We are heading up north to Canada for our next set of sisters! Jan and Beth are inspirational women and leaders in both of their professions. Their relationship is as thick as it’s ever been as they live only five minutes apart and spend their days working on their businesses and raising kids (and playing hockey in their free time). Keep reading to hear more about these incredible sisters and the clothes they ‘borrow’ and hid from each other…
Photography by Emily Doukogiannis. Produced by Ashley Aikele. Extra thanks to the photographer Emily for leading us to these fantastic sisters!
Jan McCharles is a prominent Canadian sound mixer and leading technical consultant for television programs. Her impressive list of credits includes Master Chef Canada, Say Yes to the Dress Canada, Storage Wars Canada, and Canada’s Next Top Model. Prior to her career in the television industry, Jan established a successful career in music teaching at the Royal Conservatory of Music and performing with bands the area. Jan hopes to inspire young women to embrace technology and become leaders in technical fields.
Dr. Beth McCharles is an inspirational speaker, consultant and performance coach. Currently Dr. Beth works with elite athletes, coaches, artists, as well as business executives. Beth is a former international soccer player and coach –and learned through experiences the importance of understanding yourself and your mental focus. Born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, one of Beth’s life goals is to inspire young women to be confident leaders and to achieve their full potential.
Jan, what kinds of things did you like doing together when you were growing up?
Beth and I are are only 16 months apart and we did everything together. We basically grew up outside by the river in our backyard, we had secret languages, made up songs, skating routines, lip syncs and invented basketball plays to use against our older brother…we were quite the team! (But I don’t feel that bad for him… he was over 6 feet and we were 5 feet!). Playing sports was a huge part of our childhood. We played on our school basketball team, soccer, hockey and skied most days in the winter after school. Our house was a bit of a hangout in the summer during our early teen years. Our parents would often arrive home from work to find a dozen of our friends playing basketball on the street or spotlight at dusk and we would always beg our Dad to light a bon fire by the water.
Beth, what kinds of things do you like doing together now?
I have 3 kids under 4 and Jan has a 2 and a 5 year old. We both run our own businesses and don’t have a lot of time these days so we’re all about quick meet ups after we drop the kids at preschool. Besides getting our kids together for family play dates, we like to be active. We workout together, play hockey, and go for bike rides. We also enjoy hanging out at our favorite coffee shop. The coolest part though is that our husbands are friends –we love going out for dinner and drinks together but our most quality time is spent sitting in the car chatting…it sounds weird but it’s our little escape where we talk about parenting, our careers, and what outfits we need to borrow from each other for upcoming events and weddings.
Jan, were you close growing up? Are you closer now or then?
We were very close up until the end of high school, we shared a room and clothes – our mother basically treated us like twins –there are so many pictures of us in the 80’s with the same outfits on which we hated at the time but now that I have kids I totally get how smart she was: everything was equal to avoid fights! We parted ways for a few years when we went off to University but thankfully, for unrelated reasons we ended up moving to the same city to finish our education. I had been in Toronto for two years studying Radio and Television Arts when Beth told me she was accepted to write her Doctorate at the University of Toronto so naturally we got an apartment together, had a LOT of fun in our mid-late 20’s, began our careers, met our husbands, bought our homes and had children. We live about 5 minutes from each other now, our kids are attending the same school and we are closer now than ever.
Beth, what is one of your favorite childhood memories together?
Sports played a big role in our lives. Our parents did an amazing job allowing us to explore many activities. I would say my favorite memory is playing basketball against our brother, swimming with our neighbors, and our crazy made up games in our bedroom (we shared a room until we were 13!!).
Jan, what did you and Beth fight about growing up?
We actually didn’t fight that much, but I’m sure if you looked in Beth’s journal she would have each one documented in detail! When we did argue, it was often over clothes. We’ve been the same size most of our life so when our mom would bring home something new or give away something from her own closet we would often argue over who would get what. Fortunately, none of our fights lasted long because our mother would threaten to take everything back to the store!
Beth, what’s one thing that used to drive you crazy about Jan when you were growing up?
Her perfect hair, her perfect grades, and she always made me shut off the light in our room at bedtime!
Jan, what’s one thing that used to drive you crazy about Beth when you were growing up?
Beth is a people magnet, they are drawn to her and everyone is invited to her party! That was hard for me, especially as we got older… I just wanted to spend time with her and not with 19 of her ‘friends’ tagging along!
Beth, describe Jan in three words.
Creative, Articulate, Fun
Jan, describe Beth in three words.
Tenacious, energetic, love
Beth, what’s a quality or skill Jan has that you really admire?
Jan has an amazing business sense. She has this ability to just get stuff done and lead people in the right direction. She is also an amazing cook! Which…well…let’s just say is a skill I am still working on!
Jan, what’s a quality or skill Beth has that you really admire?
Her confidence. She’s an inspiring, strong, confident woman who is helping others to achieve the same.
Beth, what is your favorite piece of clothing that Jan owns that you might steal if you get the chance?
Her jean dress that I just took from her closet since she’s been away.
Jan, what is your favorite piece of clothing that Beth owns that you might steal if you get the chance?
Well unfortunately for me, I just returned it! Her black wool baseball cap from a vintage shop in Toronto. I’ve had it for 3 years, hiding it from her and only wearing it when I knew I wouldn’t see her. It had become a staple, I wore it all the time working on set, then 2 months ago on one of our spontaneous meet ups with the kids I got caught.
Tell us one way that you two are a lot a like and one thing that is totally different about you two?
Jan: We look a lot alike; in fact we get asked if we’re twins at least every other day. But more importantly our values are the same; we both followed our dreams and grew up believing that we could do anything. For this I give credit to our amazing parents and the beautiful island of Cape Breton where we grew up.
Beth: I would say our personalities are different but complimentary. I would bring Jan dancing and Jan would bring me to the coolest live music. The best part is we have a blast no matter what we do!
Beth, how would you describe Jan’s style?
Modern-Classic with a touch of Bohemian. Jan has such natural beauty that she really doesn’t need much. She has heads turning all the time and never has a clue!
Jan, how would you describe Beth’s style?
Beth is a classic beauty. A layered shirt and sweater with classic dark jeans and a perfectly draped scarf will forever be her signature look. She also rocks the best heels!
What is one thing your sister has taught you?
Jan: Gosh, I think I learn something from her every day. We’re constantly sharing information on parenting, health and fashion but if I was to choose one thing I would have to say she’s taught me to make time for life and hit the dance floor!
Beth: I agree, I think I learn something from Jan everyday. We are constantly challenging each other and always striving to be better at everything we do. She also has taught me to be more direct and have the ability to say no (I am still working on this one!).