Columnist Jenice Armstrong on “Sexy Singles,” Getting Doxxed, and Her Best-Ever Philly Meal
21 questions with the veteran Inquirer and Daily News journalist.
My name is … Jenice Maria Armstrong. I’m a little nervous giving out my middle name. If people know that and exactly how old you are … I’ve been doxxed before. I get stalkers. But I was raised Catholic, and you had to have a saint be a part of your name, so: Maria.
I grew up in … Washington, D.C., in a middle-class neighborhood that looks like Mount Airy.
The last time I was in church was … before our columnist Maria Panaritis did her big takeout about what the local priests did. I can no longer in good conscience go.
My faith is … deep. I’m a believer. But I just can’t go back to church.
I met my husband … on Match.com 15 years ago, and our first date was on Kelly Drive, for a bike ride.
The state of hip-hop today is … abysmal. I cannot. It’s … offensive. The N-word. I don’t dance to songs with the N-word in them. The B-word. That kind of stuff — I can’t, and I won’t.
The thing I’m most proud of about my job is … that I get to write about people who would not have been covered otherwise. I want to tell the stories that have been ignored.
My Daily News Sexy Singles project was … fun, fun and fun. We had a 14-year run. But the papers have consolidated, my job changed, and, well, I hope at some point we can revive it.
My parents taught me … to work hard, and that life wasn’t always going to be fair.
Stu Bykofsky sits right next to me, and he is … my friend. I owe him a debt of gratitude. Years ago, shortly after I got here in the ’90s, I had this horrible editor, and I just put my purse on my arm and said, “I’m going home,” and I walked out. Stu gets onto the elevator with me, cigarette in his mouth, and says, ‘Ah, fuck him. He’ll be gone before you.’ I came back the next day, and he was gone soon.
The first concert I attended was … the Jackson 5, in D.C. My dad sat with his hands over his ears.
People would be surprised to know that I … am six-foot-two. I thought I was six-one, but my husband measured me. My dad was six-six and my mother was five-10, so …
The best meal I’ve eaten in Philadelphia was … at Le Bec-Fin. I miss that place. These days, I make a lot of vegan food at home. I’m veganish. I’ll still eat a shrimp or a crabcake.
On a typical Saturday, you’ll find me … in the gym, lifting weights and doing cardio. So much of my work is in front of a laptop, so when I can, I like to move.
To people who say that newspapers are dying, I say … you’re absolutely right, but people still want information. The industry model is broken, and no one has figured out a way to fix it.
One thing about Philly that really pisses me off is … the crime. The crime. The nonstop crime.
I am very bad at … dancing.
One movie I can watch again and again is … Sex and the City. Either one. Two of the best movies of all time.
The most famous people I’ve ever met are … Barack Obama, Oprah, Hillary Clinton and Nelson Mandela.
One historical figure I really look up to is … The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. It wasn’t that long ago that African-Americans couldn’t get hotel rooms, vote in some places, be fed in certain restaurants or attend state schools. This happened to my parents.
I’ll stop doing this job … never. I’ll be the little old lady holding up the news conference, showing up late with my notebook. Yup. That’ll be me.
Published as “One of Us: Jenice Armstrong” in the March 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.