June Diane Raphael

by Christie Grimm · October 24, 2019

    You may immediately recognize June Diane Raphael as Jane Fonda's truth-telling, joke making, entrepreneurial daughter on Netflix's Grace and Frankie, but her work goes far beyond that credit. June is an actress, a writer, a podcaster, an activist, and a founder. The Jane Club is the mother of all workspaces in Los Angeles, giving women the safe, supporting space to grow their careers and themselves. 

    Who inspires you?
    I’m inspired by my sister Lauren, who is a new mother to a three-year-old and a newborn baby. Her first son was born three days after my father died, and I’ve watched her enter motherhood with incredible patience and grace and laughter. She managed to both process deep grief, incredible joy, and total exhaustion simultaneously, and I’m learning how to do all three by watching her. I’m so proud and inspired by the mother she is.

    Any success I’ve enjoyed in my own life is directly related to my creative collaboration with the women around me. I started my acting and writing career with my best friend, Casey Wilson, by simply trying to make each other laugh. Often the people who will mentor you, promote you, and support you are not above you but rather right beside you.

    Is there an example you can share of how another woman has lifted you up?
    When I was coming up with the idea for the Jane Club, a workspace in LA that offers onsite childcare and an entire village of amenities to support mothers, I asked my community of women to help build this with me. We call them Original Janes, and they committed their funds, resources, and networks to building the mother of all workspaces. Some of these women include my dearest friends Casey Wilson, Kulap Vilaysack, Katie Aselton, Naomi Scott, and Brooklyn Decker. I am amazed at what can be done when women invest their money in other women. Their support of both me and this important conversation around re-centering motherhood has inspired me to commit my purchasing and investment power to women-owned businesses.

    How has confidence played a role in your life?
    Confidence has played a huge role in my life. I’m not sure if it’s because I had parents who believed in me, or I just innately believed in myself, or if it’s because I’m a Capricorn, but I have always had a lot of confidence. There are certainly areas where I’m more confident and other areas of my life where I’m less, but in general, I firmly believe that life is too short to not take risks and try new things. One of the positive things that comes out of having experienced a lot of grief is the ability to make the most out of your time on earth, and I simply don’t have time to doubt myself. Now that I am a parent, I also feel more committed to self-love as a way of honoring my parents’ legacy. If they can’t be physically present to believe in me, then I have to do that for them.

    What's the best part of your job?
    The best part of being an actor is the experience of jumping into someone else’s humanity. I get to sympathize, realize, and embody another’s experience. At a time where so many of us can’t understand each other, having the tools to do that is powerful and important.

    What are you most proud of?
    I am most proud of my children and the values of kindness, justice, and equity I’m instilling in them.

    What has been the most useful advice you've received?
    The most useful advice I received was from an acting teacher at NYU. He told me to stop asking for permission in my work. He encouraged me to work without a net, to work for myself, and not to please him or my parents or anyone else.

    What is your motto or mantra?
    Fail. Fail again. Fail harder.

    What are you most excited for next?
    I’m most excited about bringing the Jane Club’s mission, to rewrite the rules between women and work, to all women everywhere. The sixth season of Grace and Frankie will be premiering in January, and I’m looking forward to spending time with my children.

    [Photo courtesy June Diane Raphael]