R29 Binge Club: Girlboss Episode 1 Recap

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Karen Ballard/Netflix

The word "girlboss" means a lot of things to a lot of women. To many, it signifies someone who is determined, innovative, creative, and down to kick ass. But, it also means taking risks, embracing letdowns, and powering through even the most humiliating moments in life. Sophia Amoruso documented all this and more in her 2014 best-selling memoir/advice book #GIRLBOSS, which was released at the height of her company Nasty Gal's success. The millennial businesswomen's cutting advice to finding success and happiness as a woman entrepreneur became a brand of its own, and has now spawned its own Netflix series, Girlboss, which chronicles the rise of Sophia as a law-abiding citizen and as a boss.

Screenwriter Kay Cannon (New Girl, Pitch Perfect) reframes Sophia' story in 13 episodes (based "real loose" on actual events from the early to mid-2000s), breaking down all the humanizing flaws of a narcissistic, caustic, and materialistic woman as she finds her footing in a new kind of business landscape: the internet. “It always comes down to this idea of the female lead having to be incredibly likable,” Cannon told The New York Times of the series. “I wanted to tell the story of a flawed woman that is not a fairy tale.”
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The show itself is entertaining, if not addictive. It uses a killer alt-rock, post-punk soundtrack and a vibrant vintage wardrobe to transport viewers right into the lifestyle and mindset of 23-year-old Sophia, through all her quirks and catastrophes. It's hard to watch without thinking about the present-day, real-life Amoruso, who stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal shorty after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2016 (it has since been acquired by Boohoo). Since the book's release, she also went through a divorce, and started a new online endeavor based on the Girlboss brand, a website and forum for other badass ladies who want to do and make more in life.

So, as we settle down and start streaming the season in its entirety, just remember that even though it may be difficult to find instant sympathy or inspiration in Britt Robertson's portrayal of Sophia Amoruso (Marlowe, on the series), it's worth sticking around to see the story through the end. As any vintage shopper knows, the best, and most special, items are always buried by the fluff — and having patience pays off in unearthing those treasures.

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Photo: Karen Ballard / Netflix.

Episode 1

"I just need to figure out a way to grow up without becoming a boring adult." This is the mantra that runs throughout Sophia's (Britt Robertson) mind, over and over again. While she sits on a park bench next to an old woman, while she's at her menial job as a shoe salesman, while she's thrift shopping, and while she's scheming her way through her last years of adolescence. At 23, Sophia is having a post-grad (or rather, post almost-grad, as she left her after only a semester) that everyone young person goes through. Who wants to grow up? Not her.

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With sunny San Francisco as her playground, Sophia spends her nights drinking and dancing with her best friend, Annie (Ellie Reed), and the rest of her days avoiding any type of responsibility. And she doesn't exactly surround herself with inspiring adults: at her shoe store, she works for a total pushover and spends her days scrolling eBay and stealing sandwiches. When she is (inevitably) fired, she immediately heads to a vintage store where she scores her dream leather jacket: an original 1970s East/West calfskin motorcycle jacket in perfect condition. After wearing it all day — dumpster diving for bagels, stealing rugs, laying out in the park, briefly making an appearance at a disastrous dinner with her dad — she decides to make a little extra cash by selling the jacket on eBay. And it works: She makes a quick couple hundred bucks, after she only spent nine crumbled ones on the vintage item.

And thus, the vision begins. Things start to turn around for the newly inspired Sophia. She's still pissed off (about what, she is unsure) and she is still pretty broke (it's inevitable when you're unemployed in an expensive city), but now the fire has been lit under her Jeffrey Campbell Lolitas.

Most #Girlboss moment?
Finally taking some initiative and creating an original photo shoot (hair, makeup, set design, camera stand and all) to sell the shit out of her vintage find.

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Photo: Karen Ballard/Netflix.

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