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They are tall, beautiful, intelligent and driven, yet the differences between siblings Jessica and Janina Joffe are, in a way, more apparent. Fiery-haired and extroverted, Jessica, the elder sister, spent nearly a decade in Manhattan modelling, writing and seducing the city’s social scene. Janina, deadpan and blond, has made her home in the art world, working at New York’s Neue Galerie and London’s Haunch of Venison. In 2011 both entered new phases in their respective careers: November saw the UK release of Jessica’s feature film debut, a biopic of Sam Childers called Machine Gun Preacher, and the launch of East of Mayfair, the online art gallery Janina founded with her friend, auction house specialist Alexander Montague-Sparey.
East of Mayfair is based around a virtual Georgian house, illustrated by Pierre Le-Tan, with rooms designed by Thibaud Herem. The site is a new shopping platform for culture-savvy aesthetes, where each room in the house is curated on a regular basis. “East of Mayfair will be an accessible online destination for art and design collectors that allows them to shop from their computers and see how each piece fits into the context of a home,” Janina explains.
Avenue 32 caught up with the up-and-coming Joffe sisters during one of the siblings’ rare appearances in the same city, to talk style, substance and what they most admire in one another.
Avenue 32: You guys haven’t lived together for a long time, right?
Jessica: Not since we were teenagers.
So what’s it like when you’re at home together?
Jessica: What do you mean?
Well, do you argue? Steal each other’s clothes?
Jessica: Yes! My sister is always stealing my clothes. I used to always steal my sister’s clothes, because I would never bring any of my own and hers seemed more appealing (they weren’t mine and they were so neatly stacked). Now, I am forever finding some dress or skirt or jumper of mine in her closet, or I’ll see a picture of her on Facebook wearing something that belongs to me.
Janina: That’s a lie! That’s stuff you have given me and then forgotten.
Jessica: [Laughing] That is not stuff I’ve given you!
Janina: It’s stuff that you’ve left for three-plus years, or you’ve given to me, forgotten about and then it looks better on me. Then you’re, like: “Oh, I want that back. It’s mine!”
Jessica: My favourite thing my sister does, because she’s so passive aggressive, is to say: “Oh, that’s really nice. Can you get me one? Can I have it? Don’t you want to give it to me?”
Janina: That’s true.
Jessica: With everything I wear.
Janina: Even if it’s brand new.
Jessica: [Mimicking Janina] “Don’t you want to give that to me?”
Janina: [Mimicking Jessica] “Oh, I just bought that.” Can I have it? I’ve never seen one like that before.
Jessica: [Mimicking Janina] “I wouldn’t know where to find that!”
Janina: But, I think, other than that, we don’t fight much anymore. Right?
Jessica: We really don’t. We basically have the same opinions about most things now, so there’s nothing to fight about anymore.
What about politics, art, films and things like that?
Jessica: Ideologically we’re on the same page completely, and aesthetically too. We have slightly different style, but…
Janina: I’d say there’s a 60% overlap.
Is there anything that you covet from her wardrobe?
Jessica: From Janina’s wardrobe? Yeah, she has a really good Margiela dress. I kind of want to steal it, but don’t tell her.
Janina: You saw that?
Jessica: [Laughing] Yup! When you were at work, I went rooting through your closet.
Janina: [Laughing] You’re so horrible!
Jessica: Janina wants everything from my closet – but we’ve already covered that ground. There’s nothing in my closet that she doesn’t want, except maybe my hippie dresses, but I don’t even know when I wear them.
Janina: The closet you have is like seven closets, whereas mine is two. Jessica has more clothes that can fit into….
Jessica: I have two walk-in closets, but my clothes and shoes still don’t fit in them.
Janina: Two walk-in closets – and 17 chests of drawers. They’re all full. You can’t find anything because it’s all stacked so high. I’m more streamlined. I throw everything away/don’t have that much stuff, so it’s easier to oversee everything. Also, we both work from home so we don’t have to get dressed up to go to work.
Jessica: Going to auditions is a whole different ball game; it’s almost as if you have to look at your closet like a fancy-dress box. I don’t think it’s a good idea to walk into an audition dressed just the way you feel like being dressed, so you always have to pick things a little more deliberately.
Janina: From your period drama selection!
Jessica: I now have my wardrobe arranged chronologically.
Janina: You’re, like: “This time I’m going for a real 90s look.” Oh, right, that’s every day.
What characteristics do you admire in one another?
Jessica: Janina is not as impulsive as I am. She’s much more measured – sometimes I wish I had a little bit of that. She is more reflective; I tend to just jump into things and see what happens.
Janina: You can turn that around by saying that I could be more spontaneous, well, not recklessly so, but I’m pretty OCD when it comes down to it. I would say that Jessica is more creative and artistic in the sense that she is in the business of producing work by writing and acting. I wish I had a little more of that.
What about when you go to each other’s respective cities? What are the things you like to do?
Jessica: I am pretty sure the important thing we do together is to go dancing. Right? We try to get dressed up and then go dancing. The last time I got dressed on my own, Janina said I looked like a 1980s leather-clad figure skater. I don’t think it was a compliment.
Janina: When I’m in LA, it’s important to go to the mall. It’s a childhood memory from visits to America. There’s nothing like it in Germany, where we grew up.
Jessica: In LA we go to the mall, and we go dancing. In London we go to all the museums and then go dancing. And eating! We ate so many bagels on Brick Lane.
Janina: Oh my God, it was so good! OK, so in order of priority: it’s dancing, then eating, then cultural…
Jessica: Culture with a..
Janina: Culture with a ‘K’.
And then going to the mall.
Jessica: Then going to the mall – obviously!
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|Master Size (IT)||36||36.5||37||37.5||38||38.5||39||39.5||40||40.5||41|
|ITALY / EU||IT/EU||36||36.5||37||37.5||38||38.5||39||39.5||40||40.5||41|
|UK||6 5⁄8||6 3⁄4||6 7⁄8||7||7 1⁄8||7 1⁄4||7 3⁄8||7 1⁄2||7 5⁄8||7 3⁄4||7 7⁄8|
|US||6 3⁄4||6 7⁄8||7||7 1⁄8||7 1⁄4||7 3⁄8||7 1⁄2||7 5⁄8||7 3⁄4||7 7⁄8||8|
|Inches||21 1⁄4||21 5⁄8||22||22 1⁄2||22 3⁄4||23 1⁄4||23 5⁄8||24||24 1⁄2||24 3⁄4||25 1⁄4|