Since all of Paris closes shop in August, I’ll be posting “by appointment” discoveries made during my summertime travels back home in the USA this month. Hope you enjoy this special summer edition with content from New York and Los Angeles.
Would you believe me if I told you that people travel across the world to have their private parts waxed in New York City? You ought to, because like pizza, bagels and overproduced musicals, NYC does the Brazilian bikini wax best. More specifically, Janea Padilha (above, center) of the J Sisters salon in midtown Manhattan does it best. As well she should—she invented it!
In 1987, a decade after the full-bloom bush was de rigueur, Janea (pronounced Jōhné but also referred to as “Jane”) introduced America to her minimalist design. “It was very hard to convince my clients in New York to do it,” remembers Janea, who practiced for years on herself before taking her technique public. “Finally, one of my clients said okay. She came back a few hours later and I thought ‘uh oh,’ but she had her friends with her and they wanted the same thing. One of the girls used to work for Elle magazine. One month later we came out in Elle. It was our first magazine. After that boom, boom, boom.”
The explosive response is plastered all over the walls of the beauty salon she and her six sisters (Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Juracy, Jussara, and Judseia) opened upon emigrating from Brazil. Throughout the gorgeous, three story, turn-of-the-century Vanderbilt townhouse are autographed portraits of their sexy celebrity clientele with quotes like “You changed my life” (Gwyneth Paltrow), “Thanks 4 Everything” (Fergie) and “I’ll keep coming back” (Kate Winslet) scrawled across them.
Despite the fame factor, the atmosphere is anything but stuffy. Faded fancy furniture, decorative molding and chincy gold frames give an unpretentious, relaxed vibe to the stately salon. So nonchalant and relaxed is the energy that you half expect to see sand swirling at your feet. The buzzing Portuguese of the matte-skinned staff only enhances the effect. In fact, you could happily waste away the hours just soaking up the sitcom-worthy setting (the swimsuit sales guy pushing psychedelic two-pieces on prim ladies, the orange-hued man sipping ice tea while waiting to get his back waxed, the ladies chattering in the hair area with those gorgeous bay windows).
Once inside the spare, waxing cubicle, Janea sizes up the situation and gets to work dispensing life advice and wax with matching gusto. Oh, I forgot to mention, she’s not only an expert on good-looking privates, but sex, relationships, family and food. “I have some clients that come back before they need a waxing in order to finish the conversation we had the last time,” she says of her devout following who come to her as much for her waxing as her personality-filled prescriptions. Not bad for seventy-five bucks?
But soon you won’t have to bare it all for a dose of her sexy Brazilian knowledge. In April, 2010, she’s coming out with a book, co-authored by the hilarious writer, Martha Frankel and published by Perigee Books. In an exclusive interview, Frankel gives us a whisper of their book, Secrets of Brazilian Sexy.
Q&A with Martha Frankel
The book is about Janea, the woman who not only invented the Brazilian bikini wax but also gives fabulous life advice?
Yes, it’s a self-help book that’s very specific. It’s about what do when you’re unhappy in a relationship. Janea gives great boyfriend advice, great makeup advice, and of course, great sex advice.
What are her top 5 Brazilian secrets?
Number one is to be comfortable in your own skin and to work with what you have. She talks about how women are always saying, “I’m going to be happy when I loose ten pounds or earn ten more millions buy ten more pairs of shoes.” For me that’s her most important advice, to just enjoy who you are, when you are and how you are without waiting for the train that’s not coming in. Number two and three are how to ask for what you want in your relationship and get what you want from your man. A lot of her clients complain about their husbands and she’ll ask, “Did you tell them what you want?” And they’ll say no. She says things like “they’re only men, not psychics.” Number four is about treating your young children as children and adult children as adults and not the other way around. She says that has an impact on everything—how you expect yourself to be, how your children relate to you, how to create a balanced, healthy dynamic in the home. Number five is all about cleanliness.
What role does cleanliness play in the concept of Brazilian sexy?
Not only does a Brazilian keep that area clean, it creates a great feeling, a sexy feeling. It reminds you that you have a vagina, even if you’d like to forget about it. Having a Brazilian is a sure-fire way of thinking about yourself sexually.
How was the Brazilian bikini wax borne?
One day Janea said she saw a woman in a thong bikini on a beach in Brazil with a lot of hair sticking out. The sight surprised her because she didn’t know that women had so much hair down there. She went home and looked and saw she had it too, so she started waxing that area between the vagina and the anus.
What other tips will readers learn when the book comes out?
They’ll learn how to re-virginize themselves. They’ll learn when to wear lingerie and when not to. They’ll learn when a marriage is worth saving, and when it needs to end. They’ll learn how to make a relationship stronger, what to do and not to do at the beginning of a new relationship.
Even though she has tons of celebrity clients, I hear she’s impervious to fame. Any stories there?
I asked her who else her celebrity clients were and she said, “Oh that very pretty woman. She’s got a beautiful ass and she’s a good singer. What is it? Lopes?” And I was like, “You mean J Lo?” I don’t think she’s that into pop culture. She knows who her celebrity clients are because they tell her. She doesn’t really care that much. They don’t get any better treatment that you or I.
To make an appointment, call: 212-750-2485 or 212-750-0170
Price: Brazilian bikini wax, $75, not including gratuities.