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Nancy Jo Sales

Award-winning journalist and author of American Girls

  • About Nancy Jo Sales

    An award-winning journalist and author, Nancy Jo Sales is known for her reporting on youth culture and crime and for her profiles of pop-culture icons. In her New York Times-bestselling book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, Sales sheds light on the world of sexting, cyberbullying, and pornography that are ubiquitous in today’s youth culture. In her impactful lectures, Sales talks about what it means to be a teenage girl (or boy) in America today, offering and invaluable perspective to parents, educators, and anyone working with teens.

    In 2013, Sales published her piece Friends Without Benefits about the social and sexual lives of teenage girls in Vanity Fair. The article received over a million hits and ignited an important conversation about parenting in the age of social media. Sales dives even deeper into the topic in her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, providing a window into the troubling world of girls coming of age in the new millennium, based on interviews with hundreds of girls from from Arizona to Virginia to Los Angeles to Manhattan.

    Sales is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair, and has also written for New York, Harper’s Bazaar, and many other publications. She received a Front Page Award for “Best Magazine Feature” in 2011 and a Mirror Award for “Best Profile, Digital Media” in 2010. Her 2013 book, The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World, tells the true story behind the Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring, which was based on Sales’s 2010 Vanity Fair piece, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins.”

    Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Sales graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1986 and received her M.F.A. from Columbia in 1991. She lives in New York City with her daughter.

  • Speaking Topics

    Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

    Instagram. Vine. YouTube. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of teens coming of age in America today is social media. With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Nancy Jo Sales delves into how these platforms are influencing today’s experience of adolescence and sexuality, and affecting the self-esteem of teenagers nationwide.

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  • Praise for Nancy Jo Sales


    I want to extend my gratitude to Nancy Jo Sales for a truly wonderful event. We had 200 attendees who were completely awed by Nancy Jo and the content she shared. Nancy Jo spoke to every single person as they were getting their books signed and she had a way of making them feel as though they were the only people in the room. Thank you for making this our most successful counselor workshop to date.

    St. Joseph’s College, Long Island

    Nancy Jo led a very helpful conversation with some of our faculty and staff and helped us think through the broader context for some of our policies involving phone use in certain spaces; she led a spirited discussion with an enthusiastic group of students during dinner; and she gave a well-received presentation in the evening. Her research pointed out how so many of our daily interactions, especially around social media, help perpetuate patriarchal culture in ways that most students (and adults) are not even aware of. It was a successful visit!

    Flavia Vidal, Director of the Brace Center for Gender Studies at Phillips Academy

    Everything went fabulously with Nancy Jo! She was a huge hit with the girls, and I think her talk sparked a lot of important conversations within the school. I’ve been doing a lesson in my 10th grade leadership seminar on how to set a goal and develop an action plan, and already half of the students have made their goal to change their social media habits!

    Nightingale-Bamford School

    Praise for American Girls

    This intelligent, history-grounded investigation by journalist Sales (The Bling Ring) finds dismaying evidence that social media has fostered a culture “very hostile” to girls in which sexism, harassment, and cyberbullying have become the “new normal,” along with the “constant chore” of tailoring one’s image for public consumption and approval… Parents, educators, administrators, and the purveyors of social media platforms should all take note of this thoughtful, probing, and urgent work.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Sales forces us to face a disturbing new reality in a book that should be required reading for parents, teachers, school administrators, legislators and the boys’ club of Silicon Valley.

    The San Francisco Chronicle

    Social media is life; social media destroys life. For American Girls, Ms. Sales spent two and a half years investigating this paradox…. and she’s exquisitely unobtrusive as she does it. Conversations that are not safe for adults seem to open like apps under her fingertips. She has sophisticated methods of infiltration.

    The Wall Street Journal

    Sales digs into every aspect of girls’ online lives, revealing myriad disturbing details…If you have a teenage daughter, read American Girls. Have her read it, too.

  • Books by Nancy Jo Sales

  • Media About Nancy Jo Sales

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Nancy Jo Sales travels from New York, NY

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