For this month’s Woman of the Month feature I could think of no one better than Goss.ie founder, Alexandra Ryan. I have been following Alexandra for a while now and I enjoy her content because it’s so relatable and depicts the struggles and working life of a young Irish woman.
A fellow journalist, Alexandra (31) is an inspiration to me setting up her own business in 2014. Goss.ie has become hugely successful which is no surprise considering the talent and hard work shown by its founder.
Alexandra won the NNI Showbiz Journalist of the Year in 2012. Of the experience she says, “I was the youngest person to ever be nominated in the category, let alone to win it. Winning that award had been my long-term career goal, so when I actually won, I thought to myself “what next?”
According to Alexandra, at the time there were no sites in Ireland dedicated to showbiz. “I knew that people were becoming more interested in getting their news on time, right now, on their phones. There was such a gap in the market for a news platform like Goss.ie.”
Before the pandemic began, Alexandra was at the top of her game in showbiz journalism and was about to move to Los Angeles. When this was derailed, she turned her sights on another long-time ambition to study Law. Law was actually Alexandra’s first choice when she completed her Leaving Cert, but she unfortunately became sick and was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic.
As a result, Alexandra is high-risk for Covid-19 and has spent most of her time on her own since last March. “While, of course, the business takes up most of my time, I wanted something just for me in the evenings and weekends. I wanted to come out of this pandemic feeling like I have achieved something.”
Of course, there was also another reason why Alexandra wished to go back and study Law at Griffith College Dublin.
“I wanted to have a proper understanding of the law so I can fight some of these battles myself in the future. I also have a passion for bringing in certain legislation in Ireland, especially regarding online harassment and revenge porn. These are issues I talk on often, and again I wanted to be able to speak on important issues properly, and knowledge is power after all.”
As a business owner and publisher Alexandra is always dealing with legal issues. “I have two legal teams, but over the years I have got involved myself, and learned so much about litigation and different areas of Irish law.”
Since I interviewed Alexandra, she revealed aptly on Gossie.ie that she had been a victim of revenge porn. She has been an advocate for women against slut shaming, revenge porn and sexism for the last number of years and set up her ‘Bare It’ campaign last year.
Alexandra says: “for me, it was about taking back my body and finally getting to control the narrative...When I have a daughter, I want her to grow up in a world where people don’t believe she is “asking for it” if she wears a short skirt or is a slut.”
Alexandra decided to share her story because The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill (Coco’s Law) was recently signed into law. Prior to this, there were no laws to prevent people from sharing explicit images or videos of someone without their consent.
The successful journalist says “unless you’ve been through this, you can’t possibly understand the immense emotions of shame and embarrassment revenge porn can create. I can never put into words what the shame feels like, the depression it caused, the panic attacks, the relentless anxiety. I thought everyone believed I was a slut, a whore, and that I deserved it.”
Despite the mental toll and stress, she experienced due to a traumatic betrayal of trust, Alexandra feels it has not stopped her moving forward in her career by promoting the Goss brand and through her reporting. Goss.ie stories have been credited in The New York Post, the Daily Mail, and People magazine.
The Dublin native says “I have always been huge on visualisation, and some of my favourite entrepreneurs would practise the same techniques. I’ve worked so hard, 24/7, and for a long time 7 days a week. It’s easy to look at the glitz and the glamour and believe it’s all fun and light-hearted but there have been so many ups and downs along the way.”
Alexandra has developed the Goss brand in recent years and created an event to celebrate the best in the industry every year. The Gossies awards ceremony first took place in 2016 and its young founder claims it has nearly grown into a business of its own.
“For us, The Gossies are always such a great way to reward so many people in this industry. It can be a very tough industry to work in, a lot of the people we nominate can deal with hate and criticism, but on that one night it’s our job to give back to those who entertain us.”
The young entrepreneur has decided to go ahead with the Gossies again this year virtually so the awards ceremony will be filmed and shown online. She says “I really do think people want to have something to look forward to, a reason to dress up, and a way to catch up with everyone, even if it is virtual.”
With that in mind, Alexandra has her eyes set on a bright and busy 2021. She plans to grow the Goss brand this year and get back into acting and scriptwriting.
The successful journalist says: “I’m also planning to pass this law degree with flying colours. I always have a new goal and a new plan. My goal is to wake up grateful every day and continue to work my ass off to get where I want to be.”