From the Fall 2011 Edition of A Distinctive Style Magazine
By Rachel Sokol
In an exclusive interview with A Distinctive Style, war veteran, actor, dancer and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez, and his best friend Daniel Vargas, discuss success, being a role model, and ways to support the troops.
As J.R. Martinez is walking from his home to a car—enroute to The Tonight Show With Jay Leno—where he’ll be Jay’s featured guest, you can hear Los Angeles residents cheering for him, calling his name. He stops to greet them kindly before climbing into the waiting car. Apologizing for his weak mobile phone service, he says, “Sorry, my signal isn’t that great here in the valley.” After we briefly discuss the pros and cons of various cell phone providers, I ask if he’s ready for his Jay Leno interview.
“To be honest, I was hoping I could grab a bag of Doritos on the way or something, but I didn’t have time!” he laughs as he settles into the car ride to Jay’s studio. It’s been a busy week for J.R. Actually, busy is an understatement, and perhaps insane is a better word to use. Not only is he making the talk show rounds, he spends hours of time practicing his two-step. J.R. is currently a contestant on Season 13 of ABC’s hit reality show Dancing With the Stars. (DWTS) [Editor’s Note: At press time, J.R. remains in the competition]. His professional dance partner is Karina Smirnoff, who has become a dear friend to J.R. and vice-versa. “Karina and I pray right before the show starts,” he says. “Right before I go on stage to perform, I kiss a necklace of a saint that I always wear and I always do the sign of the cross.”