If you're in PR, you've likely heard of Roxy Jacenko.
Roxy is a 31 year old PR dynamo who founded her own PR firm at age 24, calling it Sweaty Betty.
Seven years later, Sweaty Betty is Sydney’s most well known fashion PR firm, employing a team of 20, and responsible for over 80 local and international fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands. Roxy has now become as renowned as the brands she reps.
Her story is inspiring to those starting out in the biz; I met Roxy when she was new to the industry, working behind the scenes at fashion brand Diesel, soon landing the role of PR manager at the company.
Instantly open, likeable, obliging, agreeble - and very efficient (Roxy was PRing Von Dutch, and thanks to her, that brand was suddenly everywhere), I recall thinking back then: who is this whirlwind?
Soon everyone knew.
Today, she balances her work life with her family life - she is mum to newborn daughter Pixie-Rose (and makes no apologies for working extra hard) and is marrying her fiancé in early 2012.
And somehow she has found time to pen her first book, 'Strictly Confidential'.
Central to the book is Jasmine Lewis – aka Jazzy Lou - a smart, young publicist trying her best to work her way up from the bottom in Sydney’s hottest PR company (sound familiar, PR grads?)
Jasmine’s done the hard yards: the coffee runs, the dry-cleaning pick-ups, the early starts, the late, late finishes. But her 'evil' boss Diane Wildenstein? Never happy.
Next stop for Jasmine is creating her own firm, Queen Bee PR (oooh, wait: Sweaty Betty's address is Queen Street, Beaconsfield... I wonder if... nah!).
Strictly Confidential introduces us to an interesting cast of characters:
Belle Single: hailing from 'the Shire', she's an aspiring actress with a thing for fast cars and men and a healthy bank account (now, that sounds an awful lot like... another famed Shire 'babe').
Samantha Priest: model, socialite and born bogan, she will do anything to resurrect her flagging career.
Luke Jefferson: gossip columnist for The Sun, he’s not afraid to Tweet what he spies - and he's rather tight with Jasmine.
Raven: the American, pill-popping starlet, notorious for her coked up YouTube performance more than her role with Vixenary lingerie.
Matt Ashley: famed cricketer, Matt Ashley is Gen Y’s answer to Shane Warne (oh dear).
Michael Lloyd: this handsome lad is Jasmine’s 'knight' - and also Belle Single’s boyfriend
Expect romance, frenemies, and A-list disasters... and a dose of reality (okay, with a smidge of embellishment) in Strictly Confidential.
Roxy sat down to answer some questions about the book... and what's next for her:
Okay, so the obvious question: how much of the book and the characters are based on people you know?Strictly Confidential is a fictional novel but there is no question that I have been inspired by the people I have met along the way, the events we have worked on and the day to day running’s of a PR company. No one person or event is totally based on actual events, but inspired by and embellished to create an exciting read for the audience.
And: how much is based on the goings on at the Sweaty Betty office?My start of Queen Bee is very similar to the start of Sweaty Betty PR, right down to the insurance cheque as my start up funds through to developing a Nurofen Plus habit.
What was the catalyst for you to want to write a book – and how long as this been on your to-do list?Writing a book wasn’t something that was on my radar however it came about as part of some work we were doing with Channel 7 in the form of an observational documentary on the day to day running of a PR company – Sweaty Betty PR. The publishers from Allen & Unwin saw it as something that could make a fabulous book and it went from there. One and a half years later we have a novel which is so exciting and a great achievement. I always did joke with my initial team when I first started the company that "there's definitely a book in this" just based on what we saw and who we had the chance to work with, all at such a young age. And that was when the business was in its infancy!
What do you say to people who think they can see themselves in particular characters?It’s all fiction. Right?
How do you hope the general public will react, and what do you hope readers will get from it?How hard you need to work in the world of PR; it's far from a life of Champagne and canapés many like to think it is. At the same time if you set your mind to something, all you need it determination and drive and anything is possible. Plus, it's a fun, easy read for the summertime with a little sparkle, fashion, love and celebrity to boot!
Another book in the pipeline for you? It’s not on my immediate radar but I won't say never!
'Strictly Confidential' will be available at all bookstores (and in e-book format) from January 3, 2012.
Snap up your copy.