Welcome to the Style Girl Boss series! Each week, we bring you the story of an inspiring boss babe who’s killing it in her respective industry. Whether she’s a CEO, a small business owner, has a massive social media presence or a promising future ahead, we hope her story will inspire, educate and support all Girl Bosses out there, big and small.
This week we speak to PR heavyweight and Original Girl Boss Roxy Jacenko. Based in Sydney, Roxy stumbled into the PR world without any intention or experience.
“I was working as the receptionist for clothing label Diesel. A position became available looking after the company's PR… I honestly didn't give it a second thought and jumped at the chance to learn something new,” she says.
This pure drive and ambition is what sets Roxy apart from her peers today. After working in PR at Diesel for several months, she realised just how much coverage she was gaining for the brand and that she had a natural skill without any prior experience. From there, Roxy set out to start her own PR brand, Sweaty Betty at the young age of 24.
Roxy started with no preconceived ideas or rulebook to guide her. Today, Sweaty Betty is one of the most renowned PR brands in Australia. Perhaps part of her success came with doing things her own way.
“I wanted to do things differently, better and bigger than what anyone else was doing,” she says.
Roxy never had career mentors, preferring to find the best version of herself on her own through trial, error and a lot of hard work. That being said, Roxy’s mother, Doreen, has always been a massive support and was the person who instilled the work ethic that makes Roxy so successful.
From a young age, women have been taught that being bossy is a negative characteristic; that being passive and sweet might makes us more likable and feminine.
The Girl Boss movement, started by Sophia Amoruso of online store Nasty Gal, encourages women to own all the qualities we’ve previously been ashamed of, such as being bossy, ambitious, independent, outspoken or serious.
“Women are still, to some extent, breaking free of the traditionally passive, agreeable nature we’re supposed to possess,” says Roxy. “It’s not about being nasty or rude; it’s just about being assertive and possessing the qualities required to be successful in the competitive world we live in.”
The longstanding societal norm dictates that women should be hitting certain milestones at particular points in their lives. Although Roxy is successfully juggling motherhood and thriving businesses (better than most), she will always have unrealistic expectations thrust upon her: Roxy has been criticised in the media for her commitment to her job and accused of putting her family second.
“Yes, I’m busy. Yes, I’m driven,” she says, “but that’s my personal choice. If you want to run a successful business, then of course you’re going to be busy and you most certainly need to be driven.”
Just last month, Roxy faced media scrutiny when edited indecent pictures of Pixie, her four-year-old-daughter, were circulated online in a vicious attack. Speaking to Roxy, or simply looking at her Instagram account, it’s evident that family comes first and she’s determined not to let this ordeal bring her or her loved ones down.
One thing Roxy points out is that being a mother, wife, friend, partner and businesswoman (and the list goes on) is a juggling act.
“I don’t really overthink it,” says Roxy. “I just deal with what’s happening in the here and now. My family is my biggest priority so I always make sure I spend some time with the kids each day and on the weekends. It often means late nights on emails but you do what you have to do.”
That’s one thing that is immediately evident about Roxy: her no-BS approach to everything. “I just take every day as it comes,” she says, “I make the best decision I can at the time and never consider myself above any task – just get in and do what has to be done.”
This is a quality that Roxy also instils in her staff. All communication with Sweaty Betty PR staff is simple, fast and they go above and beyond to help out their clients. “This is something we pride ourselves on,” Roxy says. “It’s something I teach every staff member the moment they start: the importance of good old-fashioned manners. Surprisingly they’re not as common as you’d think!”
So what advice does the Original Girl Boss have for other women?
- Strive for perfection and always look to improve.
- If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on.
- Don’t dwell on your weaknesses or the negatives.
- Be prepared to put in the long hours, blood, sweat and tears if you want results.
- Never give up.
Roxy has a busy year ahead of her. “We will see the launch of Pixie’s Bows at Myer stores and hopefully get the Pixie’s Skincare line off the ground – it’s one that’s been in the ‘in development’ pile for too long!”
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