‘Girlboss’ Producers Faced Sexism And Were Asked To Make Show Appealing For Men

Executive producer Charlize Theron said that Netflix is the only broadcast network that did not ask them to make Girlboss more appealing for men. The new comedy is based on the bestselling memoir penned by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso.

Even if the show follows Sophia’s journey, Girlboss will depict flawed females coming from different backgrounds. As reported by Deadline, Charlize said at a press event that she was attracted to the show especially because she “built a whole career playing flawed and f**ked up characters.”

Charlize Theron Women's March
Charlize Theron joins the Women's March [Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]

She said that Netflix wasn’t the only company that they approached for the project. “We pitched the show elsewhere and the feedback was absolutely shocking,” she said. Some reportedly asked them to change the title so it wouldn’t be intimidating to men.

“I had a real sense of if we didn’t find the right home for this project it would become nothing. Audiences are connecting with what women are, in all our complexities. The days of living in the Madonna/Whore complex? Gone.”

Charlize and creator Kay Cannon offered Girlboss to other broadcast networks where they got to meet mostly male executives who worried that the show was not that entertaining to men. The pair refused to adjust the concept because they wanted to “let the show live in its authenticity and not be stifled by trying to fit into some type of formula.”

They fortunately ended up with Netflix because with the company, they were never told, “Revisit the language, don’t let her sit with her legs open.”

The duo’s experience remains fairly common in show business where some stakeholders are still hesitant to invest on female-fronted shows.

Even Sophia herself isn’t excluded from the challenges. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she talked about the difficulty that comes with building Nasty Gal. Nonetheless, she is grateful because she gets to be an “author, and an executive producer, and a host.” While difficult, she considers branching out a pleasure.


The Snow White and the Huntsman actress read Sophia’s book prior to doing the project and was immediately drawn to its story.

“I’m a true believer that the future is female. We are over half the population, and yet… we are treated as second-class citizens. I think we need more stuff like this out there. I love that there’s something like that out there for young girls to watch…. The young girl in me was kind of envious, and wished like she had something like that when she was in her 20s.”

Tomorrowland actress Britt Robertson is the lead star of Girlboss. Her character is based on Sophia’s life as she transitions from an eBay vintage clothes seller to a fashion empire boss. She realizes that being the boss is not always fancy as it comes with challenges.

While the show also features Sophie as its executive producer, she told the press that she’s not that involved in the filming. “If a show is being made about your life. I think the smartest thing is to kind of stay out of the way,” she remarked.

Christian Ditter, who comes from Charlize’s own Denver & Delilah production company, will direct the show.

Kay admits that the lead character of Girlboss is “maybe unlikeable.” After all, it was solely Netflix which supported their idea to have a female lead that’s as competitive and complex as other male leads. The writer also recalled that on the first day of filming, she came on set wearing overalls and had to introduce herself to everyone because crew members “aren’t used to seeing a woman in charge.”

Girlboss premieres on April 21.

[Featured Image by Sophia Amoruso/Instagram]