Fitness

EXCLUSIVE: Ninja Warrior Australia's Jett Kenny on making Lisa Curry & Grant Kenny proud

Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny's son is all grown up and about to take on his toughest challenge yet!

By Bella Brennan

If you think Jett Kenny's face is familiar, you'd be right.

While the 23-year-old could pass as the Hemsworth's long lost brother, he's actually the son of the former Olympic power couple Grant Kenny and Lisa Curry.

Tonight, the professional life-guard will make his Ninja Warrior debut as his mum and dad cheer him on from the side-lines.

In this exclusive interview, the Sunshine Coast local talks to us about how he landed the Ninja Warrior gig, what advice his parents gave him before he took on the gruelling course and if his family would ever consider their own reality show...

Jett, a huge congrats on landing a spot on Ninja Warrior. How are you feeling ahead of your appearance on tonight's show?
I just know I'm going to cop some flak from everyone! All the boys are going to give me a bit of s—t for it but that's fine, I'm used to it.

Ignore them! We think it's mighty impressive to be on Ninja Warrior. How did it all come about?
I got pretty lucky, they sort of asked me to do it and I wasn't going to say no because I watched last year's season and I think I'm the same as everyone else who'd be lying if they didn't want to have a go of it.

I was fortunate enough to be able to have a go.

We understand there's an intense 20-minute test everyone has to pass in order to star on the show?
Yeah! It's just to prove that you can essentially hold yourself physically and you're not going into blind.

You've got to be physically capable to do some of the things, the first obstacle is quite basic but you have to prove that you can do it.

"I just tried to stand back and take each obstacle on mentally."
"I just tried to stand back and take each obstacle on mentally."

The course looks bloody hard, how did you prepare for it physically and mentally?
Obviously the first time you approach the course is the first time you get to go on it so that was mentally a big thing!

I just tried to stand back and take each obstacle on mentally before you have a go of it physically. You sort of have an idea, I went back and had a look at some of the previous seasons of the American series to try and get an idea of what obstacles there might be.

As for training, I didn't do a whole lot of it. I didn't have the best preparation for it, I tore my hands up and almost ripped one of my fingers up at surf life-saving so I didn't have the best prep.

I still did as much as I could...

It's completely different to anything I've ever done and it was a good experience.

Both of your parents are incredibly successful athletes and Olympians, did they have any advice for you?
Mum's advice was: 'don't get your hair wet!' Which ultimately is the aim of the game and not to fall into the water.

Dad was the same! They stand back and let me do my own thing and obviously they've never done anything like that before so they didn't have too many wise words other than 'don't get your hair wet and hold on!'

Jett's parents (centre) are sporting royalty - Lisa has a whopping 15 gold medals for swimming while Grant is a champion  ironman, surf lifesaver and canoeist.
Jett's parents (centre) are sporting royalty - Lisa has a whopping 15 gold medals for swimming while Grant is a champion ironman, surf lifesaver and canoeist.

Did you feel any pressure going on a show like this as you already have a bit of a profile because of your parents' sporting careers?
Yeah, there's always a bit of pressure whether it's from yourself or other people. I think everyone puts a bit of pressure on themselves. I personally didn't feel any pressure from mum or dad to do well. They thought it was pretty funny that I was doing it.

I obviously want to do well for myself but watching everyone else go on after you, it's not hard to watch but you're like 'damn it! I wish I did it like that!'

You also want to perform.

Do you think your mum and dad will be proud of you after tonight's episode?
I think they had fun watching it, they'll be proud of me just for getting up there and doing it.

The prize money this year is an eye-watering $200K, hypothetically what would you do with it if you won?
Pwoah, $200K! I haven't even thought about the prize money to be honest. It's one of those things that you win if you finish the course, no one finished it last year and the top guys were back this year to have another crack at it.

I'd buy myself a car and use the leftover [to invest] and ask Dad to give me some advice with where to place that.

Grant works as a professional life-saver and has started dabbling in modelling.
Grant works as a professional life-saver and has started dabbling in modelling.

Is there a special someone or a girlfriend who will cheering you on from the sidelines tonight?
Nah, the only female that's cheering me on is my Mum!

Mum and dad are on the sidelines and two of my mates from Sydney are in the stands supporting.

Our readers have just loved watching you grow up and your family seem so close. Can you tell us about the special bond you guys have?
Everyone just gets on well! Obviously every family have their tough times but, we're just a really close family.

Since mum and dad separated, mum never lived more than 15-20 minutes away. Now she lives about 30 minutes away but even the rest of our family, like our grandparents, live on the Sunshine Coast.

We've always been close to one another which really helps.

You also recently became an uncle to your sister's bub Flynn – congrats! What's that been like?
It's been pretty cool! It's funny with babies, you see other people and you're like 'yeah, it's just a baby.' But when it's your sisters, it's a different kind of special! It's been really cool and the best part is, when he starts crying I just give him back.

You've also had a pretty impressive run as an ironman just like your dad – is that something you two did together from a young age?
Yeah! I've done surf life-saving since I was about six or seven, it's just something I've grown up with.

Growing up, I didn't see it a whole lot of the old races because you have to pull out a VCR and player it on a video player but these days, everything is online and you can watch a race from the week before on YouTube.

Growing up, I had dad and the people I would watch race. Ky Hurst was a big inspiration for me, he was one of my favourite ironman.

There was also another big family celebration when you walked your mum Lisa Curry down the aisle during her recent wedding to Mark Tabone. How special was that?
That was pretty incredible! It's not something everyone would get to do. It was super cool.

Her brother was going to walk her down the aisle but unfortunately he couldn't get over here from Germany so she asked me if I wanted to and I said why not. It was really special.

We love knowing how the Ninja Warriors keep fit and healthy – what are your diet and fitness secrets?
My fitness is surf life-saving based, which involves training twice a day every day, then once on Saturday with a rest on Sunday.

I've started swimming again after a few years off and my alarm goes off at 4:20am in the morning. I swim for an hour at 5am, then go to work, then afternoons on the water in the ocean.

4:20 alarms aren't the most exciting things at the moment. I slept in my tracksuit pants last night and had my jumper in my bed with me, rolled out of bed, put my uggies on, then got in the car.

My diet isn't the best… People that know me know I don't have the best diet going so I won't tell everyone what I actually eat because it might break a bit of the ideals that go with it.

Your mum had a similar routine like that when she was training, do you think you inherited that commitment from her?
Yeah, she used to sleep in her togs! She enjoyed swimming a strange amount. I don't know anyone else that enjoyed swimming that much.

I'd put a challenge out to anyone that knows someone who goes to sleep in their togs because they can't wait to wake up and go swimming.

Mum and dad both have very strict training routines and my sisters are the same. A sleep-in for our family is 7am.

"My fitness is surf life-saving based, which involves training twice a day every day, then once on Saturday with a rest on Sunday."
"My fitness is surf life-saving based, which involves training twice a day every day, then once on Saturday with a rest on Sunday."

What about more TV or a family reality show Keeping Up With The Kennys?
That would be a pretty funny one but it would be pretty uneventful. It would be all of us training. We're not the most exciting family, we all just do our own thing.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians can hold onto the title until we decide to compete against them. I don't think we're outrageous enough compared to the Kardashians.

What else do you having coming up this year?
I'm just taking it as it comes. I'm potentially going to America in August to do the US surf life saving nationals.

I've got a bit of modelling here and there but it's not something I push. I don't really consider myself a model but I'll take work as it comes. The door is always open to try new things! But for now I'm just training and working and playing my computer games.

Australian Ninja Warrior continues at 7.30pm on Channel Nine on Monday, July 9

Good luck tonight, Jett!
Good luck tonight, Jett!