Mrs. Feelgood by Steffi Kammerer | 3rd December, 2021 | Personalities
She spreads good vibes like confetti. On her Instagram account she sings, dances and bakes for her 11.4 million followers. On Netflix her family comedy “Yes Day” immediately reached 53 million viewers within the first month of its release. But Hollywood’s most cheerful superstar is not only a great remedy during a pandemic – the actress has also started a new career as an organic farmer. Her mission: to improve our children’s nutrition.
She is just as much the girl next door as a Hollywood superstar. A very unique balancing act only Jennifer Garner can pull off. Why? Because she is genuine! The secret ingredient to her success and the reason why 11.4 million fans tune in daily to her every move on Instagram. The supermom also just started a career as an organic farmer. A part that came naturally to her.
At the end of September, dressed in overalls and rubber boots, she posted a picture of herself on Instagram. We see her sitting cross-legged with her lap full of pumpkins, holding them as gently as if they were small children. The farm in Oklahoma where the photo was taken once belonged to her grandparents. Garner bought back the land in 2017, and her uncle now farms it. He grows some of the fruits and vegetables that Once Upon a Farm, the company she joined four years ago, uses for its line of organic baby food. Pumpkins, blueberries, kale, sweet potatoes, persimmons – everything is grown on a large scale here and preserved using high-pressure processing methods to make sure it retains its nutrients and vitamins. Added sugar? Most definitely not!
Jennifer Garner is the public face of the whole operation, and from the beginning, her contract stipulated that she be just that and play an active role on social media. For someone so protective of her private life, this must have been an enormous adjustment. In California in 2013, she and fellow actress Halle Berry successfully campaigned for more stringent paparazzi laws. Since then, it’s no longer legal to photograph the children of celebrities. Garner took her new role very seriously and made her debut on Instagram just days before officially joining Once Upon a Farm.
Now, Jennifer Garner has 11.4 million followers. Her channel spreads nothing but good vibes and she can be hilarious to watch. She loves to laugh, preferably at herself, which is really quite a rare thing in her industry. In one of her clips, just back from the dentist, she tries to say a tongue twister with her face still numb from the anesthesia. In other posts we see her having a glass of wine surrounded by piles of dirty laundry, or while hanging out with scarecrows. You can also watch her read a children’s book to her dog Birdie, build a plunge pool to a country-western soundtrack or dance a pas de deux with a friend (a prima ballerina from New York) in front of the family chicken coop. But chickens are hardly the only animals at her house: The Garner residence is also home to a dog, a cat and a beehive. Her Pretend Cooking Show is very hard to resist: Sometimes she’ll forget to put the lid on the blender, causing the contents to spray all over the kitchen. But what you won’t see is a housekeeper coming to clean up – Garner takes care of things like that herself.
Sporting dimples and a ponytail, Jennifer Garner displays no airs and graces – she’s the superstar next door. Like many other single moms, she posted her relief when lockdown finally ended and her children were able to go back to school. She also allows her followers see her as she is, her hair disheveled and with no makeup on. Years ago, on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show, she talked about how she and her children had caught head lice – something all parents hope will never happen, but sooner or later does. Leaving the house with the anti-lice product in her hair, she bumped into George Clooney, of all people.
Garner got her big break in the spy thriller “Alias,” stealing the show as a double agent over five seasons. This won her a Golden Globe and four Emmy nominations. When the show ended in May 2006, Garner was 34, and one of the most sought-after actresses of her generation One year earlier, she had married fellow actor Ben Affleck, already three months pregnant with her first child, Violet. Violet is now 16 and has two younger siblings: Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 9. For a decade – an eternity in Hollywood – Garner and Affleck were regarded as the golden couple. But in June 2015, on the day of their tenth wedding anniversary, the couple announced that they would be getting a divorce. It took another three years to finalize the process, but even after their relationship was over, Garner still called Affleck the love of her life. For his part, Affleck told the New York Times in February 2020 that their divorce was the biggest regret of his life. There was never any public mud slinging, and everything between the two of them was sorted out in private and with mutual respect. Garner and Affleck remained a family, spending Christmases together and going for walks on Sundays with the kids.
Garner stood by her ex-husband during his battle with worsening alcoholism. She was the one who drove him to a rehab facility in Malibu in the summer of 2018, even chasing away the photographers with a maximum of politeness, as is her wont. “Can I ask you guys a favor?” she inquired. “Just out of respect, can you give [us] some space?” She once explained her attitude toward the ever- present press camped out in front of her house quite matter- of-factly, saying: “In the morning you can either be making breakfast for your kids, making their lunchboxes, or getting paparazzi-ready! I know which way I’m gonna go.”
While other actresses her age complain about the lack of available parts, Garner focuses on her kids and their education. So much so that, roughly ten years ago, her agent gave her an ultimatum: Take the part of the doctor in “Dallas Buyers Club” or retire. She chose to continue her career and the movie won several awards.
Jennifer Garner will soon be turning 50, but she’s more in demand than ever before. In March 2021, she celebrated a huge success with “Yes Day,” a feel-good movie that struck a chord with audiences desperate for new content after months of COVID-19 restrictions. The Netflix comedy, which she produced, was also her idea. It’s a movie about a mother and father who let their children call the shots for 24 hours.
In the first four weeks after its release, “Yes Day” was streamed by 62 million households around the world – a Netflix record for a family film. A few months later, Garner announced that she had signed another deal with Netflix for a number of new productions in which she would play the female lead and act as producer. Part of the deal is a sequel to “Yes Day.” The concept of a Yes Day, a day when everything is allowed, is based on a book published in 2009, which Garner often read to her children. She says that ever since then, an annual Yes Day has been a family tradition. It must be great to be one of Jennifer Garner’s kids. She once told daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that, effectively, there were decorations up at her house from Halloween through Easter. These include plenty of cobwebs and handcrafted bats hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes she even makes the children’s costumes herself. She also bakes cakes on a regular basis and attends church with her children on Sundays.
Garner’s background makes her different from many other Hollywood types. The second of three sisters, she had a sheltered upbringing in Charleston, West Virginia, surrounded by bluegrass music and the ghost stories that people in the mountains tell each other. Her mother was an English teacher, her father a chemical engineer. Growing up, Garner wore her elder sister’s hand-me-downs, the overalls her mother had sewn herself. She played the saxophone in the school band and took ballet classes for many years. In 2007, she was named Sunday Gazette Mail’s “West Viginian of the Year.” When the area was hit by severe floods in 2016, Garner flew in to support those affected. During a fundraiser for the flood victims, she said: “I am here because of the community that I grew up in, it has formed who I am through and through.” Garner graduated from high school in Charleston in 1990 and started studying chemistry, but then changed course and decided to go into acting.
A story she has often told is how nonplussed New Yorkers reacted when she waved to them across the street. It’s what you do where she comes from. She can launch into an impromptu rendition of her state song and list facts about West Virginia as if she worked for the tourist office. During National Library Week she posted a tribute to Mrs. McCann, the librarian with whom she spent every free minute while in elementary school. She typed up a book that young Jennifer wrote, a book about a bear that goes to Mars, and even “gave it a spot on the shelf and a card in the card catalogue,” Garner recalls. Creativity always needs someone to recognize and nurture it. The actress freely expressed her gratitude, writing on Instagram: “I love you, Mom McCann.”
Since 2008, Garner has been working with Save the Children, the non-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of children all around the world. And seven years ago, she joined its board of trustees. Garner has testified before Congress, explaining to lawmakers what it was like to grow up alongside kids from poor backgrounds. She said: “I couldn’t stand up for them back then, but I can stand up for their families now.” Poverty was something that she was familiar with, she added. Both of her parents had grown up in families that didn’t have much and were forced to think twice about every cent they spent. But education was the key, and later, her parents were able to offer Jennifer and her sisters a better start in life.
Her particular interest lies in helping children who live in rural areas, and originally, she wanted to volunteer in schools. “But I quickly discovered the importance of birthto- age-five programs that involve going into communities and connecting with new moms,” she once said. “The young women I meet during these home visits aren’t pushing strollers and chatting; they’re often alone in a trailer without anyone to talk to about motherhood.” The program Garner is involved in teaches these young mothers how to support their children’s development in such a way that they can go to kindergarten.
In 2019, Jennifer Garner gave the commencement speech at Denison University, her alma mater. “If you’re lucky, your life will be 65 percent happy,” she told the graduating class. This figure has no scientific basis, of course, but it’s indicative of a pragmatic attitude that helps a person navigate their life. Work hard and don’t complain, that’s how Garner was raised. And according to the tenet: “What you grow is what you eat,” as she told Hoda & Jenna on their talk show once. That’s why she has always liked having a big garden. “My mom used to bake bread on Sundays, that’s why I bake bread.” She is also resourceful. Once, while she was still married, she noticed that her Los Angeles property had become infested with rats. There was also a lot of ivy, so she rented 120 goats, who quickly devoured the ivy that the rats were hiding in. She sent some photos to her husband, who was currently on set.
Jennifer Garner is in excellent shape. She has played her share of action heroes, but is too down-to-earth to buy into the cult of physical perfection. As hard as she tried, she would “always look like a woman who’s had three babies,” she told the “Happy Mom, Happy Baby” podcast. Garner works out five times a week with the same personal trainer that she’s had for years. When a part demands it, she’s perfectly prepared to add a few extra weights. For her 2018 movie “Peppermint,” in which she plays a mother who is out to avenge her murdered daughter, Garner turned herself into a fighting machine with arms not unlike those of a professional boxer.
In addition to mothering and acting, she’s expanding her new role – as Farmer Jen. Farmer Jen is also the name of the limited edition flavors that her organic food label has released. The Once Upon a Farm pouches feature a cartoon drawing of a brown-haired girl in overalls, and come in two flavors: Sweet Potato Pie and Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie, both of which are Garner family recipes. Once Upon a Farm donates 25 cents for every product sold to Save the Children, because the company has entered into a partnership with Garner’s favorite charity. The agreement is to provide a million meals to children in rural parts of the U.S. by 2024.
Once Upon a Farm was started by two young enthusiasts in 2015. They were joined by Jennifer Garner and natural food pioneer John Foraker in the fall of 2017. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, with points of sale increasing from 300 to 8,500. Today, the label’s organic applesauce and smoothies are sold at Walmart, Target and Whole Foods, among other stores, as well as on the company website. In a round of financing three years ago, the four go-getters successfully raised 20 million dollars of venture capital. “I am proud of the innovative business that we have built,” Garner said at the time.
Ever protective of her private life, she now appears to be single, although, after her divorce, she dated California tech entrepreneur John Miller for two years. But one thing is certain: She will be moving house. Having sold the property in Pacific Palisades where she and Affleck lived together, she’s now building a new home for herself and the kids in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. In May she went to inspect the building site with her parents.