Where to begin with Jana Babez? She’s an art queen (both as a curator and a performance artist). She has an amazing sense of style. She pulls off pink like no one else we know. She’s bold and brave (her performance art pieces are not only thought-provoking and timely, but she puts herself in the very middle of them, in public spaces). She knows the importance of a good scrunchy. She was called on stage at Cape Town’s Lady Gaga concert and created international headlines when the Mother Monster herself signed Jana’s boobs. She must have had the world’s best Barbie collection as a kid. But most of all, she’s a modern, confident woman with conviction. And we think that’s pretty damn awesome.
Jana very kindly sat down and answered our Best questions and we are thankful, inspired and unashamed to use scrunchies from now on! Jana – you’re the Best!
What do you do for a living?
I'm an art curator, and closet performance artist.
What is a weird fact about yourself that you find absolutely wonderful?
I have a surprisingly good sense of direction.
If you could be world famous for something, what would you like it to be and why?
I hope to be respected in my field, and I don’t think that requires fame.
If you want to feel great, what is the one item you always turn to and find yourself wearing? What makes it so special to you?
A pair of tight high-waisted blue jeans. They make me feel effortlessly cool. Then I need gold hoops and a high ponytail with a scrunchy to complete the look!
What are the top five songs everyone needs to hear right now?
You can listen to Power of Too Much by dear friend Martin Magner on repeat 5 times. Watch the music video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciAyjFpHpzc
What's the best meal you've ever had in your life? Where did you have it?
Has to be my Ouma’s vetkoek with butter and apricot jam in her kitchen. I tried to recreate them over Friends Christmas and it flopped lol.
What is your favourite ornament/item of furniture in your home? Where did you get it from and what do you love about it?
It has to be all my art, and I definitely can’t choose. I am blessed to have recently been gifted a wonderful Penny Siopis print. I also adore a Talia Ramkilawan tapestry I picked up from her graduate exhibition. Then a good friend and one of my favourite artists Nabeeha Mohamed painted a portrait of me for my last birthday that I really cherish. And so many more!
What is your holy grail make up/skincare product?
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. Quarantine really made me veer away from heavy makeup and this provides light coverage and the perfect glow. And blush! I love Physician’s Formula Butter Blush in Rosy Pink.
What habit/ritual do you do each day to keep you sane?
Phone calls with my loved ones, and catching up with my favourite podcasts while I work.
What does you five years from now look and feel like? What’s working in your life? How does ten years from now look?
Working smarter and contributing to the Arts in a meaningful way, and not worrying so much about the small stuff. Also more travel and a greater sense of security.
If you could put one sentence or idea on a billboard or poster for everyone to see, what would it be and why?
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
(It’s from a Wendy Cope poem titled “The Orange”)
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Trust the process.
Speak less. Listen more.
What’s the worst?
Don’t think I’ve remembered the bad advice.
When do you feel like your Best self?
When I am living my life with intention, focusing on my goals, eating well and drinking water.
What do you think the world needs more of?
Art. Let’s make and share more art, and support those that are doing exactly that.
What does the world need less of?
If you could go back in time and speak to yourself as a child, what would you say?
If you had to have your perfect day, what would it look like?
Coffee in bed, visiting an art museum in a strange city, high tea in a pink dress, a walk in the park, sunset by the seaside and a late night cinema date.
What do you value most in a friendship and why?
Unwavering support, a shoulder to cry on and a space to be my most authentic self.
If you could get a glimpse into your own future, would you want to? Why?
No! I like surprises.
If you want to see more of what Jana is up to, you can follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/jana_babez/