The star of Mad Men and the new Netflix series Spinning Out knows what she wants in a self-care routine and fitness regimen, and she isn't afraid to go after it.

By Pamela O'Brien
February 10, 2020

Genuine. That’s the word that springs to mind when talking to January Jones. “I feel comfortable in my skin,” says the actor, 42. “Public opinion doesn’t matter to me. Yesterday I went to a birthday party with my son, and I wore humongous red sweatpants because I had my period. My sister said, ‘Are you actually wearing those out?’ I thought about it for a moment, but I still wore them. Who cares? They’re my period pants!”

January has always done things her own way. Take her workouts: She doesn’t spend hours in the gym. “My dad was a trainer, so in my 20s and 30s, I didn’t work out, because he was always pushing my sisters, my mom, and me to exercise. We would rebel and not do it,” she says. “It’s not that I wasn’t active. As kids, my two sisters were runners, I played tennis, and we all swam. But on a regular basis I wouldn’t work out, ever. Even when I was filming X-Men and they had trainers for all of us, I would lie and say I was exercising in my hotel room, when actually I was watching Friends and having full tea service.” (For the record, last year January found a workout she loves—more about that later.)

It makes sense, then, that the star often plays strong-willed women on-screen. From scene-stealing Betty Draper on Mad Men to Carol Baker, the troubled single mom in the new Netflix figure skating drama Spinning Out, January brings depth and nuance to complicated characters.

Her favorite role, however, is that of mom to Xander, 8. “Being a mother is definitely the best," January says. “And then there’s balancing motherhood with the other thing I love, which is my work. Some days obviously are easier than others, but I feel as if I’m able to do both fairly well.” Here’s how she does the juggle—on her own terms.

David Slijper

I Celebrate My Body

“After I had my son, Xander, I wanted to feel strong because my body had changed so much. As he got bigger and I was hauling around a 20- or 30-pound toddler, my lower back gave out and I saw my shoulders starting to curl and hunch. I wanted to do something for my posture and core strength. Two or three years ago I started doing barre classes, and after that I took regular private Pilates lessons. Then a friend told me about Lagree Pilates. I’ve been doing it two to four times a week for the past year now, and I’ve gained weight because I’ve put on muscle. I’ve gone up a size in clothes, but I feel like I look better naked.

I Stick to a Workout that Motivates Me

“Lagree is quite difficult, but I’ve found that it’s the only thing that really makes me feel stronger, and I’m loving it. The music is good and there’s always a different routine, so it doesn’t get boring. There are 10 of us in the class, and I like having women on both sides of me to push me. When I did the private Pilates lessons a couple of years ago, I just saw myself getting lazy with it because there wasn’t that drive for competition. For me, that’s what’s motivating. If there’s someone strong next to me, I definitely want to up my game. I find myself looking forward to it more than I’ve ever looked forward to a workout.”

David Slijper

I Eat What I’m Hungry for

“I don’t deprive myself of anything. If I want something—steak, a bagel—I’ll eat it. There’s no diet or strict set of rules. Last winter, I started drinking celery juice every day, and I’ve seen amazing results in my energy, digestion, and skin and how I sleep. I have that in the morning, then I take my vitamins and drink coffee. I don’t get hungry until around 10 a.m., but since I usually do Lagree at 9:30, I’ll make myself eat a banana beforehand so I don’t get too shaky. Then I have a MacroBar afterward and eat lunch around 11:30—usually salad, soup, or a sandwich. (Whether you're doing a low-impact yoga class or HIIT workout in the a.m., here's what you should eat beforehand.)

“I love to cook for my son and me. For dinner, we like salmon with french fries, and we make pasta frequently. We try to have lots of green veggies. We eat organic because I worry a lot about that for my kid. No antibiotics or hormones in meats is really important to me, and so is eating sustainable fish. I don’t want to be that annoying person in the restaurant who’s like, ‘Where’s this fish from?’ But I do it anyway.”

David Slijper

Cleaning Keeps Me Sane

“I love rituals. My skin-care regimen is my favorite thing to do. In the morning I exfoliate, then I apply a serum and a cream. At night I have different serums and products that I use, and they’re all lined up in order. My skin-care routine is my only way to have a little control over my life.

“I’m a very organized person. I feel sane and calm when I know everything is in its place. I always have a list for the day. When I get to check something off, it’s the best thing ever. At work, when they say action, I can become someone else and be crazy and messy and erratic, and that feels amazing and therapeutic. But at home, the domestic aspect of my life is very important to feeling balanced. I love doing laundry.

“My hair and makeup people always joke because I’ll be all made up and dressed in a gown, and then I’ll take out the garbage or make a lap with the Swiffer or turn on the dishwasher. And they’re like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I say, ‘Well, I need all these things done. No one else is going to do it.’ They said we should do a photoshoot with me in couture taking out the garbage because that embodies the two halves of me right there.”

David Slijper

I Fight for the Issues that Are Important to Me

“I’ve always been fascinated by sharks. When I was in my 20s, I saw a documentary about the shark-fin trade, and I was appalled by how it was depleting the shark population. I made a promise to myself then and there that if I ever got to a place in my career where my voice would matter, that would be the thing I stood up for. Around 2008, I met with the ocean-conservation group Oceana, and they were amazing. I’ve been on several trips with them to swim with sharks, and I’ve gone to D.C. to get bills passed to ban shark finning. To have a small hand in helping with that makes me very proud.

“I am currently also in talks to work with a nonprofit group called DeliverFund that’s fighting to stop child trafficking. They are doing great things, and I urge people to check them out at deliverfund.org. Trafficking is a huge problem in this country, and I really want to help bring awareness to the issue.” (Related: The Epic Things Madeline Brewer Is Doing for Women Around the World)

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