Meet Vicky Jeudy, Orange Is the New Black actress, certified fitness instructor, and all-around fitspiration
If you're an avid Orange Is the New Black fan, then you know exactly who Janae Watson (played by Vicky Jeudy) is; she's the high school track star-turned Litchfield inmate who's lovable yet intimidating. You definitely watched her heartbreaking "flashback" episode and then cheered from the couch as she finally started running again on the Litchfield track.
As the prison's resident runner and a star in one of our fave #girlpower shows, Jeudy was top of our list to chat with about fitness. Here, seven surprising things you definitely didn't know about her fitness routine (outside prison walls, that is).
1. She actually doesn't like to run that much
Despite her character's passion and talent for speed, Jeudy is more of a run-for-fun type. She's currently training for a 5K in November to benefit J/P HRO, a Haitian Relief Organization run by Sean Penn, but doesn't have any other races in her sights.
However, she did do cross country for one semester and running runs in the family. Her brother was a top runner in New York City, so the talent is definitely there. The funny part? The OITNB producers didn't even know she was a fit-girl at heart, and as her "flashback" episode approached, they made her film and send a video of her running on the treadmill to made sure she could pull off the ex-track-star performance. Needless to say, she slayed it.
2. But she does work out like crazy
Ok, so running isn't for everyone. But there's a reason Jeudy looks like an all-star athlete on OITNB; she works out like one.
"I love to do kickboxing and I love boxing," she says. "But mostly I love interval training. I feel like it's a great way, in one hour, to get cardio and weight training all in the mix. You work hard and then you're out—done."
Getting in a quick, intense workout is important during the 6-or-so months of filming they do each year—sometimes working from 6 am to late at night. But when she doesn't need to do a quick and dirty workout? "I also love Zumba," she says. "I feel like a lot of people frown upon Zumba but—hey—it can be a really good workout if you put everything into it. I love all the Reggaeton and booty music, some hip-hop. It can be an intense workout! Just look at Britney and Jennifer Lopez, all the dancers."
3. She's a certified fitness instructor
"When I was a teenager I was a little bit on the chubby side... and my mom signed me up for my first fitness class at Lucille Roberts. I think it was a kickboxing or a step class, and I was hooked," she says. "I became one of those people—you know how when you go to the gym and there's one of those people in the class who's always in the same spot, they're there on time, and they're super high intensity? That was me."
By the time she was 18, Jeudy became certified and started teaching kickboxing, weight training, and even a little dance cardio.
4. You can definitely spot her biking in Central Park
You won't find Jeudy in spin class—she loves renting a bike and riding loops around Central Park in New York City. And just in case you were wondering, stars have epic #fail fitness moments too:
"In April I fractured my elbow," she says. "I was biking in Central Park and I was checking my phone at the same time and I just toppled over and landed right on my elbow." Oops.
5. She wants to try pretty much anything fitness related
"There's this class where you wear these shoes that make you almost like a kangaroo. I really want to try that," she says. (BTW it's called Kangoo Jumps, and it looks pretty cool.) "And I really want to get more into yoga. I want to become a yoga specialist and a surf babe—wearing an orange bikini."
And while she's not the biggest runner, Jeudy says she'd be game for a triathlon: "I think it would be lots of fun and a unique challenge. I did a little bit of swimming in high school, and I love biking."
Jeudy's not the only ditching her orange jumpsuit for leggings and sneaks. Ruby Rose and Danielle Brooks—who play Stella Carlin and "Tasty" on OITNB—love SoulCycle, and they convinced Jeudy to join a few times. Uzo Aduba who plays "Crazy Eyes" is an avid runner (she was actually a track star in high school and originally auditioned for Jeudy's part). And Jeudy says Danielle once had a SoulCycle birthday party where she invited a bunch of the inmates. (BTW we grabbed fitness tips from all of them.)
Cast workouts instead of happy hours? We love it.
6. She totally loves her shape—in and out of an orange jumpsuit
At Shape, we're all about the #bodylove. After all, that's why we launched the #LoveMyShape campaign. Here's why Jeudy loves hers:
"I love my shape because I'm athletic. I feel like it's easy for me to get back in shape once I start training hard," she says. "I love my shoulders and my legs, because they look really strong."
7. She tries to eat healthy but has her vices
Her absolute faves include Waldy's Wood-fired Pizza in New York City and, for dessert, gummy bears.
"Usually, I'm a gummy bear addict, but I haven't had them in a while," she says. "Back in college, my roommate used to get me a huge stash of gummy bears whenever I had a bad day or something, and she'd stash them under my pillow. And I would eat the whole thing."