22 October 2018

Jeni Freeland Berry has had quite the life on stage.

“Everywhere I went, my mother would put me in a talent show,” she laughs. “And then I would win.”

Jeni’s father traveled for his work, and she and her mother went along with him, giving her plenty of access to contests and pageants across the country. Jeni says she has held 15 titles, beginning as Queen of Georgia Babies, and eventually becoming a runner-up in the Miss America contest.

After retiring from pageants, she became a model and was featured on many magazine covers and, as she tells here, found herself as the model for Blue Bonnet for many years. But eventually, she decided she wanted a quieter life.

“Because I traveled all my young life, all I wanted was the white picket fence and cottage as an adult,” she says.

Jeni married and had two red-haired daughters, and today she is a proud grandmother of three, with three great-grandchildren and a fourth on the way. She chose Freedom Square as her home after she turned 90 and has called it home for over two years.

“My condo before was as close to the water as I could get,” she shares. “I thought I’d miss it when I left, but here I see beautiful flowers, ponds, beautiful lights at night. Everyone who comes to visit me says I have a beautiful apartment.”

Jeni enjoys her home at Freedom Square, calling it “a very happy place to live. It’s a safe feeling here; I have a lot of friends.”

And happiness is important to her. Jeni is a firm believer in positivity, often saying, “Age is a number; old is an attitude. I pray every day that I’ll be able to help someone in some way.”

Today, she says she’s trying to spend her daughter’s inheritance on cruise ships. She returned from a cruise in September for her birthday and is looking forward to another in December for her daughter’s birthday. She has no plans for slowing down anytime soon.

“My mother always told me I should write a book,” she laughs. “She wanted me to tell about all the things I didn’t do.”

 

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