Why I Admire the Women of Jerseylicious (Just Hear Me Out)

I have a confession: I really like watching Jerseylicious.

I guess it’s not that big of a confession when you consider that my guilty pleasure TV habits already include watching Bad Girls Club, Real Housewives of Atlanta and Hoarders, but I didn’t really think I had any more room for mindless TV addictions.

I’ve proven myself wrong.

Jerseylicious is a reality show about the hair and make-up artists of a salon in New Jersey called Gatsby Salon and the employees who left Gatsby to start their own businesses. Gatsby is owned by a woman named Gayle and at this point in the season Gayle’s entire staff is female. All of them are from Jersey and fit the stereotype: big hair, orange tans and ridiculously long French manicured tips.

But, believe it or not, that’s not why I can’t stop watching.

I absolutely love how each of these women is about her business. They have big dreams and don’t seem to let a single thing stand in their way of achieving them. My favorite of the crew is Olivia (shown on the top right), and no it’s not because we share a love for pink and zebra print.

Olivia knows what she wants.

She is 24 years old like me and works at the Gatsby as a makeup artist. She's very outgoing, confident, driven and assertive. With only a few years of experience – if that – under her belt, she’s passionate about what she does and has ambitious goals. She is determined to make a name for herself.

She makes mistakes, but owns up to them.

In one particular episode, Olivia’s relationship with another makeup artist at Gatsby takes a turn for the worst. As a result, Gayle suspends her for a week to think about her future at the salon. After four days she comes back, asks to speak to Gayle and presents her with an ultimatum. She stupidly places Gayle in a situation where Gayle has to choose between her, a fairly new makeup artist that she loves, and Doria, an experienced makeup artist with a long history at the Gatsby. Dumb move.

After being practically kicked out of Gayle’s office, Olivia spends the rest of her seven day suspension thinking long and hard. When she comes back to talk to Gayle, she immediately apologizes and instead presents her with a proposal that she believes would satisfy the both of them.

She takes risks.

Presenting Gayle with an ultimatum was definitely a risk - one that obviously did not work out in her favor. However she didn’t let that stop her from getting where she wanted to be: lead makeup artist at a salon. The first thing she does is set up a meeting with Doria to work out their differences and come to a mutual agreement that would improve their working relationship. Then she went back to Gatsby to meet with Gayle and present her proposal: work at the Gatsby part-time and work at another salon as a lead makeup artist part-time.

By doing this, she ran the risk of being fired. While Gayle definitely cares about Olivia and is committed to her professional development, Olivia’s behavior in the past has at times been very bad for business. Fortunately, Gayle gave her blessing and Olivia now has the opportunity to prove herself elsewhere. I can only imagine the excitement and nervousness she must feel about this next step in her career.

Sometimes role models and lessons come from the most unlikely places. I honestly never would’ve thought I'd be writing about a reality TV show, far less Jerseylicious, on this blog one day. I honestly just couldn’t help but admire Olivia as I watched last week’s episode, and I had to share with someone.

So, yea, I know I probably haven’t convinced you to go catch up on the season. (That’s fine with me anyway since I don’t get compensation based on your actions after reading this.) However, if you happen to scroll through your TV guide looking for something to watch and it comes up, give Jerseylicious a chance. Olivia and the other women on the show are very savvy business women.

What’s not to love about that?