Q&A: Real Housewife Jana Webb on building her brand and the show’s biggest beefs
Every week, we interview one of the Real Housewives of Toronto about the latest episode and life after the show. This week, the quirky hustler Joga Jana
You are kind of the Bethenny Frankel of the Toronto Housewives—young, single and hungry to build your brand. How much of your decision to appear on the Housewives had to do with plugging your Joga business?
It was a big part of the decision, to be completely honest. I actually met Bethenny three years ago, and her advice was to get on a platform where a lot of people can see what your business is doing. So I would say it was probably 75 per cent of the decision. I hope that doesn’t sound too aggressive.
I’m sure you won’t complain, then, if I ask you to tell us about your newest business venture, Joga House.
It’s a new studio gym in Yorkville that just opened to the public this week. We do bodyweight training classes. It’s very urban. It’s underground. There’s loud music playing. People come in and they don’t want to leave. Plus, it has a bar. We are capitalizing on the two biggest trends in Toronto right now: sports and yoga. I work with professional athletes from around the world, but we wanted to open our doors to urban athletes, like people running marathons.
You travel a lot, but what’s your ideal day when you’re home in Toronto?
I’m just learning about this because I have been on the road so much. Last weekend I had a Sunday Funday, and I had to ask, “What does one do in Toronto?” Most of my life I’m either at the ACC, the pitch at the BMO Field or taking my son to his hockey games. I love sporting events. If I’m not doing that, I’m eating at a really nice steakhouse.
In the last episode, you were really raring to go after Kara for insulting Joan. What did it feel like to know Kara was creating a narrative about your friend behind her back for the cameras?
My first instinct is always to protect my friends. There was the question of whether I should tell Joan, or whether I should resolve the issue myself by confronting Kara so Joan didn’t have to worry about it. But Grego said we had to tell her. Joan is such a nice person and she doesn’t deserve that. That was hard for me. She’s like me. We’re sensitive and we care what people think about us. By that point, I didn’t trust Kara. My intuition about her from the very first episode was off. We were always extending an olive branch to give her another try, but every time we did that she would break the branch off the tree.
Why do you think Kara went after Joan, instead of you or Grego?
That’s the part we can’t figure out. After her Muskoka dinner party, where we had to too much wine, it became clear we had different ideas of what a dinner party should look like, so maybe she just didn’t want to be compared to Joan. I don’t have a cottage in Muskoka, so maybe that’s why she left me alone.
What were you feeling when Kara directed you to the sales rack at her trunk show?
My friends have been giving me shit for not reacting to that verbally when it happened. A few things were going through my mind that day: I was already cognizant of Roxy’s situation [that there were no dresses in her size], because there was barely anything that would even fit me. When Kara pointed me to the sales rack, I no longer wanted to try on anything. It was so insulting. It did not feel good.
What is your biggest takeaway from putting your life on camera, now that you’ve seen Housewives air on television?
I wrote a manifesto before the show started filming to remind me to be myself, to be authentic and to be accountable. I’m a bit quirky, I say what I’m thinking and I’m always hustling for my business. I think my true self comes through on the show because that was my intention going into it.