If there’s one thing we know about social media, is that it’s the brightest of highlight reels.
Pearly white grins, perfect bodies, faultless makeup and bubbly families populate our feeds, the happy news filtered to become even shinier, the bad news ignored as if it never happened.
A scroll through Roxy Jacenko’s feed shows much of the above. Bunches of flowers. A set of particularly pronounced abs. A smile. Another smile. A hug from her two kids. A few more hugs. Work, and a lot of it.
Of course, in the last year, her husband, Oliver Curtis, has left a gap in her life while in jail for insider trading. But that is set to change following the news this morning of his much-anticipated release.
Roxy Jacenko, as a PR maven and social media aficionado, has quite a presence online.
And in the last 12 months – 12 months dictated by prison sentences, cancer and public shaming – watching Jacenko’s activity online has been an interesting experience. Here’s a woman with a fancy handbag, a fancier car, long-flowing blonde locks and two happy children, one whose visceral pain – physical and otherwise – has been documented in places that isn’t her social media space.
Interviews – ones where the 37-year-old has openly questioned “what the f*ck [her] life has become” and revealed instances where she found herself “crying” in front of her children – have given us insight into the private struggle that’s dogged the PR queen behind the blinding light of a smartphone screen.
And so, in the last 12 months, we’ve seen two kinds of Roxy Jacenkos: The Instagram Jacenko, full of lavish luxury and giggly families, and the other, the Publicly Private Jacenko. One who is candid and – all things considered – dignified when talking about how the world has worked against her a little bit lately.
Both versions deserve our respect.
One, for showing the world what it means to live through your pain, and the other one, for talking about it.
The force of public opinion demands we consider Jacenko polarising. A little unlikable. Feisty. Unapologetically wealthy. Her only crime, it would seem, is marrying someone else who committed one years before.
In the last 12 months, Roxy Jacenko has delivered a masterclass on resilience, and on the simple act of getting sh*t done.
She could've disappeared from our radar, stepped back from her business, hidden from Instagram and unleashed with understandable fury at the propensity of the media to invade her space. And the way paparazzi snap photos with reckless abandon, and certainly little consideration of her five-year-old and three-year-old children.
But Jacenko did the opposite, leaning into her work and her family and definitely her social media activity. She has kept her anger to herself, giving us pieces of her sadness but certainly withholding most of the pie.
You can hold Curtis with a tinge of contempt, for he committed a crime. But Jacenko? The woman juggled a public profile, single motherhood, breast cancer, a handful of self-started businesses, being the centre of many a media storm and occasionally the target of public shame in a 12-month period.
On a day like today, a day that shuts a door on a year Jacenko will no doubt close with lock and key, we should be able to separate our contempt for crime and our respect for those who power on.
Best of all, I have the distinct feeling Roxy Jacenko doesn't want my sympathy.
And I think that's why I like her so much.
Roxy Jacenko and the Whole Damned Thing: Her interview with Mia Freedman's No Filter.