Carmelita Jeter: Popcorn, purses, parts
Birthplace: Torrance, Calif.
Twitter handle: @CarmelitaJeter
Twitter followers: 45,982
Fifteen things you don't know about Carmelita Jeter:
1. When Carmelita was a high school freshman at Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), her basketball coach suggested she try out for the track team to stay in shape during her offseason. She showed up to tryouts wearing basketball high-tops and crushed the 100 meters in 11.7 seconds.
2. It's pronounced "Jetter."
3. No, she is not married to Derek.
4. "Carmelita the Cheetah" isn't a new nickname: At the Smithsonian National Zoo, there is a year-and-a-half-old cheetah named Carmelita, as well as one named Justin (after sprinter Justin Gatlin). Cheetahs can run far faster than humans -- one cat set a new best time of 5.95 seconds in the 100-meter dash last year.
5. Tye, her black-and-gray shorthaired cat, is a bit ... feisty. "She was my first cat -- I have four -- so she's extremely spoiled and doesn't really like people being around me," Carmelita admits. Tye has developed a reputation at the vet (they're often greeted with, "Is Tye going to be nice today?") and is known to hijack plates of human food, including chicken, fish and chili. "I once set my bowl down to use the restroom and when I came back, Tye was just killing my chili beans and rice!"
6. Once a week, she meets with celeb trainer Jeanette Jenkins (other clients include Alicia Keys, Christina Applegate, Kendra Wilkinson and Robin Thicke) for an hour of yoga in a studio overlooking Century City. Carmelita describes it as "intense and very sweaty," but she always feels happier afterward.
7. Despite the fact that she hails from Southern California, people are forever asking if Carmelita is from Texas; she has a slight Southern drawl and has no idea where it came from.
8. Want something signed by The Jet? Send a SASE to: Carmelita Jeter, c/o USA Track & Field, 132 East Washington St., Suite 800, Indianapolis, Ind., 46204.
9. The top five most-played musicians on her iPod: Janelle Monáe, Kelly Rowland, Tamar Braxton, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Monáe is her favorite: "She makes me drive down the street singing -- and I can't hold a note."
10. You'll find her at the movie theater every week -- "Prisoners" was a recent fave -- but her all-time favorite flick is "Clueless." "I wanted to be Dionne so bad," she reminisces.
11. At the movies, her go-to snack is caramel popcorn -- so much so that she'll boycott a theater that doesn't carry it.
12. That glittering 2012 ESSENCE cover shot featuring Carmelita with Gabby Douglas, Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix? Each athlete was shot individually and the images combined at a later date.
13. Bishop Montgomery christened Sept. 11, 2012, Carmelita Jeter Day, honoring its prized alumna with a pep rally while also taking time to remember the lives impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (The school lost Chad Keller, a 1989 graduate, who perished when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.) At the end of the rally, which included music, spirit squads and videos, the school dedicated one of its October Denim Days to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, in honor of Carmelita's aunt, Brenda Washington, who lost her life to breast cancer. Later that night, Jeter received a key to her hometown from the mayor.
14. Hair today, gone tomorrow: Carmelita doesn't like to keep the same hairstyle for more than two months. She'll alternate between bangs, side parts, curls and long locks. Her current 'do features brown highlights and jet-black lowlights with a deep side part.
15. The lady loves to shop, indulging in a self-described shoe-and-purse fetish: "I die for a pair of Loubs. Chloes. Saint Laurent. I have these Giuseppe [Zanotti] wedged tennies that are so fun." As for purses, she rocks Chanel, Hermès and Saint Laurent, but her heart belongs to a giant orange Goyard from Barneys. "My friend, [track star] Jason Richardson, calls it my $4,000 shopping bag, because I throw everything in it. Popcorn, nail polish, the mail, cat toys, tax documents. I just cleaned it and found a pile of Skittles and Sour Patch Kids in the bottom."