Q: What can you tell us about your name?
A: It is 35 letters long: Jalavender Jivinity Zinquerica Clowney. And that’s Jalavender with an “-er,” not an “-ar.”
Q: Why were you named Jalavender?
A: Lavender is my mom’s favorite color. My house is entirely lavender on the inside—lavender walls, hardwood floors, etc. At one point, the outside of the house was lavender. The only room that isn’t lavender is my older brother’s room. He has blue carpet. I love the color, and it’s not because of my mom. Lavender is all I know. I grew up with the color and was dressed in it. I incorporate lavender into what I wear every day.
Q: What has been your favorite college class?
A: Dr. Cussac’s 8 a.m. human sexual behavior class (PSYC 300).
Q: If you visit USC in 10 years, what would you like to see changed?
A: More intermixing, especially in the Russell House dining area, and more student diversity in different organizations.
Q: What are your postgrad plans? Will you stay in SC?
A: I was looking into medical school, but I’m going to explore my options. I want to travel, maybe study abroad. I would like to go to Central America or Africa. I’m also looking into working for Teach for America.
Q: You have the same last name as Jadeveon Clowney. Are you related?
A: Yes, I’m his cousin. I’m not his sister, as some people think. Around campus, if people hear my last name, there are often whispers of whether I know him or not. I grew up with Jadeveon. Our families and relatives have lived on the same street our whole lives even though he, his sister and I all went to different high schools.
Q: Were you a part of the college decision process for Jadeveon?
A: I knew he was coming to USC way before the decision was televised. I never pressured him to come here, but I believe I was a part of the reason why he chose this school. Jadeveon is a very family-oriented person. When he announced he was coming to Carolina, around 20 people per day were adding me on Facebook because of my last name.
Q: Your family seems tight-knit. What were some of your traditions growing up?
A: My grandparents gave their kids names starting with the letter “J,” and it carried on to the grandkids. All of my cousins have the same initials and have four legal names. Our family also speaks Pig Latin, and we always eat together. My grandfather cooks all meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—for the 13 relatives who live on our street.
(As a testament to the family’s closeness, even during our Q&A, Jalavender’s aunt, Jadeveon’s mom, called to talk to her.)
Q: Do you play any sports?
A: I played basketball, track, volleyball and softball before college. If I was good enough, I would have considered playing in college—but I did set a track and field sports record in middle school.