When two stiletto-strutting Victoria's Secret models decide to turn their love of fitness into a platform, Insta success follows.
On Tookes: Manuela top, $225, and Pola pants, $340, both at Maje, NYC; Another Pearl hoop earrings, $75, Alexx choker, $50, Coin pendant necklace, $75, Pearly Chic anklets, worn as bracelets, $75 each, Smooth Stacker rings, $18 each, and Heavy Stacker rings, $25 each, all at liliclaspe.com; Baby Love ring, $164, at APM Monaco, NYC. On Skriver: Sleeveless dress, $1,035, at ports1961. com; Quinton earrings, $92, at adornmonde. com; Smooth Stacker rings, $18 each, and Heavy Stacker rings, $25 each, all at liliclaspe.com.
Can anyone remember what models did before Instagram came along?
Social media has made it so that pretty much every day is a photo shoot. That’s even more so the case for the beautiful people of the world. Not only do models have to show up for work when they’re booked for a professional gig, but they also have to “bring it” any time they want to post something from their everyday lives.
Their Instagram handles are their brands. Models Jasmine Tookes, 28, and Josephine Skriver, 26, took that idea one step further when they started their co-account JoJa (@joja), which has accumulated 672,000 followers.
Their goal is to inspire their friends, fans and acolytes not with images of unrealistic and unattainable beauty, but with health, fitness and spiritual encouragement. Their efforts were on full display during the recent SWEAT 2019, a fitness festival hosted by the two beauties held at The Surf Lodge.
On Skriver: Madeline dress, $160, at baukjen.com. On Tookes: Claudia Dress, $275, by N12H at Anthropologie, Americana Manhasset; Catalina earrings, $295, Alexx choker, $50, Cara necklace, $50, Smooth Stacker rings, $18 each, and Heavy Stacker rings, $25 each, all at liliclaspe.com; CSARITE ring, price upon request, at ericacourtney.com.
With social media, “you’re able to have your own voice,” explains Tookes, who grew up in Huntington Beach, California. “Before social media was around, models were just models. Now we’re able to be so much more.”
Tookes and Skriver met about a decade ago. “But somehow we never talked a lot,” says Skriver, who was born in Copenhagen and now splits her time between Nashville and Manhattan. (Her fiance is musician Alexander DeLeon, lead singer for the rock band The Cab.)
Then they both became Victoria’s Secret regulars, “and I just found out how awesome she is,” says Skriver of Tookes.
Skriver says she admired more than just Tookes’ personality. She also, obviously, couldn’t get over her friend’s perfect frame: “Jasmine had a really good booty. I asked her, ‘How are you built with that tiny body, but you also have a shape?’” (Skriver is 5-foot-10; Tookes is 5-foot-9.)
Tookes explained she had gotten those curves by weight training. “We started bonding over our whole fitness journey,” Skriver recalls.
Skriver grew up playing team sports, while Tookes focused on gymnastics. In her early 20s, Tookes took barre and Pilates classes. But at 23, she began weight training. “I started really understanding what it takes to develop muscles and build a nice shape,” Tookes says.
Gown, price upon request, at mariodice.com; Griffin belt, $134, by B-Low the Belt at Intermix, East Hampton and Southampton; earrings, Tookes’ own; Alexx choker, $50, and Sierra Coin necklace, $220, both at liliclaspe.com; stackable ring, price upon request, at ericacourtney.com; gold and diamond rectangle bracelet, $7,480, and Snake bangle with pavé diamond and ruby, $3,740, both by Sydney Evan at Intermix, East Hampton and Southampton.
To show her what it was all about, Tookes brought Skriver to a training gym off Canal Street in New York City called the Dogpound. (There is also now an outpost in West Hollywood, Calif.)
“It was an easy, safe space to be introduced to weights,” says Skriver of her initial experiences there before she got hooked. “It’s the best education.” She has since learned techniques from trainers there that she incorporates into her travel routine or even when working out in or near her Nashville home, where she keeps a Peloton bike.
JoJa came about as an idea in 2016. Tookes and Skriver were at a Victoria’s Secret shoot that involved “cool yoga poses,” says Tookes. “On our way home, we thought it would be fun to make our own account focused on fitness.”
They played with meshing their two names together, and they came up with JoJa. “It kind of rhymes with yoga,” says Skriver.
What works for JoJa is that the two pals are actually quite different. “That makes our friendship much more unique and real,” says Tookes. “Josephine is definitely more of a tomboy and I’m such a girly girl. I love sparkles and flowers and flowy dresses, and Josephine is usually wearing black and white with sneakers. Josephine is extremely outgoing when it comes to nature and any outdoor activities. She’ll go deep diving with orcas. I’m the girl in a cute bikini lying on the beach with a cocktail.”
Margot silk charmeuse dress, $495, at laboheme.com; yellow gold and diamond large hoops, $1,630, by Sydney Evan at Intermix, East Hampton and Southampton; Heavy Stacker rings, $25 each, at liliclaspe.com; Mercer ring in yellow gold, $300, Bar Square ring with white diamonds, $550, and Mercer ring in rose gold, $300, all at AUrate, NYC; Biarritz ring, $140, at lilouparis.com.
Tookes says their differences help them relate better with their followers. “The people who follow us are able to connect with two different types of people,” she continues. “We’ll get messages saying, ‘I’m such a Jo’ or ‘I’m such a Ja.’”
In their regular JoJa posts, they hope to demystify the bad reputation the modeling world sometimes has when it comes to overworking out, eating disorders and the like. “We want to try to get away from the myth that all models do is starve and show up,” says Skriver.
They also want to show that the gym may look intimidating, but it’s actually not. Indeed, there are plenty of things you can do to treat your body well even if you don’t necessarily have access to gym equipment and weights. Skriver and Tookes are slowly introducing a YouTube video element to JoJa, “and the dream is to have a product line,” explains Skriver.
“We’re not claiming to be trainers, but we want to help spread awareness and build a community,” Skriver adds. “We want to be here to motivate.”
As it turns out, part of that motivation is just getting each other—and, by extension, their followers—to crawl out of their respective shells. They’re not only models, but also a model of female friendship. “We don’t ever fight,” Skriver says, despite their differences. And in the process, they open each other up to new experiences.
Lace blouse, $2,175, and lace inset floor-length skirt, $3,175, both by Zuhair Murad, similar styles at Saks Fifth Avenue, Walt Whitman Shops; Aerial diamond bracelets, $48,000 each, both at heartsonfire.com.
Skriver drags Tookes to a hockey match—“she could not care less about being at a sports game,” says Skriver—and Tookes makes Skriver get her nails done. “I used to think I wouldn’t like it,” says Skriver. “But it’s about giving it a chance and doing things we wouldn’t normally do ourselves.”
Spoken like a true Jo. Or a true Ja. Or even a JoJa.
Photography by: Photography by Mike Rosenthal; Styled by Cary Robinson; Hair by Glen Coco at Greyscale; Makeup by Leah Darcy; Shot on location at 1210 Morningside Way, Venice, Calif., listed by Jacqueline Gunn at Westside Estate Agency; architects: Albert Mikaelian at Architecture West and Hamid Toufanian at Ecogreen Construction