There is nothing quite as exciting as finding out that a book or series you loved is about to be turned into a TV show. Sometimes it’s the other way around – you watch TV, you love a show and you find out it’s based on a book. And BAM!!! You’ve discovered a great read. So when I saw that GIRLBOSS was about to premiere on Netflix, I decided to write a little piece and see if the show lives up to the book (which won best business book on GoodrReads a couple of years ago). To be fair, I have not watched all the episodes yet, but I have seen 8 and I think that I have the gist of it down.
GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso || THE BOOK
The book is marketed as a manifesto for ambitious young women who want to know how to become a successful badass CEO of a business by 29. What the book actually is, is a diary- blog. Or at least that’s what it sounded like to me when I was reading it. And I feel confident in saying that it was intentional.
I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads only because I think it sometimes ventured into a territory that was a bit too personal for my taste. While the story of Sophia is truly inspiring to many young women, the book itself was all over the place from time to time. Sophia (as you probably know if you’re reading this) is the founder of an online retail business, called Nasty Gal. The book follows her journey from a rebellious young woman to a self-made millionaire. At the time it was published, she was 29 and going strong as the CEO of Nasty Gal. She started out on eBay, “flipping” vintage clothes. She would buy them at vintage stores, who were usually unaware of the actual worth of the garment, and then she would re-sell them on eBay for a hefty profit.
The book follows her struggles at the time when she decided to pursue this as a career and the founding days of Nasty Gal. While the company is now in bankruptcy, her story is still inspiring to many. And there was a lot in that book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
She is funny as hell and keeps it real
I enjoyed how honest Sophia was. She kept it real throughout the book and did not make excuses for the stupid things she did while she was younger. She mentions stealing and a whole plethora of other things she went trough before making her fortune. Most of the anecdotes were told in a self-depreciating, sarcastic tone that spoke directly to my sarcasm-drenched soul. Loved it.
Feminist through and through
I am one of the people who believe that feminism is not synonymous to man-hating. I consider myself a feminist in the sense that I believe that women are badass and an integral part of both a home and a business. And Sophia makes it really easy to see how a woman can achieve just about anything she puts her mind to IF she is willing to work for it.
Hard work pays off
Throughout GIRLBOSS, the reader continuously reads about the importance of work ethics and dedication to your idea. Sophia invested all her time and efforts into her business, staying true to her original idea. And she made it happen for herself. It’s basically a story about taking a chance, making your own rules and grinding all the way to the top.
Introverts vs. the world
In GIRLBOSS, the author actually touches upon the idea of an introvert making it big in the business world. When Sophia started out, online retail’s landscape was still very much male-dominated. She considers herself an introvert and she found that online sales was something that she was actually both enjoying and good at. While in some scenes her introvert personality made her seem a bit like an asshole, to people with a similar personality, the struggle was familiar.
GIRLBOSS || Netflix TV Show
The show starts out with the claim that it is a “Very loose retelling of real events” and that seems about right. Amoruso herself stated in an interview that while the show is based on her life, “it has become its’ own thing”. Pretty straightforward answer. According to Sophia, she had named her company Nasty Gal, based on a Betty Davis album. Taking the fact, the director then decided how to dramatize that pivotal moment of coming up with the name. While the fact is there, the was she got there was a creative liberty. I love how that was never denied or hidden from the audience.
Honestly, I really like this show and I think a lot of people would as long as they don’t go in with the expectation of something more than it is. The vibes I got from the first episode were a lot like Sex & the City. It’s the type of show you watch purely for light entertainment and not as a masterpiece of cinematography that you can infinitely analyze. Let’s just say it how it is.
I love Britt Robertson in this role. I think she does a phenomenal job with it and she doesn’t hold back one bit. Not only is she beautiful, but also funny, aggressive and dedicated. She plays it beautifully. Ellie Reed plays Annie, Sophia’s best friend. Also a great young actress. Although she did not impress me quite as much as Britt, she portrays a relatively realistic and relatable character and does an awesome job. There are several other familiar faces in GIRLBOSS. Johhny Simmons as Shane (the love interest), Dean Norris as Jay (Sophia’s dad) and many others. I think casting is pretty good.
Likability of the main protagonist
If we’re being honest, Sophia is not a likable character. She really isn’t. And according to the show’s producers, making her loved by the audience was never the objective. While she is often portrayed as a “bitch” or “asshole” (and often refers to herself that way as well), it sometimes fails to achieve the goal. She is harsh, impatient and seems to live by a moral compass that slightly differentiates from that of the average Joe. But she strives to be an optimistic portrayal of a very real woman. Does the show always manage to pull that off? Not really. Is it a good effort? Definitely.
I really enjoy the way that the show is shot. It’s colorful, messy and shots are often hectic, emulating the mess that the main character is at this stage of her life. Thrift stores, apartments and streets are all rich in color, sound, texture and movement, making each scene packed with things to look at. I enjoy that aesthetic, but I know that a lot of people don’t.
The way that feminism is portrayed on the small screen is a little problematic for me personally. I feel like the way that the show puts it, Sophia is behaving like an “asshole” and is unapologetic about it, which is what supposedly makes for the feminist feel of the show. I don’t think feminism is necessarily linked to poor behavior or a relentless disbelief in the power of the apology. But that’s just my two cents.
I like the development of the story. While it might not be 100% what happened in real life, it does the job of showing all the major moments in Sophia’s life and Nasty Gal’s development. It’s funny, it’s motivational and it is unassuming in its’portrayal of the life of a young adult. Bow-tie pasta with butter for dinner every night? Tell me you haven’t done something similar at some point?