What's real on Girlboss, and what is Hollywood fiction?
If you’ve already binge-watched Netflix's newest original series, you’ve probably pinched yourself not getting into the vintage clothing business before .
And you've definitely got neighbor-envy right now—we all need a little RuPaul in our lives.
However, while Netflix's Girlboss tells the simple rags-to-riches story of Sophia Marlowe, the real tale of Sophia Amoruso and her business Nasty Gal—the inspiration behind the series—is so much more complex.
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Sure, Amoruso went from dumpster diving to running a business worth $280 million, but that’s not where her story started—or where it ended.
Amoruso is the daughter of middle-class parents from Sacramento, California. When they both lost their jobs in the '90s, she learned to fend for herself early. She set up her own lemonade business when she was just nine and started reading books about start-ups before she was even in high school.
And that business acumen paid off—before Amoruso ever flipped a vintage jacket on eBay, she stalked the bestseller lists on Amazon, stealing the books from local stores, and then selling them on Amazon for 10 cents less than the other sellers. Illegal? Yes. Genius? Definitely.
And this was while she was living in an anarchist commune in Olympia, Washington, and dating a guy who lived in a treehouse.
She had 10 different jobs before she 22 and she puts this down to her desire to make a buck and her self-confessed "job promiscuity."
But the biggest difference between the Netflix series and Amoruso's real life (and possibly the most disappointing—if you’re a RuPaul fan) is the people in her life.
Sadly, the friends Amoruso surrounded herself with—the neighbor played by RuPaul, and her very likable best friend, Annie, never actually existed in real life. Creator Kay Cannon added these lovable characters to Amoruso's story to make it more cinematic. Sophia says when she launched the website she only had one or two employees and a very limited support network.
"Everyone else is Kay's creation," Amoruso recently told Bustle. "So, my mom is not actually like that—just want to make that clear, Mom!"
Then there's the fact the series ended with Sophia Marlowe launching her website—which sold out of stock in a matter of hours—whereas Amoruso's real life business has recently taken a hit.
In 2015 several ex-employees filed lawsuits against Nasty Gal—claiming their employment was terminated after they became pregnant. While others spoke to media outlets claiming the Nasty Gal work environment was "toxic." It was soon revealed that Amoruso's empire was hemorrhaging money and at the end of 2016, Nasty Gal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"It’s so entertaining!" she says. "There's nothing better than playing this girl who thinks she's found success and spent a decade pouring her love and energy into something that maybe she thinks she'll have for the rest of her life, and then she has the rug pulled out from underneath her."
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"Then it’s like, 'You're starting over, what are you going to do now?' That challenge would be so fascinating to play. I’m already looking forward to it."
Netflix is yet to confirm whether there will be a second season, but hopefully, if there is, it'll explore some of the darker sides of Amoruso's personality and business empire.
This post originally appeared on Mamamia, Spring.St's Australian sister site. You can read it here.