is mostly known for her stint on Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs Favorites
, and on her season she made it almost all the way to the end by playing with integrity and a sense of confidence that managed to be inspiring without being intimidating. Since her time on reality TV came to an end, Jones has spent much time traveling across the country and up to Canada on motivational speaking gigs, and she has also founded the non-profit "i am that girl", which, as a brand, is "chick empowerment with an edge." On May 31st 2009, Jones and her "i am that girl" co-horts threw what they hoped will become an ongoing event, simply titled "The Man Panel."
Hosted by the Westwood Brewing Company in Los Angeles, Jones moderated the panel of five men, including actor Seth Gabel
(Dirty Sexy Money
, the upcoming Young Americans), Amazing Race
All-Stars winner Eric Sanchez, and former USC Quarterbacks assistant Yogi Roth.
Jones recruited these men from her own personal Rolodex-those she has known professionally but also those who are her friends on a personal level. Admittedly, she wanted to bring together guys with different perspectives, who have had different relationship experiences, in order to offer clashing opinions. "We wanted the good, the bad, the reformed," Jones explained. "We wanted to make sure we had a blend of every different kind of guy, and we wanted conflicting answers so that girls will realize there really are no blanket answers for guys in general."
With the panel, Jones hoped she managed to "bridge the communication gap between men and women. We really wanted to empower women in their relationships, but we didn't want to do it through seminars…or a school setting. We wanted to do it in a fun venue, with a cool band, with hot celebrity guys. While they're being entertained, they're also being educated." And Jones got her wish, as the opinions offered by the panel sparked discussions amongst the women there-- some strangers who sat down at a table together and made fast friends that evening-- but also talk of bringing the same issues up with their partners when they returned home.
Taking questions from online readers as well as the live audience, the men weighed in on everything from girls who play games to why some guys cheat to where the line is between sexy and slutty. They definitely did have contradictory opinions-even sometimes within themselves- which kept the audience chock full of women (and a few other guys!) abuzz with laughter as well as "talk amongst yourself" commentary. Gabel, the only married panel member (his wife is actress Bryce Dallas Howard
), joked around that he had to think to "back in the day" when he was still dating, and he joked that it seems so much easier these days, "with all of the texting."
This is the first such event for Jones and "i am that girl," but based on the turn-out and lively crowd interaction, Jones expressed interest in not only doing more Q&As with the guys but flipping it and doing some with the girls, as well.
Story by Danielle Turchiano
Starpulse contributing writer