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Jessica Springsteen reveals what competing internationally has taught her about prejudice

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Jessica Springsteen, US show jumper

Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. What will US showjumper and Olympic hopeful Jessica Springsteen make of our existential questions?

What is the meaning of life?

Being surrounded by family and friends and relationships that you cherish.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

That’s a big one. Hopefully you develop a moral compass that gives you the ability to guide your decisions. It takes discipline to navigate your ethical life and stay true to your tenets whether they be religious or philosophical.

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Where is your happy place?

I’m a bit of a home girl, so I like to be home on our farm around my family and friends.

Nature or nurture?

I believe it’s a bit of both. My parents [Bruce Springsteen and singer-songwriter Patti Scialfa] would say that my brothers and I had specific personalities right from the start, but I think how you are nurtured can tip the scales when you are challenged.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

Both are important Chasing being liked is not good for anyone and you can’t demand respect. I know it’s a cliche, but you do have to like and respect yourself before anyone else can.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

Being a kind and compassionate human being.

Who or what is your greatest love?

Besides my family and close relationships, I would have to say my horses. Training, competing and taking care of them is one of the greatest joys of my life.

When did you last lie?

I never lie! I’m lying right now.

Does the supernatural exist?

I like calling a psychic once in a while for fun, but I don’t necessarily believe.

Are you fatalistic?

Absolutely not. I don’t like the idea that people are randomly rewarded or punished.

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What is your greatest fear?

Losing the people I love.

Animals or babies?

Animals. They are my babies right now.

What talent do you yearn for?

To be fluent in a few languages.

Do you like to be complimented?

I do, but I don’t depend on it. It’s icing on the cake.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

Pretty high. When I was about three, my dad sat me up on his motorcycle. My leg brushed against the hot tail pipe and I ended up with a second degree burn which went undiscovered until my mom gave me a bath later that evening. I still have the scar in the shape of a seahorse. To this day my dad gives me seahorse trinkets.

What book do you recommend most to others?

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s a beautiful meditation on the clash between tolerance and prejudice. I read it when I was very young and it’s stayed with me.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

Asking for help.

What food sums up happiness?

I have a very happy relationship with Pepperidge Farm Goldfish [cheesy fish-shaped crackers].

What have you never understood?

I’ve never understood prejudice of any kind. I enjoy competing with people from many different countries and many different cultures. It’s one of the great things about my job. I find it sad how hateful people can be towards one another.

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What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

Where’s Waldo?

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

Both. The unknown is frightening to me. When I was young I always read the last chapter first to know what was coming.

Quinoa or Quavers?

Quinoa. I try to keep it in my diet because it’s a good source of protein.

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Jessica Springsteen represents the United States in showjumping competitions around the world. She is currently competing in the 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour.

Image: Camera Press/Chantelle Dosser/Figarophoto

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