Grls I Know - Janna

Tell me about yourself without mentioning work.

I am a hopeless romantic. Loyal to a fault. I love rock n roll, art, clothing design, and all things macabre.

Where did you grow up?

South Jersey.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN NEW YORK CITY?

16 years.

Tell me what it's like living in New York.

New York has a diversity like no other. New Yorkers tell it like it is. It's rich with history and culture. You can get around without a car and walk your ass off. Although, the subway is a blessing and a curse!

In light of the recent election, how does it feel to be a woman in the United States right now? 

It is a sad state of affairs. I grew up surrounded by religion and I am ashamed that people that call themselves religious would vote for a misogynistic asshole. I feel like we have turned back time. But we need to focus on lifting those around us and spreading love. Love conquers all. 

DID YOU HAVE ANY STRONG FEMALE INFLUENCES GROWING UP?

My mother was a rock star. She left home when she was 18. She worked in the steel mills and drove a cab in Chicago. She was engaged four times before she got married, then was married for 48 years. She would do anything for her family and defended them no matter what. She always took in those in need and gave of herself endlessly. She made me who I am.

 

DOES ‘BEING A WOMAN’ FEEL LIKE AN ACTIVE, ALWAYS-PRESENT PART OF YOUR LIFE OR IS IT NOT NECESSARILY SOMETHING THAT INFLUENCES YOUR DAY TO DAY?

Being a woman is a very important part of my day to day. It infiltrates every aspect of my life. Especially now in light of recent elections. Even though we have come so far, I feel like we have just taken a gigantic step back. I feel even more like I have to fight harder every day to empower those around me and show by example that women have an equal voice.

What Is your experience with female friendships? I have some girlfriends who come from big girl gangs and others who have single close friends all over the place.

I have always surrounded myself with strong female friendships. Some span over 20 years. They are spread over the country. But when we talk and/or are together it is like time hasn't passed. They know me inside and out. Life gets in the way sometimes, but true girl friendships stand the test of time.

Does it feel easier or harder to make female friendships as you get older?

I think as you get older your priorities change. For me, I choose quality over quantity. You never have enough time as you get older, and I tend to choose more carefully those I spend time with. I want to spend time with those I can encourage, and those who can encourage me. Cause let’s be honest, life can be shitty sometimes.

Is there anything you wish women would talk about more with each other?

I am open and honest with my girls.

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Tell me about your first job.

The first job I had was babysitting when I was 12. I couldn't believe my neighbors trusted me to watch their kids! But the one that lead me to where I am now was at a catering company I started working for when I was 14. I worked my ass off to where they trusted me to manage events.

What's your job now?

I am an event producer. The best part of my job is to nurture those around me. I see so many producers treating their employees like shit, yelling, belittling. I feel like people aren't taught the right way to throw an event, and how to treat those around them. I appreciate great work ethic and I like to take girls under my wing and give them opportunities to grow and learn.

What motivates you to work hard?

This is two fold. My parents instilled in me at a very young age strong work ethic. If you want something, you have to work hard to get it. Nothing in life is free. It is a trite saying but it rings very true. I believe this pertains to all aspects of life. Relationships included. Relationships are hard work and you have to fight for what you want. But I digress! Second, I work hard because I love what I do and always strive to be better.

What advice would you give to young women starting out in your field (or any field) - or maybe to your younger self?

Work ethic is everything. I surround myself with people that have a strong work ethic. I work my ass off and I expect those around me to do the same. I don't stand around and delegate. I am in the trenches with everyone around me. That is the only way for your team to respect you. As a woman, I feel you still have to work harder and prove yourself, unfortunately, but that is why I support and uplift those who want to learn and put forth the effort.

 

WHO (OR WHAT) IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?

Black panther.

What song have you been playing on loop lately?

My husband was in a band called Ghoti Hook. On his last album called "2 Years To Never" he wrote me a song called "Next To Me". It is a love song, but bittersweet because we were going through a lot of shit at the time. This year has been rough and I recently have been playing this to remind me that love conquers all.

Dinner with any celebrity, living or dead?

Tom Hardy. He is my celebrity crush. I admire his choices as an actor, and he is a huge animal advocate. Oh, and not hard on the eyes! What isn't to love? 

What was your first concert?

Bon Jovi. As I said, I am a Jersey girl.

What was your most recent concert?

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, on the night of the election. Only thing that got me through!

Guiltiest pleasure?

Romance novels.

I LIKE TO THINK OF ALL MY GIRLFRIENDS AS BEING PART OF A MAGICAL COVEN OF STRONG, INDEPENDENT WITCHES. AS A WITCH, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST POWER?

Love.

'GRLS I KNOW' IS A COLLECTION OF CONVERSATIONS WITH SOME OF THE GREATEST WOMEN I KNOW.

INTERVIEWS ARE PUBLISHED EVERY MONDAY.