Interview by Tyler Calder
It was the book that inspired a movement – in 2014, #GIRLBOSS sparked a new conversation about what it meant to be young, female, and ambitious in the workplace. Sophia Amoruso’s memoir-meets-guide to life was a quick and bonafide bestseller, and it’s easy to see why. Sophia was and continues to be a cool girl – a resilient, smart, creative straight-shooter who doesn’t confuse sense-of-self with stagnation. She’s the first to acknowledge that we’re always changing, and she makes room for it in herself and those around her.
Fast forward three years, and you can find her at the helm of Girlboss Media, honing in on what she loves doing: helping women spark their own success. She’s built a new female-focused brand and launched a podcast (#Girlboss Radio – you need to give it a listen) that’s featured the likes of one Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow, our forever-idol Roxane Gay, and other women that embody the Girlboss spirit. In the next month, she’ll host the second Girlboss Rally – bringing entrepreneurial women together to create their own success – and she’s releasing the Girlboss Workbook, a new-and-improved iteration of her OG book, this time filled with guided lists, doodles, organizational tools, and ways to help you chart your future and take your next big step.
Life & Career
A lot of our readers know you from reading your hugely successful book, #GIRLBOSS. Now you’ve got a workbook coming out to accompany it. What inspired the idea for this new iteration?
The whole message of the first book is that my advice and my experience can only go so far, so having your own experience and choosing what works for you will always be the most important thing. I feel like we’re constantly looking at other people’s lives on social media and following programs from different snake oil salesmen that say our lives will change if we do these five things – but there’s something to be said for taking the personal responsibility and ownership that we can mold our own lives. There are different things that can be a spark for that, and I’d like to consider myself and everything we’re doing at girlboss.com to be a spark.
With the workbook, I wanted everything to ultimately be up to the reader. It’s about reverse engineering a lot of the advice and prompts that were in #GIRLBOSS back in 2014, but in a way that’s really interactive and fun, because thinking about our future, changing our habits, and making intentions should be fun. There’s no reason this stuff needs to be so painful or self-serious. It shouldn’t take the air out of the room, so this was about bringing a sense of play into the way we think about our lives, what we want, and what we no longer want.
There’s a lot of advice in the workbook along those lines – like writing your reverse bucket list, for instance. What do you no longer want to do? It’s a good reminder to us that cutting certain things out of our lives or refusing to do certain things is sometimes just as important as what we actually sign up to do.
Girlboss is all about defining your own success and then sometimes redefining it, too. Tell us why it was important to you to create a space, particularly for women, focused on that.
That’s just where I am in my life. That’s where you always are, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes we get attached to things, and they fall apart. Rewriting our own stories is something we can choose to do or something life throws upon us. But either way, it’s a really important part of growing and evolving and learning about yourself, and that’s something that’s so important to me. At this stage of my career, if I’m not waking up to do something that feels deeply personal to me, I’m not going to want to do it.
In my last business, we sold fashion, but at the end of the day the goal was to bring a level of confidence to the girl [buying it]. We’re doing that, but just much more directly with everything we do at Girlboss. We’re providing the tools and resources, inspiration, and relationships to hopefully be that spark for our readers.
Your podcast does a great job of talking to women from all walks of life. What are some moments that stand out from the conversations you’ve had?
Kelly Mullens Brown said you don’t get what you don’t ask for – you just don’t. It’s something I’ve said before, but hearing it said by someone with so much personal knowledge and experience just reinforced how true it is.
It’s so unfortunate that we have to scream and shout and send ten email follow ups to get anything done in this world, but that’s how it works – it’s such heavy lifting. I think people underestimate how much work it is to f*cking accomplish anything. So that’s a big one.
Also, asking Gwyneth Paltrow what her definition of success was stood out to me. A lot of people talk about work and money, but she talked about relationships and friendships – if you’re on good terms with the people closest to you, that’s success. Her answer was about community.
It’s something we think a lot about and I know GNI thinks about it too. It’s just a really interesting way to reframe it because we’re not here alone – we can’t exist without other people. Our successes are theirs and as much extra work as it may seem like to take time for other people and be vulnerable when we need to be, it’s what moves us forward. [The way she talked about] having other people as this great mirror and support for ourselves, I thought that was really beautiful.
What woman or women are inspiring you right now? Oh, I’d say Janet Mock for sure (Editor’s note: check out Sophia’s interview with Janet Mock here). There are a few people I’ve met that are so clear on their message and living it every day, and she’s one of them. She’s just so incredibly articulate and knowledgeable while remaining approachable – I think that’s a really hard thing to straddle.
What are you most excited about that’s coming up with Girlboss Media? EVERYTHING. To have a culture and a team that I get to build for the first time on purpose, from the inside out, is exciting. We want to live the ideals we talk about and it’s a really, really hard thing to do, but we’re doing it. Through that, I’m excited about the content we create with this amazing team.
For me to be in this transitional period personally, it feels more important than ever that what we create feels personal. It’s important that we’re doing it with authenticity.
I’m also really excited about our conference, the Girlboss Rally, that’s coming up in New York on November 11. I’m excited for our amazing speakers. We have Elaine Welteroth [Editor-in-Chief at Teen Vogue] and Alyssa Mastromonaco [of A&E] and Beth Comstock from GE – some really exceptional women.
We had the first one in March and it was so cool to just get into a room with that many women that are jazzed about positivity, our futures, and having real conversations at the same time, and not just blowing smoke up each other’s butts. I’m excited to be in that room again.
Creatively, what do you want to do that you haven’t done yet? What keeps you hungry?
I’d love to write another book. And I really enjoy thinking about the next medium, and all the various mediums we can do things in. I love building brands – that’s what I love to do, and that means bringing together words, images, and design creatively to build something new and different.
What does self-care mean to you at this moment in your life?
Self-care means taking the time to be in a relationship with ourselves – asking ourselves difficult questions, and taking the time to turn off our phones, turn off our brains, and then turn off those same questions.
Do you have any recent self-care products, tools, or rituals that you’re loving right now?
I just bought some crystals – I feel like I’m the last person discovering crystals. It’s not anything new, it’s just that I was so resistant because I thought it was some some bogus thing. I think it’s important to get past our own assumptions – just because other people made something cheesy doesn’t mean there’s no value in it. It took me a long time to get there, but sleeping with crystals has been really nice.
I’ve also been using Dr. Barbara Sturm’s products. Just trying to improve my skincare and use those great products and not touch my face. I also get acupuncture and go to therapy every week.
What’s a self-care method you’re still striving to achieve?
I’m desperate for a spiritual practice and an exercise routine because those two things aren’t covered in sleeping with crystals – even just meditating or carving out ten minutes to get out of the material world of asking for things and beginning to ask for things on another plane.
First thing you do when you get home from work? Take my clothes off.
Book on your nightstand right now? Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine.
Favorite media to consume recently? I really like Reid Hoffman’s podcast, Masters of Scale.
Most recent indulgence or splurge? I bought this Rose Quartz ring that I found in Santa Fe but didn’t buy it at the time because the store was closing and it was expensive. But then I got home and I was like, I need to wear this thing on my body so it’s in the mail.
Your favorite place to relax? I’d say my backyard, just being there with that view and looking out into the hills. That’s it.
Lede photos by Isabella Behravan.