Haute Mom: Janet Jones

Janet-JonesName: Janet Jones
Child & Age: Ava, age 4
Hometown/Current Location: Miami Beach, Florida
Quick Bio: Creator of The Vixen Workout and Leader of The Vixen Army, Janet Jones began her professional dance career as one of the Miami Heat Dancers. Janet has worked on projects such as the MTV VMAs, Latin Billboards, Latin Grammys, HipHop Source Awards, Vibe Awards, Premios Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud and the American Music Awards. She has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Nsync, Brian Mcknight, Diddy, Mase, Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson, David Bisbal, Olga Tanon, Alejandro Sanz, Usher and Pitbull to name a few. In 2012, Janet created The Vixen Workout, a cardio dance fitness class, to give women everywhere juggling the work-life balance an opportunity to cut loose in a club-like atmosphere, but within a secure environment.  The Vixen Workout is the latest fitness craze that is spreading across the country with sold out classes for more that require a waiting list in South Florida and New York.  For more information about Janet Jones and The Vixen Workout visit, www.vixenworkout.com

Connect with Janet:
Facebook – http://facebook.com/Vixenworkout
Twitter – @Vixenworkout, @JanetJonesDance
Instagram – @Vixenworkout, @Janet_Jones

Q: What is your “go to” snack/toy/show/trick when your kids start to fuss?
A: Chocolate milk and a fuzzy blanket or a “mimi” as she calls it, are my daughter’s comfort items. So, in our fridge, I have reachable sippy cups with milk and a chest with all her “mimis.”  I also keep a “mimi” in every car just in case she gets sleepy in the car ride.

Q: How do you balance being a Mommy and keeping your sense of self?
A: Because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you need to give up the things you love. I used to be a dancer, so dancing was definitely part of my identity. The Vixen Workout helps me scratch my performing itch while getting a killer workout. Keeping your sense of self-makes you a happier person and in turn a better mommy.

Q: What is your favorite piece of advice to new Moms?
A: Accept help. Talk to your friends about feeling overwhelmed (all new moms are), and don’t feel guilty if you are. Catch up on sleep every chance you get. You are not a bad mom if you take time for yourself. As a new mom, simply getting a mani-pedi can be the equivalent of a weekend getaway. Enjoy every second, as cliche as it sounds THEY GROW SO FAST!

Q: How do you incorporate fitness into your daily routine?
A: I incorporate “me” time, fitness, and girls night all in one hour of Vixen.

Q: How would you describe your parenting style?
A: I’m pretty easy going, her daddy is definitely the disciplinarian.

Q: Share your best or favorite place for a family vacation and tell us why.
A: We have the best memories just spending the day at the beach. Ava enjoys it so much.

Q: What’s your most memorable Mommy moment to date?
A: The first time Ava said “Mom, I love you”…. I died.

Q: As a Mommy what is it that you feel you do “right”?
A: I make sure she feels so much love from everyone she’s around.

Q: Share something you have learned about yourself since you became a Mom.
A: I always imagined myself as being the strict disciplinarian because that’s the role my mom had with me.  I’m the opposite, Ava runs me!

Q: Describe your “Haute Mom” (fashion) style!
A: The same style I had before baby.  Heels, great jeans, and a tee or tank. All because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have to dress like one. I’m still Janet, just much more fabulous because I have a baby now.

Q: What’s the best surprise you’ve ever done for your kids/family?
A: Surprise road trip to Disney!


Twerking Their Way to a Sweaty Workout Nirvana

As green and red strobes flashed around a darkened Midtown studio, some 75 women, many in animal-print Lycra capri pants and wedge-heeled sneakers, scrambled for lipstick touch-ups, then took their places for their exercise class warm-up.

“Now you’re going to give me a hair flip,” yelled Janet Jones, a classically trained ballerina and former Miami Heat dancer. “And ooh, hair flip. Ooh, hair flip.”

The women obeyed, repeating the words like an incantation while tossing their hair as (there is no other word for it) aerobically as possible. Ms. Jones, 32, segued to a “kitten pose” (rear end out, one leg bent), followed by a hip-swiveling, backside-shaking maneuver she called “ay papi, el papi.” Then she led the group in affirmations: “Damn, I look sexy for a Monday night,” four times, crescendo. Members of the Vixen Army, as Ms. Jones calls disciples of her Vixen workout, were ready to twerk.

To a soundtrack that was about two-thirds Beyoncé, one-third unprintable except for indefinite articles and conjunctions (and to which nearly everyone knew the words), the group performed suggestive dance moves that Ms. Jones has given equally suggestive titles, like “booty call,” “milkshake” and “ridin’ round and gettin’ it.”

Ms. Jones refers to this as “me taking urban hip-hop and Justin Biebering it,” but it’s also practical because the names make the moves easier to teach. There is some giggling when Ms. Jones or her instructors say things like “give me eight ‘ridin’ round and gettin’ its’ into 10 ‘milkshakes’ into five ‘booty calls,’ ” but mostly, there is just sweating. Hair flipping may not spike the heart rate much, but dropping it low certainly does.


Janet Jones, 32, created the dance routine in October 2012. CreditBarbara P. Fernandez for The New York Times

“We want you to get dolled up to sweat it all off,” reads the “vixen etiquette” on the website. Ms. Jones said her experience as a Heat dancer taught her that she moved differently when she thought she looked good.

Stephanie Muñoz, 27, said she used to ridicule women at the gym with makeup, but that her Vixen workout prep includes a manicure and her favorite Nars red lizard lipstick, a siren red. (She draws the line at getting a blowout.)

“It’s like a religious experience,” said Ms. Muñoz, of Astoria, Queens. “You start to feel better about yourself getting ready, and then you do the workout and you feel like a million bucks.”

Carla Acosta-Medina, 30, came to the $15 Midtown class with two friends who were intrigued by the workout when they spotted pictures of it on Instagram.

“You get to sing and dance and feel sexy,” said Ms. Medina, who lives in the Bronx and has a 14-month-old daughter. “You feel like you’re onstage performing with Beyoncé. When does a mom get to feel like that?”

If it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before someone turned twerking into a workout, well, Ms. Jones was regularly selling out classes of 125 people before Miley Cyrus’s performance at the Video Music Awards in August. The Vixen workout already had spread throughout South Florida almost entirely thanks to Instagram — sweaty selfies, often in kitten pose, practically are a part of the cool down, and have been since the very first class, attended only by Ms. Jones’s cousin and her best friend.


Ms. Jones encourages women to attend with makeup on, hair down and sneaker wedges.CreditBarbara P. Fernandez for The New York Times

“You only take a selfie when you’re feeling hot,” Ms. Jones said.

Post-Ms. Cyrus, Ms. Jones’s army began hashtagging their pictures with “twerk” or “twerkout” and labeling photos “getting my Miley Cyrus on,” and the workout caught fire. Last fall, classes began in Manhattan, Harlem and Astoria. Ms. Jones recently flew to Los Angeles to hire instructors; classes will begin there in April.

What makes Ms. Jones’s workout different from other of-the-moment dance cardio classes is that her moves are raunchier than the rest — moves most women older than 25 no longer feel comfortable doing in a nightclub, if they ever did. That’s because the workout was inspired by an episode at the Arkadia nightclub (now closed) in Miami, when a song Ms. Jones and her girlfriends loved came on, but the group grooved about as enthusiastically as junior-high boys forced to attend a school dance.

“It’s like you have your public persona of being a V.P. of a company, being a mom, and even in a nightclub you can’t let loose,” Ms. Jones said. “And I just thought, well, when can you let loose?” She added the affirmations because at the time, Ms. Jones was slowly emerging from what she called “my blackout period, when I was invisible,” when she lost her job as an administrative assistant and was unhappy in her marriage.

Unlike many boutique gyms, which focus on hiring hot instructors with genetically blessed physiques, Ms. Jones chooses approachable women who are “not the best dancers out there,” to make them relatable. Students are more likely to be singled out and told they look beautiful than corrected on form. In fact, there are no corrections, because “you can’t feel the music wrong,” Ms. Jones said.

Michelle Schloemer, 24, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, learned of the workout when a blogger she follows on Instagram gave it the thumbs up.

“Some workouts, like maybe a yoga class, you feel overshadowed by all these smaller women, but not here,” Ms. Schloemer said after Monday’s class. She checked her heart rate monitor: She had burned 40 percent more calories than she does on the elliptical machine, she said.

She ran over to join the class picture, everyone making a V with the first two fingers of their right hand. Ms. Jones surveyed her students and yelled: “I want to see every sex bomb,” before taking her place in front. After a couple of takes, the group splintered into twos and threes, the women throwing their hair back as they snapped photos and posted them on Instagram. This army is always recruiting.

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