9:00am PT by Emily Hilton
Women-Only Jane Club Closes Its Doors, Shifts to Digital Hub
The Jane Club — a women’s private membership club in Los Angeles founded by actress June Diane Raphael and producer Jess Zaino with a focus on inclusivity and working moms — is closing its doors.
The Larchmont neighborhood location, like most businesses and clubs across the city, temporarily shuttered March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After briefly reopening twice in the past seven months, Jane Club leaders made the move to permanently close while at the same time shifting to an online community called Connected Jane.
"It was a hard decision, a really painful decision,” Raphael tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Women were not ready to come back and work in an indoor, communal setting, and they weren't ready to have their children in that setting. I understood that."
Raphael and Zaino founded the Jane in 2018 to provide a workspace for Hollywood moms amid a boom in private club openings across the city that included The Wing, San Vicente Bungalows, AllBright, Spring Place, h Club, NeueHouse Hollywood, Soho Warehouse and Little Beach House Malibu Club, among others.
“Our intention with the Jane Club has always been to take care of the women to who take care of everything else,” Raphael says. This mission is carrying over to Connected Jane with virtual offerings that start at $50 a month. The array of programming includes community connections in the morning, meditation, and diversity, equity and inclusion lab sessions led by chief equity and inclusion officer Neelamjit Dhaliwal.
"Through all the visions of what the Jane Club can be, central to that is, 'How do we leave any space we enter with greater justice than when we started?'" Dhaliwal says of her work at the club, where she recently led a DEI lab on cultural appropriation and Halloween. "We're not trying to get people to 'be right,' we're trying to get people to want to get it right."
The club has also maintained its dedication to children’s programming. Chief kid officer Chudney Ross, daughter of Diana Ross, ran “the Nest” in the club’s physical space, a child daycare with organic snacks and age-appropriate programming. On the new virtual platform, Ross has designed children’s programming to engage children while mothers are working from home, including music classes, book readings and talent shows.
In terms of future plans, the club is working on new programming as well as expanding the platform. Jane Media will be the club’s media arm, including writers workshops and podcasts, the first of which will be The Deep Dive co-hosted by Raphael and actress Jessica St. Clair (She’s Out of My League). "We want to foster the artists in our community and help them get their work out there,” Raphael says.
While closing the Larchmont location was a difficult decision, Raphael and Dhaliwal say the future looks bright: Membership has increased by more than 400 percent since the pandemic started, with Janes in 35 states and four countries. They credit that to not having to be in L.A. to experience what Jane is all about. Adds Raphael, “We want to keep expanding and reaching more Janes."
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.