Hollywood Reporter: The Jane Club Fetes Larchmont Village Flagship
"We’re joining an entire chorus of women who are demanding more for all women," co-founder June Diane Raphael said at the party which welcomed guests J.J. Philbin, Tess Sanchez and Chris O'Dowd, among others.
The Jane Club co-founders (Grace and Frankie actress June Diane Raphael and producer Jess Zaino) officially opened the doors to their new Larchmont flagship Thursday with a fete that drew some Hollywood’s heavyweights, including New Girl writer J.J. Philbin, Fox’s executive vp casting Tess Sanchez, actors Chris O’Dowd, Retta, Paul Scheer and Adam Scott.
While private clubs and co-working spaces have been popping up around Los Angeles over the last few years, from The Wing's new West Hollywood location to the San Vicente Bungalows in WeHo and Little Beach House Malibu, The Jane Club is the first to focus on motherhood.
With the self-appointed title, "The Mother of All Workspaces," the organization has a slew of amenities to back up its claim. Starting at $250 to $5,000 a month, Janes have varying access (through the tiered-membership program) to communal workspaces, bookable private rooms, blowouts, visits with an on-call doctor, pilates and yoga in a secluded garden with celebrity trainer Amy Rosoff Davis and childcare. There are designated rooms where children can take naps or have a learning experience with Chudney Ross, who brought her company Books and Cookies along with her as "chief kid officer."
After guests had a chance to properly tour the three-story space or have their aura's photographed by Auragami, all convened at the bottom of the stairwell to hear speeches from Zaino and Raphael.
"We’re joining an entire chorus of women who are demanding more for all women,” Raphael said, surrounded by her female team. "The Jane Club is demanding that motherhood is not seen as a branding tool, but rather a political weapon. We are demanding that women are not forced into motherhood, that they are not stigmatized if they choose not to be mothers and if they choose to be mothers, that their children are not seen as a liability or a line item."
She went on to further explain that she has heard nothing but "conversations around women having it all," but praised The Jane Club for actually supporting women through acts. "There are countless panels about how one woman balances her one life with her kids and her elderly parents and her self-care. No more panels. More infrastructure. More Jane Clubs."
The lack of interest in panels was met with a laugh by the crowd and especially resonated with an original club member, musical artist and chef, Kelis. "I’m not from L.A. so to find a community that’s doing what we’re doing, it ticks all of the boxes," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "We have to be able to support each other. And I agree. No more panels. I don’t want to just talk anymore. I want to do stuff. I want to be heard. I want my voice to be a part of a collective. I think that’s really important."
Kelis further explained that having her voice heard is "what's great about The Jane Club" for women. "There are so many women who are different on every level. It’s not a 'kumbaya, braid your hair' [place], it’s ‘Your amazing, I’m also amazing; let’s do something together.' I feel like that’s what we should be doing."
For Philbin, supporting the club was an easy choice.
"I’m a writer and when I first had my little babies I was just trying to figure it out,” she said. “I didn’t have this. I have horrible memories of driving around with my pump in my car and my laptop and trying to find a place where I could just have a moment away from my kids to remember what I do and to do it well and it really didn’t exist. When Tess [Sanchez] told me about this place. I had such deep feelings right away. I remember feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere in those first few years. I felt like I was in this limbo of half mom and half writer and there was nowhere that made sense."
She continued: "I have to imagine there are a thousand moms in that situation. In a perfect world, you can take five years off, but that’s not the reality for most of us. You have to keep going, you have to keep producing things. For most people motherhood comes at a time where you’ve accomplished some things in your life, but you haven’t made it yet, so you have to hustle."
That sense of limbo was not lost on television producer Ross, who is also the daughter of singer Diana Ross. "My mom worked my whole life. When she was with me, I knew that I had her attention and, if I needed her, she was going to be there for me and that is what I want as a Mom," she said. "I want my child to know that I’m on when I’m with her, which is sometimes hard because sometimes I don’t want to play Barbies; I want to check my email. But when I’m with her, I want to be present and I am present."
While the club does clearly cater to women, seen in the plethora of expecting mothers on the scene, it also welcomes men and women who never plan to have children. However, Zaino still calls The Jane Club "an incredible place of births," referring to ideas as well as motherhood.
"There’s a lot of birth happening; birthing actual children and companies and ideas and actualization," said Raphael. "It’s been really incredible to see."