Moments before acrobat and aerialist Jen Bricker took the stage in 2009 to perform alongside Britney Spears‚ and in front of 20,000 people, she did 100 pushups to calm her nerves. “The pressure was insane,” Bricker, who was born with no legs, tells Us Weekly. “I was either going to fail or I was going to succeed!”
She was a clear success and went on to tour North America and Australia with Spears as a headliner. Now, the motivational speaker, who was given up for adoption almost immediately after birth, adds another accolade to her name: bestselling author. The 28-year-old exclusively opened up to Us about her incredible journey and her new memoir, Everything Is Possible, out now.
As a child growing up in Oblong, Illinois, Bricker recalls watching 1996 Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu on television. “I loved gymnastics and then seeing her,” she tells Us. “I remember she was small and I loved that because I was small.”
Their uncanny resemblance was no joke. When Bricker sat down with her adoptive parents to ask about her biological last name, she learned Moceanu was on her birth certificate. Yup, Dominique was her biological sister!
Bricker first met her newly discovered sisters Dominique and Christina in 2008. “For a long time, we’d only see each other about once a year, so every time they would really try and tell me information about my biological dad and how they grew up,” the L.A.-based performer tells Us. “I came in as a total foreigner to the family and things were very different from how I grew up. So it was like constant download.” Still, Bricker, who grew up with three brothers, was eager to welcome sisters into her life. And they’ve bonded over much more than flips and twists. “We talk about sisterly stuff,” she says. “If the topic of gymnastics comes up, then for sure we’ll talk about. But I would say it’s more about life than gymnastics.”
She’s still working on her relationship with her biological mother, describing the journey as a marathon rather than a sprint. “It’s going to take longer with her because she has her own things that she needs to work through and heal and let all of that grow,” admits Bricker. “I’m around, and I know when it’s the right timing it will happen.”
Having a new family hasn’t torn her away from her adoptive parents, who Bricker credits for her can-do attitude and encouraging her to follow her dreams. “I remember coming very clearly to the crossroads of finishing school or taking a performing career,” she says. “My parents said that you can go back to school anytime, but this opportunity is not going to be here. It was the right decision for me. My whole life changed.”
Since then, she’s never put limits on herself. “I push myself, so I’m like, ‘OK, let’s drop the excuses and just do it,’ but it’s my personality, legs or no legs,” she says. “I have just that drive and mentality.”In fact, that inspired her book title, Everything Is Possible. “I literally believe that,” Bricker continues “That’s the foundation of how I live. Your mind can transcend whatever you physically see in front of you. If you can overcome your mind into what you think, then you can literally do whatever you want. And everything is possible — not to quote the book — but really, I mean, that’s what it’s all about. It’s just in the head. You need to get past that.”
With a successful performing career, speaking opportunities and now a book, many of Bricker’s goals have already been achieved. Still, there’s one dream she hopes will come true: a conversation with her celebrity crush. “I’m putting it out there — Dwayne Johnson,” she gushes. “I would love to meet him!”
Hey, Rock, give her a call!
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