You Can Be Both A Party Girl And A Girl Boss

by Zara Barrie

Contrary to popular belief, you can be both a wild, outrageous, champagne-swilling, ripped-fishnet-wearing, bright-red-lipstick-sporting, shiny-black-leather-quilted-Chanel-bag-clutching, reigning queen of the dance floor, fiercely fabulous party girl.... and a hyper-successful girl boss all at once.

Yes, charismatic party girl with sky high ambitions: I'm looking right at YOU, babes.

Like, where did these stifling restraints even come from? It's bullshit that society makes us feel like we're either reckless "party girls" going nowhere fast OR successful girl bosses who've never set a single velvet-platform-clad foot into a ~glittery~ nightclub.

Where did these stifling restraints even come from?

Let's talk about my darling friend Jemima*, for instance. Jemima is British, extremely chic and exorbitantly wealthy (self-made wealthy). She gets paid heaps and heaps of money to just style rich celebrities and London socialites.

Let's keep this between you, me and the family, but one time, after a few bottles of prosecco (we can't always drink champagne, dahling), Jemima confessed to me she makes $250k per year.

That's a quarter of a million dollars PER YEAR! And she's not even 30 yet: She runs her own company at 27.

In the daytime, Jemima is alllll business. She wears sleek Rag & Bone leather pants tucked into $1,000 Givenchy boots and pressed black blazers, and slathers lipstick the color of vampire blood across her no-nonsense lips.

She puts entitled white men who think they know more than her – because they're, uh, entitled white men in the workforce – in their places constantly.

She negotiates and she charms. She's feared. She yells at her assistants (only when they deserve it) and was once called "the most powerful lesbian" in fashion.

Now that's what I call a fucking girl boss, baby!

Oh, but let's talk about the other side of Jemima: Jemima is also one of the most notorious party girls in all of London.

Oh, yes: Thursday through Sunday evenings, Jemima is rushed through velvet ropes of elite clubs, where she rubs her well-exfoliated elbows with the finest drag queens, the most powerful celebrities and the wildest eccentrics.

There are no stiff leather pants at midnight. When the clock strikes 12 am, this girl is all tulle skirts, lace stockings, patent leather stripper goth platforms and smiling lips the color of bright pink cotton candy.

Gay men flock to her in droves.

"What, do you secretly have, like, tickets to see Cher in concert tucked into your bag?" I'll bitchily quip to her during our weekly night out at the gay club.

The truth is, I've always known why Jemima is worshiped by the fickle gays of the nightclub underworld. Jemima sparkles in a way real party girls sparkle. She Edie Sedgwick sparkles.

She Rihanna sparkles. She Miley Cyrus sparkles. She David Bowie sparkles.

"Oh, Jemima is such a party girl. She must have rich parents or something," a red-headed boy with terrible breath said to me once, as Jemima took a large shot of vodka with the nightclub owner's girlfriend.

I shot him one of my classic dismissive gazes.

Um, she's actually one of the most popular stylists in London. She's entirely self-made. What do you do, dude?

I strutted away before he had a chance to answer, leaving him scratching in the dust of dancefloor glitter.

I was sick of this bullshit.

It was happening to me more and more as well. Some pimply-faced fuckboy would make some condescending comment to both of us at the club.

"I actually have a job, and I'm toooo tired to keep dancing," he would whine as he watched both Jemima and I twirl in the twinkly dance floor lights until 2 am.

"So do we, you shit!" we would spit back at him, as we continued to groove. "It's not our fault you can't handle doing both, you tiresome wimp!"

And the most frustrating part is, the boys who party are never expected to be jobless losers. Yet, the work ethic of a party girl is always questioned.

The work ethic of a party girl is always questioned.

Have you ever partied with an overworked finance guy? It's like partying with Lindsay Lohan in her darkest hour.

The drugs! The booze! The sleepless nights! The random sex!

Yet, when finance bro puts on his suit and tie in the morning and takes the downtown train to Wall Street, no one questions his ability to be BOTH a brilliant financial analyst and a raging party boy.

In fact, when do you ever even hear the term "party boy?"

When do you ever even hear the term 'party boy?'

The truth is, the term "party girl" is a trope...  just like "chill girl" or "cool girl" or "good girl" or "manic pixie dream girl."

No girl is just ONE of those things. That's why all these terms can be so damaging to our self-esteem: They undermine our complexity.

Girls are complex, multi-faceted, deeply-layered creatures.

Yes, you can be a party girl. It's not shameful to be a party girl.

All girls are complex, multi-faceted, deeply-layered creatures.

I'm a party girl.

I love to get dressed up in crazy outfits. I love to hit the clubs. I've been clubbing in Manhattan since I was 15 years old.

I went to the Fetish Ball at Limelight when I was 16. I'm proud of my nightlife history. I grew up in the gay club.

But I've also always been a girl boss, through and through.


I haven't had an unambitious moment in my life. I've always had gigantic career dreams, and I've always worked tirelessly at making those dreams a reality.

I've run theaters. I've directed plays. I've written grants.

I've worked for magazines and online publications. I've had a livable career as an actress. I've juggled jobs as a shot girl in an Arabic nightclub on Avenue C. At the same time, I've woken up at 6 am to hustle for auditions.

The truth is, the term 'party girl' is a trope.

Yet, if I upload even ONE Instagram picture with a glass of champagne and a minidress, people start judgmentally whispering, "She's a party girl. I don't know if she's right for the job.... if you know what I mean."

When I look at the women I know who are really killing it in the workplace, some of them are party girls and some of them are homebodies. Some are uptight, while some are chill.

Some girls have dark, checkered pasts. Some come from perfect little families, and grew up with white picket fences.

I don't think one necessarily informs the other. In fact, I think it's really reductive to assume one informs the other.

I do think some traits of us party girls definitely help us succeed as girl bosses: a killer sense of style, fab social skills, incredible energy, charisma and the ability to connect with all kinds of people (because they are all kinds of people in the club, oh honey).

Herein lies the great question: Can the party destroy the party girl?


Herein lies the great question: Can the party destroy the party girl?

If the party girl strays away from playing with just the sequins and the champagne, and instead starts dabbling with toxic powders, spending more time tucked away in the bathroom stall than on the dance floor, then the party girl is in trouble of falling into the trap of addiction.

And addiction (oh girl, I've been there) can kill away the girl boss prowess. Addiction is so powerful, it usually ends up trumping ambition. But once you enter the territory of addiction, you're not really a party girl anymore: You're just a girl with a problem.

All kinds of girls can lose themselves to addiction, whether they're "homebodies," "party girls," "girl bosses," "chill girls" or "manic pixie dream girls." Addiction doesn't discriminate.

Identifying as a party girl doesn't mean you're identifying as self-destructive. Calling yourself a party girl just means you're a girl who finds nightlife culture fun.

It's really that simple.

It doesn't mean "partying" defines your existence, and it CERTAINLY doesn't mean you're just a pretty head of blowdried hair with no active brain underneath.

You can be and have it all, baby: That's the coolest part about being a GIRL.

You can lead a life that is about your business, about socializing, about garnering new life experiences AND about love.

You don't have to choose just one thing.

Society makes us feel like we have to be just one thing because they're terrified by a girl's ability to multitask. They want to put us inside neat little boxes so they can better control us.

They make us feel like we have to be just one thing because they're terrified by our ability to multitask.

But if there has ever been a moment in history to smash the neat little box (aka, the patriarchy) and the archaic values of what a girl is supposed to be, it's now, baby.

So, party girl: I trust you know how to party AND be a fucking cool girl boss. Keep partying, keep slaying at work and don't let any fuckboy tell you you can't be the million amazing things you are.