistant firm. Weíll see what happens.

MVRemix: Are there any final comments at all?

Jen The Pen: I am looking for a publicist. I really wanna get more television work. I am definitely looking for a publicist, or an agent. Fans can contact me at

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"...people are always asking me, "Whatís the number one hustling code?" And I tell them that they just should be persistent. You canít do anything else but be persistent."