by Paddy Ghaemi
Graphics by Jillian Lowe
Happy International Women’s Day! We’re celebrating the existence of women today and every day. I believe the best way to do this is to share the stories of women who are pioneering for the rights and successes of other women. Today, we’re talking about Reese Witherspoon, Sophia Amoruso and Tyra Banks. Who are these women, what have they done, where are they going, and what should we learn from them and apply to our lives? Hopefully, the answers to these questions can inspire you to remember that you can be your own girl boss.
Reese WitherspoonReese Witherspoon, a familiar face in Hollywood, is becoming the face of feminism. She successfully founded two companies to create and emphasize roles for women in the entertainment industries. First, she opened the production company Pacific Standard in order to create female-driven films and television shows with more women taking roles onscreen and more women taking jobs behind the scenes. Pacific Standard has given us movies like “Gone Girl” and “Wild” and the television show “Big Little Lies” — a four-time Emmy winner with a second season on its way. It’s full of leading actresses like Witherspoon herself, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley, along with a new addition this coming season: Meryl Streep. Keep your eyes out for season two because it’s going to be groundbreaking.
But Witherspoon wasn’t going to stop there. In 2016, she opened Hello Sunshine, a multimedia company whose mission is “to change the narrative for women.” With her second business, Witherspoon is providing digital content for women readers. Witherspoon is on a roll. She’s creating so much for women and doing it fiercely and gracefully.
Witherspoon’s advice: “All we can do to create change is work hard. Just do what you do well. If you’re a producer, you’ve got to produce. If you’re a writer, you’ve got to write. If you’re in corporate America, keep working hard to bust through the glass ceiling.”
You heard her right ladies — bust through that glass ceiling!
Sophia AmorusoSophia Amoruso didn’t have the most orthodox path to success. Her youth included hitchhiking, stealing, dumpster diving and dropping out of college. Yet, Amoruso is now a respected serial entrepreneur who carries her free spirit throughout all of her business endeavors. Based out of San Francisco, she got her start selling vintage clothes after reading “Starting an eBay Business for Dummies.” Her spunky, feminist side appeared in the naming of her eBay store: Nasty Gal Vintage — named after an album by Betty Davis (a ‘70s funk and soul singer).
Over time, this young entrepreneur amassed a loyal customer base on eBay. Amoruso styled and photographed her vintage clothing in an irresistibly cool fashion, paying her models with burgers. And despite having no proper schooling, she oversaw all of the shipping and logistics behind her e-commerce site and transformed Nasty Gal into her own web-based store using social media to communicate the move to her customers. Nasty Gal eventually became a multimillion-dollar company.
In the midst of her reign as CEO of Nasty Gal, Amoruso added another title to her list of accomplishments: New York Times bestselling author. Amoruso wrote the book #GirlBoss, documenting her rise in the retail industry. However, what happened next spelled disaster for Amoruso’s budding company. In early 2015, Amoruso handed over the role of CEO to Sheree Waterson, and a year into the new leadership, Nasty Gal filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Nasty Gal was sold to the British retailer Boohoo. Although it was surely a blow to the morale, it was believed to be the best move for the company. Fortunately for Amoruso, Netflix had already begun producing a television show based on #GirlBoss.
Amoruso proved herself as a comeback kid with her second business endeavor, Girlboss Media. The goal of Girlboss is to support women to reach success by providing digital content and rallies around the U.S. Furthermore, Amoruso now hosts Girlboss Radio, a podcast where she invites successful girl bosses like Charlize Theron, Sheree Waterson, Courtney Love to speak about their success. I highly suggest you listen to it on Spotify or Apple podcast. The podcast is the work of women, specifically for women, to educate on matters of business like personal financing, to inform of various methods of success, and most importantly, to inspire women to become their own girl bosses.
Amoruso’s methodology is to focus on the success and ditch what doesn’t work. This girl boss wants her brand to inspire people to make decisions for themselves, by spending her time inspiring and getting girls out there redefine success and “go with their gut.”
Tyra BanksTyra Banks is one more successful lady in the entertainment industry. Supermodel-turned-entrepreneur with her own multimedia brand, two TV shows, a book and a cosmetic line. Bouncing back from multiple rejections to land a spot with Elite Modeling Management, Tyra Banks is a beast. After graduating high school she became one of the world’s top models. She broke the boundaries of the modeling world by being the first black women to be on the cover of GQ, Sports Illustrated and featured in Victoria’s Secrets catalog.
In 2003, Banks created, produced and hosted America’s Next Top Model (hasn’t everyone binge-watched this show at least once?) which is currently in its 24th season. Two years later she created Emmy winning show, The Tyra Show. She founded typeF.com, a style and beauty website focused on a positive image for women. And in 2012, this girl boss launched her own cosmetic line, TYRA Beauty. Everything Banks does revolves around inspiring women and helping them develop their independence and self-esteem. A true conqueror of the fashion and business world.
These three ladies show us that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. As cliche as that sounds it’s true. Ladies, we can do anything. So today go out there and show ‘em how it’s done; be your own girl boss. •
Paddy Ghaemi is a sophomore English major from Houston, Texas. This is her first semester writing for Spark’s blog. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, exploring Austin’s coffee/food scene or just Netflix the night away.