Jen was born and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois to a dancer/choreographer and pharmaceutical manufacturing professional. After taking countless dance classes in her mother’s studio growing up, Jen found her true love of acting in a play at the age of 13 and never looked back. Jen was accepted into the prestigious Theatre School of DePaul University where she earned a BFA. Upon graduation, Jen worked extensively for the most well respected theatres in Chicago: The Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and the Writers' Theatre where she received critical acclaim for her work. The Chicago Tribune said, "While all the acting is capable, there’s truly extraordinary work here from Jen Dede. In a fiendishly difficult role, the elegant Dede offers a performance of great richness, capturing both Alison’s strength and her emotional dependence on her brutish and hurting husband.”
While in Chicago she earned her SAG card by landing her first speaking role in a feature film, "Payback", opposite Mel Gibson. After working steadily in Chicago and soaking up the one-of-a- kind theatre scene, and as many TV and film projects as possible, she decided to move to Los Angeles. Since moving to LA, Jen continues to work in film and TV, as well as theatre. Roles have ranged from a comedic mobster's wife with a heart of gold in "Who the F is Buddy Applebaum", to a desperate ex-addict looking to make amends in "The Mending", to the sweet down to earth girlfriend in "Somebody Marry Me" (the first ever ‘one–shot’ feature length romantic comedy). Jen learned to speak Czech for the film "My America". When Jen starred in the West Coast Premiere of "Mr. Kolpert", Variety Magazine called her a “tour de force... the acting equivalent of a star exploding into a supernova.”
Jen also works as a producer and writer. Jen produced “Reunited at Christmas” for the Hallmark channel with her dearest friend and co-collaborator on welcometowhatweare.com, Nikki DeLoach. She produced and starred in the comedic short, "B-Positive". Jen also produced a feature film and continues to develop independent projects. Jen is a member of the renowned classical theatre company, Antaeus, where she played the diabolical Regan in "King Lear", and doe--eyed Valerie in "Cousin Bette", adapted by Jeffery Hatcher.
In addition, Jen is a Senior teacher at Warner Loughlin Studios, a private professional acting studio in Hollywood. Jen has trained with Warner both privately and in The Master Class Workshop. Jen lives in Los Angeles with her husband,Thomas Vincent Kelly and they visit their home town of Chicago regularly.