Lady Boss Lived Large


It was the winter of 2013.  I was a busy mother of three, juggling scheduling conflicts and deadlines when I got the email that I'd be talking to superstar author Jackie Collins to help promote her new novel, 'The Power Trip'.  I was nearly sucked down by the undercurrent of ineptitude I felt. This was a woman whose novels I'd spent my middle school years trading in the bathroom with other like-minded heathens in plaid jumpers and knee socks. No set of questions I came up with seemed worthy. She was the glitzy, leopard print wordsmith of my formative years so I was determined to come to the interview with something that didn't make me seem like a swooning preteen. Back in the day, she was the antidote to the informational void we always encountered when asking about sex. That intimate knowledge wasn't going to teach itself and the nuns were doing everything in their power to make sure none of us had any idea what we were doing when we got out there. We needed her over-the-top sex-soaked novels for reference. She wrote about stylish, potent, powerful women in six-inch heels, with glorious flowing manes of hair, gripping five thousand dollar handbags, things twelve-year-olds with braces and acne couldn't even begin to grasp. 

Naturally, I got through the interview, and nearly a decade later things have taken somewhat of a dark turn. Only two years after I spoke to her, Jackie Collins passed away just a few weeks shy of her 78th birthday leaving millions of fans stunned and a gaping void in the publishing world. Now, however, we have been gifted with a documentary, 'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story', that covers the most intimate aspects of her life with the same frothy over-the-top joie de vivre that she employed while building her one-woman literary empire.

The film (which had its premiere at the Tribeca film festival and has already been shown on CNN) is currently available on Netflix and is a must for anyone who wants a peek behind the carefully crafted facade that hid her personal struggles. Jackie Collins lived as large as some of the characters in her novels and suffered epic setbacks that were clearly not as well publicized, probably due to her closely guarding her real life and the people in it, while promoting her public persona.  The director, Laura Fairrie, lets a cast of Jackie's closest friends and family narrate this immersive journey through her life, touching on her importance to the early 80s feminist movement, her revolutionary novels, her successful and failed relationships, and her loving family. The dynamic between Jackie and her superstar sister Joan is especially intriguing to watch. It's a heady mix of fact, scandal, and image crafting spun by a self-made woman who never took no for an answer and kept pushing forward no matter how large the obstacles in her way seemed. 

'Lady Boss' is hilarious and incredibly moving in equal measure, and since we've all been cooped up looking for good streaming content for the better part of two years now, I highly recommend you add it to your Netflix queue as soon as possible.   We miss you, Jackie!

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