Barbara Barrington Jones
Barbara Barrington Jones is a former model and classical ballerina, and is an international motivational speaker and image consultant, and philanthropist.
Jones was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. After she graduated from high school, she moved to New York City to pursue her passion for ballet. She lived in a convent in the Bronx while she was a student. For two years, she danced with the New York City Ballet and then joined the Atlanta, Georgia Ballet.
Her first marriage was extremely abusive; her husband regularly threatened her at gunpoint. After twelve years of marriage, he shot himself, leaving her with a son and a daughter. She knew later that he suffered from manic depression, a disease not identified in the 1960s.
Mending from that difficult period in her life, she discovered her business sense when she opened two Barbizon modeling schools. She met her future husband, a much-older man named Harold R. Jones, in an elevator. After two years of courting, they married in 1974.
They were both Catholics who were looking for a new church, and on a hiking vacation to Utah, they visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She had been praying to know more about Jesus Christ and where to find Him, and felt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered her the answers. She wanted to be baptized immediately, but it took three years of being taught by ten pairs of Missionaries for the family to be baptized.
After thirty years of marriage, her husband passed away. He owned thirteen companies and one of them was sold for $120 million. While he had built those businesses, she wrote books and became a motivational speaker to help women. She ran a camp for women for eighteen years. Her book titles include, The Incredible Gifts of Women: 12 Gifts That Will Change Your Life Now, The Inside-Outside Beauty Book (with Sharlene W. Hawkes), The Confident You: A Guide to Eternal Beauty, Dear Barbara: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions from Teenage Girls (with Janet Thomas), and Straight Talk for Parents: What Teenagers Wish They Could Tell You (with Brad Wilcox).
She moved to Utah in 2010 and moved her camps for women and underprivileged youth to Thanksgiving Point. She also relocated her foundation’s offices there. Her foundation donated $3 million to Thanksgiving Point for the construction of the Museum of Natural Curiosity, which opened in 2014. She also donated $2 million to Utah Valley University for the Wee Care program that provides childcare for student mothers.