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About the Author: Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso

    Sophia Amoruso is a self- made millionaire who went from “rags- to- riches.” She is the CEO of an online vintage fashion company called Nasty Gal, but before all the fame and success, Amoruso was an ordinary woman who was born in San Diego, California in 1984 to a Greek- American family. During high school, she was diagnosed with depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Soon after, she dropped out of high school and began homeschooling. Her parents divorced after high school, and Amoruso then moved to Sacramento, California to begin a new life. As a young adult, Amoruso lived life on the edge. She jumped from job to job, never making above minimal wage. She hitchhiked all over the west coast, went dumpster diving, and stole. In 2003, she was eventually caught stealing which prompted her to stop and to start to new way of life (Gittleson 2014). At first, the possibility of her becoming a successful entrepreneur seemed nearly impossible considering she had no business experience, was a high school drop-out, and financially broke; however, she preserved and was always on the look- out for new opportunities until she found one. At the young age of 22, she created an online eBay store she called Nasty Gal Vintage. Her love for fashion transpired when she created her first vintage garment which she submitted on eBay for auction. It created immediate profit and a business opportunity. She styled, photographed, captioned, and shipped the products herself using what she was taught in a photography class. After her success with eBay, she created an independent online store for young women on social media. Revenues quickly grew and by 2011 Nasty Gal brought in $23 million. By 2014, she created her autobiography, #GirlBoss. On January 12, 2015, Amoruso stepped down from CEO and in November of 2016, Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy. By 2017, Boohoo Group purchased Nasty Gal for $20 million, with Nasty Gal remaining in Los Angeles and continuing to produce apparel, shoes, and accessories under its own brand (Boushey 2013).

Overview of the Text

Official Book Cover

Sophia Amoruso begins her book by displaying a vague chronology of her life from the time she was born to present day where she is now CEO of a self-made multi-million-dollar online fashion company, Nasty Gal. As Sophia writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this” (Amoruso, 2014). In her book, Amoruso admits to being a high- school drop out with no previous business experience; however, she describes success as not being the most popular nor the most experienced, but rather trusting your instincts and following your gut. She depicts a girl boss as a fighter who gets what she wants because she works for it (Amoruso, 2014). A girl boss takes control, accepts responsibility, and sometimes breaks the rules. Sophia became the girl boss she set out to be despite hating school and enduring “shitty jobs” for several years. Once she became a girl boss, Sophia’s love for vintage and entrepreneurship grew and stemmed from the lessons she learned from her past. She first began selling vintage items on an online eBay store she created. The first item she sold was a stolen book and later began to sell only vintage clothing. It created immediate profit and a business opportunity. Thereafter, Nasty Gal was established, and she continued to expand and improve her company ever since. Throughout the book, Sophia empowers and reminds the readers that if she can achieve a successful, wealthy life, then so can anyone else. In addition, she teaches the reader that to be a girl boss, it is important to learn from their past hardships and other people’s mistakes. For example, Sophia discussed her hatred for school, and realized it is not something for everyone which is one lesson that shaped her into a successful woman (Amoruso, 2014). The take-away message is simple: be bossy, experiment, and don’t play by the rules. In conclusion, if someone wants to be a girl boss, then one needs to develop the characteristics of one through the self-motivation to learn from mistakes, work hard, and the desire to be extraordinary.

Reviews of the Text

Book published on May 6, 2014

  • Forbes Magazine says, “What Amoruso also does so flawlessly is leave the reader with the realization that our work can and should be rewarding at all stages, regardless of the dollars in our bank accounts or the external success of our ventures” (Stahl 2016). Overall, this was a very positive review with multiple paragraphs praising its excellence.  The article summarizes how Amoruso embodies the American Dream and reveres her entrepreneurship in today’s fast-changing world.  This article was posted on August 15, 2016, two years after publishing.
  • Untouchable Blog  says about #GirlBoss, “Throughout the book, she proudly brags about being difficult and headstrong, a square peg in a world of round holes” (Renata, 2015). This was a mixed review written in a large paragraph. While the review acknowledged Amoruso’s story and success, it also points out how Amoruso may have been sexist in the title, as well as some of the phrases she uses in the book. This article was posted on March 20, 2015, about a year after publishing.

 Connections to Other People

Madam C.J Walker

Sophia Amoruso is the CEO of an online vintage fashion company called Nasty Gal. Her company was an immediate success and she quickly became a self- made millionaire. Madam C. J. Walker has a similar but also different story to Amoruso. They both went from “rags- to- riches” and had to persevere through many things before creating their immensely successful companies. Although their companies are very different, they both had a lot of passion for what they were doing. After Walker was diagnosed with scalp disorder that caused her to lose her hair, she was inspired to create a hair product for African- American women to promote hair growth ( Team, 2009). On the other hand, Amoruso’s love for fashion transpired when she created her first vintage garment which she submitted on eBay for auction. Both companies were instantly successful, and the two women became an inspiration for many women around the world. Besides their companies being different, their background and heritage also contrasted each other. Madam C.J Walker was an African- American woman who came to life right after slavery ended. Whereas Amoruso is white woman came around the 21st century. Despite both going from “rags- to- riches,” Madam C.J Walker had to overcome a substantial number of barriers compared to Amoruso. Not only because she was a woman of color, but also because of the harsh time she was brought up in. Although slavery was considered illegal, people of color were still discriminated against for several decades after and even still in present day America.

Historical Context

     How Amoruso’s rise in the business world came at the right time – One of the most noticeable changes that the 21st century brought to fruition was the increase in dotcom businesses. Online retailer companies such as Amazon and eBay, where Sophia Amoruso started her business, saw sales upwards of three billion dollars and twenty-five million dollars respectively. Economist article “The Dotcom Wreckage”, written in May of 2001, predicted future mergers like the one between eBay and Microsoft, foretelling the dominant rise of dotcom companies (“The Dotcom Wreckage,” 2001). Amoruso’s decision to venture into the online market could not have come at a better time. #GirlBoss and her success story can be attributed to the rise of dotcom companies.

Works Cited

Amoruso, Sophia. #Girlboss. Portfolio Penguin, 2014.

Boushey, Heather, and Jane Farrell. “A Woman’s Agenda for the 21st Century.” Center for American Progress, 23 May 2013,

Gittleson, Kim. “Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso: ‘Shoplifting Saved My Life’.” BBC News, BBC, 19 May 2014, Staff. “Madam C. J. Walker.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,

“Two American Entrepreneurs: Madam C.J. Walker and J.C. Penney–Photos 4 and 5.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department
of the Interior,

Renata. “REVIEW: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.” Untouchable, Untouchable, 20 Mar. 2015,

Stahl, Ashley. “Lessons Learned From Sophia Amoruso’s ‘#Girlboss’ Movement.”Forbes, Forbes
Magazine, 15 Aug. 2016,

Sophia Amoruso. PBS,

“The Dotcom Wreckage.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 21 Mar. 2001,

Wang, Connie. “Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS Book Cover Was Just Revealed.” Girl Boss Book Cover, Refinery29, 28 Jan. 24AD,

“#Girlboss Review.”, Marketing BFF, 20 May 2016,