Victoria’s Secret alums Jasmine Tookes and Josephine Skriver are the fitness fanatics besties who’ve been keeping us in shape via their joint Instagram account, and now they’ve parlayed their love for all things sporty and stylish with their first-ever athleisure label JOJA. From catwalk bombshells to bridesmaids and now business partners, saying that they’re joined at the hip is an understatement. We caught up with them to discuss all things friendship, entrepreneurial goals, their dream of growing JOJA into a worldwide community, and their plans to coordinate pregnancies!
How did you two meet and did you quickly become best friends, or did it take a while?
Josephine: To be fully honest, I think it took a while but I think that comes down to us both being super shy people. We met in the fashion industry about 12 years ago when we were both starting out, doing shows and sitting backstage. Our first friendship date was at the gym!
Jasmine: When we started doing Victoria’s Secret, that’s where we really developed our friendship and discovered that we both had a passion for working out. From there, we would start to hold each other accountable for the gym and that’s kind of how we started to become really great friends.
Why was this the right time to delve into starting an activewear brand together?
Jasmine: We officially started our social media community through the JOJA Instagram back in 2016, but it was never with the intention of starting a brand. It was more of a platform for us to show our workouts, which I think is something that is so nice about JOJA. It’s come so natural for us to go into this next step because people are asking us everyday “What are you wearing to work out?”, “What are you wearing in these videos?”, “What’s your favorite brand?” To be honest, we weren’t really happy with any brand.
Josephine: Every other fitness brand has a few great qualities, but there were always a few things we wanted to change. I mean, we have lived in athleisure brands and activewear outfits for over 10 years now, which makes us feel pretty knowledgeable about it, so it was really cool to start making our own. It really came down to JOJA’s community constantly inspiring us to dive into the activewear space. In a way, they asked for it!
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Were you always interested in fitness and sports growing up? Are either of you big into professional sports?
Jasmine: Yes, I played sports my whole life! I was a gymnast for 15 years. I played volleyball and basically all the sports you play in high school.
Josephine: I would do every sport possible, but played soccer for the longest out of all of them! I’ve always been very competitive and loved the team aspect of everything. I believe that transpired into my passion for sports in general. I’m not a professional of any kind and I’m not skilled to play professionally, but I love watching people kill it on TV. Whether it’s watching the NFL play Sunday football, the Europe Cup in handball, or the Winter Olympics, there are so many things to look forward to. I just love sports, it’s a huge part of my life.
Tell us about the 28-piece debut collection, the ‘Goalfriend Collection.’
Jasmine: We were super inspired by the way that we like to coordinate our outfits with each other. When we would work out in our Instagram videos we would always switch tops with each other. I would be wearing a white top and bottoms and Jo would be wearing black bottoms and top, and then we would switch, and people would always comment on that. We thought, ‘Why don’t we make a collection where you can match with your best friend but also swap?’ It was super fun to play around with these coordinating styles because we haven’t seen it done before. I feel like there is something for everyone in the Goalfriend Collection, especially with the price range. Our lowest item goes for $54 and our highest is $104.
Josephine: Yes! When she calls me at 6 AM, I try to cancel, but she is already dressed in our collection. I’m like ‘OK, I have to go now!’ Not only do we book [the workout] together, we also coordinate outfits, and that’s really what JOJA has been about since day one. It’s about motivating each other and knowing that we’re stronger together. Bringing a friend along really does help your fitness and health journey. We also wanted to find that perfect fabric that could fit with our lifestyle of traveling and always being on the go, but also make us motivated to jump down into a full fitness sesh no matter where we go. That’s why we created the Butter fabric for this collection—it’s so comfy. It wouldn’t matter if I was flying to Tokyo or wearing it to the gym; it’s a perfect everyday piece.
What foundations were the label started on?
Jasmine: The coordination of sets comes from wanting to work out with your best friend and hold each other accountable in your fitness journeys because you have these matching outfits. We want it to make you feel motivated by looking really cute!
Josephine: JOJA was started with the foundation of inspiring people and ourselves. We wanted to share our workouts because there are so many myths about lifting and the health aspects for female fitness in general. Just being able to share that journey and how different it is for each of us, while also being able to do it together, makes it fun. We wanted to add that into our collection and the brand. We realized not only did we inspire people, but our community inspires us so much, and they motivate us to keep goingp! If I know we have a IG Live or everyone in the community is going to get up and workout, I don’t want to skip out because I signed up for something that is bigger than us now.
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If you had to choose only one set as a favorite, which would you choose?
Josephine: I keep going back and forth! I love our comfy Butter styles but I think the fashionable, friendship ones are so special. I love the one arm design in our Long Sleeve One-Shoulder FormFit Bra paired with the Classic FormFit Leggings.
Jasmine: Yeah, the Long Sleeve One-Shoulder FormFit Bra is my favorite. It also comes in a couple of different color combinations—there’s a tan and white option and a black and army green as well.
Jasmine—congratulations on your recent nuptials! Tell us about the dreamy Zuhair Murad gown!
Jasmine: My dream dress! It was such a special moment for me. I walked in Zuhair Murad’s show 12 years ago. I would always do his couture shows and since the first show I did, I always said he was going to make my wedding dress. I literally knew from that moment that this guy knows how to shape a dress. He’s just incredible and always does beautiful beading work. It all started with me asking him if he would like to make it for me, and thankfully, he said yes. I’ve had a Pinterest board for the last five years—I am one of those girls that is obsessed with weddings and planning, and knew exactly what I wanted. I sent him my inspiration and he sent back the most beautiful sketch, which I actually have here and plan on framing soon. He really just hit it right on the head and knew exactly what I wanted. I made a couple of tweaks—like making my train 15-feet-long, which now, looking back, was not practical to wear down the aisle and walk in! My inspiration definitely came from Grace Kelly. She was all over my Pinterest board. I wanted a modern take, but not too modern—I still wanted it to feel a little bit vintage and timeless. I didn’t want the fabric to be too white or the lace to be too perfect. I can literally talk about this forever, but it is my dream dress. I still have it. I’m just gonna wear it on a normal Saturday…
Josephine: You looked like an angel when you walked in!
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Josephine, last time we chatted, you were still narrowing down your wedding location. Any updates?
Josephine: Yes, I finally locked it down! It’s happening somewhat soon. I can’t fully disclose when or where yet because we are keeping it on the down-low. It’s a place that is super special to both me and my fiancé. I cannot wait to get married and share more details once we get a little closer.
Have either of you welcomed any buzzy new wellness practices into your routines recently?
Josephine: Yes, and now I’m a weird spokesperson for it, but I really believe in dry brushing and this lymphatic [drainage] tool. One of our favorite lifestyle gurus, Melissa Wood Health, posted it on her page and I was like, ‘What is this?’ I already do the lymphatic drainage for my face, but she was explaining this is how you incorporate it on-the-go for when you travel. It’s one of the things that I can bring along, similar to an Epsom salt bath. Literally, you just dry brush your body before you shower. After you shower, you take oil and this wooden tool that’s like a massive Gua Sha for your body and it really gets it out! I have seen a huge difference when I’m consistent with it. That’s the key with everything!
Jasmine: I always keep the simple, basic routine. I did start juicing! I have this juicer by Nama and it’s so amazing—I’m obsessed. It’s a cold press juicer, so the juices last in your fridge for up to four days. It’s different from the other ones because it doesn’t have a motor, so you are cold-pressing it yourself so the heat isn’t taking out all the nutrients. When I do it, my skin feels great. When I’m feeling bloated, I really see the difference.
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Fashion Week is nearly upon us! Any designers or runway trends you’ve been keeping tabs on?
Josephine: Honestly, I’m just excited for the world to be a little more open again. It’s something that’s been super hard to dip your foot back into with everything that’s been going on. Hopefully everyone gets inspired by JOJA’s new collection and there will be a lot of friendship on the runways!
Who are the lifestyle/wellness gurus you’re following most on Instagram these days?
Josephine: Melissa Wood Health! I get so much inspiration from her. She’s a dear friend of ours and is such a heartwarming person. It’s so impressive to see how she runs a business, is also a mom, and just how she makes it happen!
Jasmine: It’s incredible. I met Melissa back when she was working in New York nightlife! She is absolutely killing it. She’s amazing and so inspiring. We just love Melissa!
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What are your hopes for the JOJA brand?
Josephine: For us, the most important thing is for the community to keep growing after seeing the friendships that have bloomed worldwide. There is a girl from Europe that has become friends with another girl in the Philippines, and they wake up at weird hours to work out together. It’s incredible to see how international the reach of JOJA is, especially in a time where people are feeling lonely. The community is there to lift each other up, and if we can keep inspiring women to be healthier together while feeling more connected, that’s our dream for JOJA.
What’s next for you both, in terms of personal projects/goals?
Jasmine: I don’t know if I have a personal goal because JOJA, to me, is personal. My goal for JOJA is to continue to build our team! It can’t just be the two of us. We didn’t just slap our name on a product, so I think [a goal] for us is building a team around us that can really help to support and grow JOJA into the brand we want it to be.
Josephine: I’m trying to get married! Third time’s a charm, right? If COVID interferes one more time, I’m done! We would also like maybe a night or two off from work after spending every night of our life with JOJA. Is that a goal? Can I have a day off? JOJA is such a personal thing because it’s been our baby for so long and we are so excited that this is finally happening! I haven’t been so excited about something in a long time.
Jasmine: Speaking about babies…after Jo gets married we are going to have babies at the same time, so that’s another goal! Maybe at the end of the year.
Josephine: Jasmine is planning my pregnancy now! But it would be ideal for us to be pregnant at the same time.
Jasmine: Yeah, then we can make JOJA maternity wear!