Centric’s We Are The Joneses follows power couple, Dr. Michael Jones, and Cathleen Trigg-Jones who run a multimillion-dollar cosmetic surgery practice, Lexington Plastic Surgeons, with thriving offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Miami. And yet, medicine itself isn’t the Joneses sole focus. From Mrs. Jones’ non-profit organization, Trigg House to the couple’s other inspirational work including Chic Chat and Adopt-A-Family, the Joneses are changing lives in various ways.
On We Are The Joneses, Dr. Jones tackles a challenging keloid case that helps transform as patient’s life while Mrs. Trigg-Jones embarked on her own emotional journey to find her birth parents that inspired her charity. Ahead of the season one finale, EBONY.com got the opportunity to chat with the couple about their series, how they hope to inspire others and what’s next.
EBONY: Thank you both so much for speaking with me today. I really appreciate you taking the time, especially ahead of the season finale.
Cathleen Trigg-Jones: Thank you.
EBONY: I loved We Are The Joneses, especially the inspiration behind working with people of color within the realm of plastic surgery. Also, Mrs. Jones working with women and working for women is so wonderful to see. What made you decide to open yourselves and your lives up to the world with a television series?
CTJ: You know really exactly what you just said, it was about trying to inspire, trying to share our successes with the world in hopes that they would see this couple whose inspiring, and motivational at the end of the day. We hope that by sharing our story, sharing the patient’s stories, sharing our professional lives and a little bit of our personal lives that it would inspire and aspire other people who might look up to us to see that they too can achieve the things that we have.
Dr. Michael Jones: It almost felt like an obligation. There’s so much negative television, and there’s so many in my opinion, negative impressions of people of color on television right now that we felt that we wanted to put something out that was positive, something that people could look up to. Cathleen has been a role model all her life when she’s been on television when she’s been an anchorwoman, and everyone looks up to her and her achievements. So we felt like this was another means of getting that message out there that you can achieve anything you want to achieve with hard work and dedication, despite where you may have come from you can overcome and you can get to the goals that you desire and the dreams that you have for yourself.
EBONY: Another thing that I really enjoyed throughout the series is that you both work towards erasing the stigma that’s associated with plastic surgery. Why was it important for you?
CTJ: I think we can probably answer that from two different perspectives and certainly Dr. Jones will talk about it from his experience being a plastic surgeon for 20 years. For me, just being a woman and being emotional, seeing the emotional side of plastic surgery, I do think it was important. It was really important to show that and to listen to our community. We were kind of last to the finish line when it comes to plastic surgery. It’s not that we weren’t having surgery, but we didn’t think that it was accepted. It was one of those things that if we did do it at all, we did it behind closed doors and didn’t want anyone to know that we were doing it. We would see those people coming into our practice, and they would leave with this transformation, and it wasn’t just about the vanity, it wasn’t just about getting a better chest or a bigger derriere, really it was more about what happens to them on the inside. As a journalist when I would see that I wanted to be able to tell that story. I wanted to show other people that this isn’t something to be ashamed of. We’re fighting with so many demons across the board especially as women feeling fat or feeling too thin or feeling too old, or whatever it is that you’re going through. I’ve seen the transformation that women or patients have gone through at the hands of my husband, and I just wanted everyone to be able to see that, see that it’s literally changing lives. These people that are coming through our doors are coming and feeling one way and leaving feeling like they’re a new person. That to me was a powerful message that I felt was really important to get out.
MJ: Yeah and I think that it’s very true that in our community it was considered taboo, it was kind of hidden, but now with more media attention behind plastic surgery it’s become more commonplace. It’s not just for the rich and the famous anymore. So we wanted to show that and demystify plastic surgery and take you behind the scenes and into the operating room. If there was something that I could teach you in a layman’s way about what we were doing whether or not it’s correcting someone’s breast deformity or if it’s removing a large keloid or mass, there’s something that I could teach at the same time. Now not only are we demystifying plastic surgery but we’re also sharing a little bit of knowledge about actually what happens behind the scenes.
EBONY: Yes and that’s so important, removing that mystery that surrounds plastic surgery. However, with all of this happening, how do you balance everything from the business, Mrs. Jones, your forthcoming series Chic Chat, your charity, family time and everything else. It just seems like such a wonderfully rich life but also very hectic. How do you two both manage your different ventures and your lives?
CTJ: Well, we manage because we set up priorities and we’re both on board with those priorities. The number one priority for us is our family, our marriage, our children and making sure that no matter what we do, it doesn’t compromise our goals within our household. That’s always first and foremost. Then we really work together. We bring different strengths into our relationship, very different strengths. I think that helps one another immensely and what we’re trying to accomplish. I think we also say that we’re a yin and a yang. That’s what really works with us is that the things that I’m not so strong at Dr. Jones is a powerhouse at, and I don’t have to worry. I know that he’s got that. Likewise, there are things that he knows I’m gonna bring to the table that may not be his greatest talents, and that’s what really works. At the end of the day, I think it’s just a mutual respect, a mutual understanding of our goals, and our individuality and what we each are trying to accomplish and working really hard to help each other get there.
MJ: I think also, and Cathleen hinted on it, we are working together. She’s a part of my business, and I’m a part of her business. We really see it as our businesses. So we’re working together. I think that in the end makes it easier when we might get a phone call in the middle of dinner or we might have to attend a meeting and not be able to be at a date night that we may have set up so it makes it easier when we’re working together for a common goal.
EBONY: Mrs. Jones I know another component of this season of We Are The Joneses was you sort of opening up about being adopted. That’s such a very personal thing to share with the world. Why did you decide that was an aspect of your life that you wanted to share with people on the series?
CTJ: Well it’s a combination of therapy for myself and also what I thought would be really helpful for others to hear. I often think when we see people like Dr. Jones and I you assume that we come with no problems. That we just have it going on, we have it made, we don’t have to deal with the stuff that anyone else has to deal with, and that is really important to show that everybody has something. Everyone has something that they’re struggling with. When you can open up and talk about that I believe, and my whole platform on Chic Chat is based on getting women to open up and tell their truth, talk about things that they’re going through. What I find is that when you talk you open up and you share your story you’ve helped other people. People hear that, and they can relate in some way, and it picks them up. It makes them feel like they are not alone. I wanted to share my story, one because it really helped me to open up and talk about it. It’s something that I’ve really spent most of my life not speaking about. I wasn’t in denial. I told people that I was adopted. It was something that sometimes came up in conversation but I never really faced it. I never really dug deep into where I came from, how it affected me as a wife, as a mother, as a woman. Once I started to talk about it on the very first interview on the show, and I saw how much emotion was behind it, it was confusing. I didn’t even know where this emotion was coming from. I didn’t know it was something that bothered me until the cameras were turned and I started opening up. Then I decided let’s really explore this. Let’s figure out what are these feelings that I have. The more I talked about it, the more other people started telling me their stories and saying how much it helped them to hear my story. So again, it goes back to that responsibility of feeling like if sharing my story can help others and make others open up and realize they’re not alone and that they’re not crazy, feel whatever they feel, then I’m all for that. We’ll get into a lot more of it later on. I only scratched the surface of it in the season, but there’s a lot more to come in the second season.
EBONY: That’s wonderful. Dr. Jones, another thing that I feel is so important is just to have a doctor that sometimes looks like you, especially when it comes to something like plastic surgery which is very visible. Is that one of the reasons you decided to go into this particular field of medicine?
MJ: I actually decided to go into plastic surgery really because of an experience I had as a second-year medical student. Growing up I didn’t know what being a surgeon was all about. I was the first person in my family to become a doctor, so I didn’t have any role models in my family. The only role model I had as a doctor was my pediatrician. So I really thought I was going to grow up and be either a pediatrician or a general internist but it just so happened that during my second year of medical school I was paired with an alum for a mentorship day and he wasn’t doing office hours that day he was actually going to the operating room. He asked me if I wanted to tag along. I said sure, but I’d never been to the operating room. I don’t even know how to put on a hat or a mask or gloves or gown. He said don’t worry about it; I’ll show you what to do. So I went with him and nervous, walking through the operating room petrified. He was reconstructing a child’s face that had had a significant burn. He, at the end of that case, made this child that was severely deformed look normal. I said at that moment, that’s what I want to do the rest of my life. I want to make people feel and look good and feel good about themselves and use the creative part of my mind. I am a part-time jazz musician, so creativity and figuring out ways to fix things has always been a part of who I am. Every single patient I see is different. I can’t do the same procedure for every person. I have to use creativity; I have to use art to sculpt them, to make them better in whatever way, shape or form it is. So that’s kind of what inspired me to go into this field. But specific to the people that we tend to treat there’s a lot that we have to take into consideration. People of color, ten to twenty percent of us will form a scar or even keloids whenever we have any type of surgery. So, when you’re looking at cosmetic surgery and that you undergo cosmetic surgery because you want to look better, you don’t want to look worse, scaring becomes a very important part of that equation. So we have learned to become experts with scars, we’ve learned to become experts in treating keloids. Our anatomy in some respects is different when it comes to certain aspects of cosmetic surgery. When you’re looking at noses, in particular, people of color we have different anatomy than someone who is Anglo. We have flatter bridges, wider nostrils so surgery that a person who might be used to operating on Anglos or Caucasians it would not work for us as people of color because we have different anatomy. So being a specialist in that and really trying to understand the anatomy and become an expert on how to operate on that anatomy I believe benefits our patients in the end because we know it better than others might.
EBONY: Definitely. Mrs. Jones, I know that you have All Eyes On Me coming out soon and then you are working on Chic Chat and with your charity Trigg House, what’s next for you?
CTJ: Well I’m really excited to see All Eyes On Me. I haven’t seen it yet, but Tupac is definitely by far my favorite rapper of all time, so it was really a treat to be able to be in his movie. It’s a small part, but I felt like it was still a treat. Trigg House is doing some interesting things. Just last week I took some foster girls on a shopping spree which was a lifelong dream for me. That kind of experience just makes my life complete, it really does. To be able to show them that I too was a foster child and I’m able to now take them out, to me was everything. Chic Chat is going to be really exciting. I have a pilot for the talk show. I’m talking to some networks right now. Hopefully, we can get a deal in place with that, and it’s on to season two of We Are The Joneses. I think it’s going to be even better than the first season. We’ll still stick with the similar format. Plastic surgery will still be the foundation and what we’ve tried to really do withs We Are The Joneses is make it different than other plastic surgery shows in that we really are focusing on the story. So I’m not looking for patients who just want a nip and tuck. I’m really looking for impactful stories that can make a difference for viewers that are watching. Yeah, lots of exciting things going on. Thanks for asking.
EBONY: For sure. Thank you both so much. I really enjoyed season one of We Are The Joneses and I’m so excited for the upcoming second season. I really appreciate you both taking the time to speak with me today.
CTJ: Thank you so much for caring and for making us a part of your platform. We really appreciate it. It takes a village.
MJ: Thank you so much.
We Are the Joneses airs Saturdays at 10 PM ET/PT on Centric