6 Things You (probably) Don't Know About Me
In case you’re new around here, welcome!
My name is Kelli Tennant, and I wanted to take a second to introduce myself to you with a couple random things you should know about me. Here it goes!
I am such an introvert! I know, you’re probably thinking, “How is that possible when you work on television and speak to thousands of people at a time?” I totally get your sentiment so let me explain my dual personalities.
There is what I like to call “TV Kelli.” I become her when I get to work. When I know I have to entertain fans and players and live at a certain energy level, I flip a switch and step into that person. I am very comfortable here and thrive in this environment. I love to host a show, do interviews and engage with people. It truly makes me the most happy to tell people’s stories and make them feel seen and heard.
Unfortunately, I really struggle living at this energy level for long periods of time. I am a total empath on top of being an introvert, so being with people in such intimate spaces for an extended amount of time is tough. I often take on their emotions, without trying, because I step into their experience and take on their pain so they don’t have to feel it.
So when I am not at work, I really am very calm. I have created a sanctuary at home with candles, incense, chill music and a cozy aesthetic. I spend A LOT of time alone on purpose because for me, that is how I recharge. A week on the road with constant interaction in an unfamiliar environment can really send me into a tailspin so I am very conscious about the trips I take, events I say yes to and the way I operate daily so that I don’t get into an energetic funk.
I have a younger brother named Steven. He is the BEST. But I can’t say I always felt this way. (and vice versa!) We didn’t really get along until I left for college. I was definitely the perfectionist, overbearing, bossy big sister. (We are two years apart.) According to my mom, when he was first born, I tried to do everything for him. I wouldn’t let him eat or walk on his own. I just wanted to take care of him. Fast forward to being older kids, and I would order him around during our little dance routines in the living room. I tried to dictate his every move.
We are VERY different people. He is much more laid back and can go with the flow. He is not a perfectionist, he isn’t worried about what other people think, and he has kind of been the rebel. We really never connected or understood each other.
It’s funny to think about so many years of our lives being very separate and on different pages. Now, we are really close. I respect him so much. He is truly my voice of reason and he knows me so well. He will call me out when I am getting crazy and he sees me for who I am, without judgment. It’s been a rollercoaster of a friendship for us, but I love him more than I could imagine, and I am beyond proud of the man he is becoming. By the way, he literally saves people’s lives for a living as a lifeguard and now member of the Coast Guard. So inspiring!
I am a former high school All- American, CIF Champion, 4-time Volleyball Festival Champion, and USC middle blocker and co-captain of a Final Four team. I started playing when I was 10. Our next door neighbors own the dance studio I was a part of and when they opened up Viper Volleyball Club in Temecula they asked me to play. I was resistant and AWFUL at first. But I was already 6’1’’ and athletic so it seemed like I should give it a real try. I’m so glad I did. By 12, I was being recruited by the best schools in the country and went on to have incredible success across the board and a full-ride scholarship to USC. It was a dream come true and I am grateful every day for the opportunities volleyball created for this awkward tall girl from a small town.
I have many health issues. I had pneumonia in high school and then mono for 8 months at 17. Then I was forced to retire from playing volleyball at 19 while at USC, after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I was bedridden, depressed, in excruciating pain from head to toe, couldn’t see straight, had a numb and dead left leg that dragged behind me, and misdiagnosed for 6 months before the Rheumatologist finally came to a decision.
For the past 13 years, I have been in a painful and often dark health battle. Countless doctors, tests, diets, and multiple bouts of anxiety and depression has really been a challenge. There have been days, weeks and months where my body has completely shut down and I haven’t left the house. Just getting out of bed was too much.
In July of 2017, I found my Functional Medicine doctor, Dr. Lekkos, and he completely changed my life. After our first conversation together and a myriad of tests, he confirmed what I felt all along. I don’t have Fibromyalgia. It is an umbrella diagnosis doctors give people, usually because they aren’t doing the right tests and can’t find an answer so it’s a way to give people something tangible with a name.
I have Epstein Barr Virus, leaky gut, not enough good bacteria, SIBO, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the MTHFR genetic mutation and food allergies. Since I starting treating for these actual issues, everything is different. Just over a year later, and I turned a HUGE corner. I am beginning to feel like a normal person who doesn’t live in chronic pain and doesn’t have to nap every day and sleep 12 hours each night. MIRACLE.
I’ve been working in sports as a host and reporter for the past 12 years. I began my career with internships at USC, Fox Sports, Fox News/Entertainment and the AVP. After college, I was hired by ESPN at 21 to be an analyst for college volleyball. I then went on to work for multiple networks including PAC 12 Networks, Longhorn Network, E! News, MSG Varsity, and most recently I spent five years at Spectrum SportsNet covering the Lakers, Dodgers, Galaxy and Sparks.
I was so fortunate to work at so many networks with incredible people who gave me opportunities to fail and get back up and try a ton of different roles to figure out what I really loved to do. I also did interviews with some of the greatest athletes of all time including Landon Donovan, Magic Johnson Steve Nash, and Nneka Ogwumike.
I learned a ton about how to listen, make people comfortable, handle high pressure situations, story tell in less than two minutes, fight for myself and keep things in perspective. In March, I resigned from this job for many personal reasons, and have gone on to pursue my dream and fulfill every aspect of my life.
I am part Mexican (Iberian + Portuguese + Spanish + Native American) and my family is from Jalisco. My dad’s half is Swedish, Irish and Danish. So I’m one of the tallest Mexicans you will meet, though many people have told me that all the tall ones come from Jalisco so that makes sense! And on that note, I AM 6'1"!!! This is the most common question I get. People are funny.
My mom is an incredible cook, which she learned from my Abuela. I grew up eating the most amazing Mexican food. Mom’s chicken tacos, guac and rice with egg, bacon and green onions get me every time. Oh and I can’t forget the beans, made from scratch. And chilerellenos are my FAVORITE food. If I was going to die tomorrow, last meal is above. We are also a Tecate family. Do it right or don’t do it at all.
Unfortunately because of all my food allergies, my poor mom has to make me special versions of most of this, but we still find a way to work in the tequila and spicy salsa so it works! ;)
So that's a bit of me in a nutshell! I love all the questions I get from you about my life and journey! The lessons are never ending and I'm grateful for every experience. I'm not someone who believes in regret, and I know in my heart, every step, good or bad, led me to where I am today and I am better and stronger for it all. Stay tuned, plenty more of this to come. And let me know if you enjoyed this! I am here to serve and support you.