Four minutes into the debut episode of her Channel 10 reality TV pilot I Am … Roxy! Sydney PR maven Roxy Jacenko laid her cards on the table.
“Perfection is key,” she railed after a confrontation with her husband Oliver Curtis over the oversized light bulbs around a make-up mirror freshly installed in the couple’s renovated $6.6 million mansion.
“I’m a nightmare. I’m very difficult to live with. I’m obsessive.”
Audiences probably expected that, based on her public image.
What they may not have expected is the authentic side of an uber independent woman.
Authenticity is a word she lives by, according to I Am … Roxy’s narrator, Barrie Cassidy.
Yes, the former gilt-edged ABC political veteran has jumped from Insiders to lending his voice to Roxy’s reality show.
That vote of support took viewers by surprise.
— Damian Rabbitt (@DamianRabbitt) September 11, 2019
Jacenko seemed totally unsentimental – witness her finding her foaming wedding dress in a garage cardboard box and shoving it unceremoniously into the hatch of a car – and fun in a bracing way.
She’s a yeller, a driven and sniping perfectionist who tells her staff and family how it is.
She swears like a fishwife in front of her children (as does Curtis) and is unashamed of what her hard work has given her, including a $500,000 handbag collection.
What she isn’t is warm or fuzzy.
“I’d rather give him an elbow instead of a cuddle,” she said of Curtis, who was happy enough bringing up being jailed in 2016 for a year for insider trading.
And even before the show, that sharply divided middle Australia.
There are those who admire that by the age of 39, Jacenko has built an empire – public relations, retail, books – successful enough to support a family and lavish lifestyle, and those who despise her for the same reason.
Social media lit up after the show, which sneaked into the Top 20 shows of the day with 530,000 viewers in metro and regional areas.
“Signs that your show is good value … My Dad called me tonight and said ‘There’s a Roxy on TV, You need a bit of this Roxy in your life’. Legit,” wrote one follower on Jacenko’s Instagram account.
“I think I can really ignore Roxy Jacenko,” said one Twitter user.
“Nobody is interested in Roxy Jacenko except Roxy Jacenko,” said another.
“Take your plastic face, fake tits, and BS public profile and f–k off,” advised another.
Jacenko won’t care a fig.
Ten – which promised “a raw, uncensored and unapologetic look at the life of the controversial PR guru, author, wife and mum of two” – might. Viewers don’t watch people they don’t like.
So what did we actually learn about Roxy? She has a thing for white orchids, can bang out stuff on her computer while having her hair done and is a boss who gives her blank-faced acolytes clear, concise directions.
“I want to have a factory of people who want success and want to grow in their career,” she said.
“I don’t really care if you don’t like me. If I’m not tough, I’m not doing my job as your boss.”
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The problem with the show was that despite Cyclone Roxy giving us a peek at what her typical day looked like, there didn’t seem much more to see.
There was no drama, no sign of humour, no secondary characters worth investing in, and no obvious storyline continuation.
Jacenko’s alleged bitey personality was really just a woman whipping a deer-in-the-headlights husband into shape and going to photo shoots.
It’s hard to see where I Am … Roxy! is going. We’ve seen her house, husband, kids, work. More of the same might not cut it.
Perhaps the interesting bit was that under the make-up, Jacenko seemed surprisingly ordinary, tromping around in discount shops looking at kids’ toys between working her butt off for her family.
“Time is money,” she said.
“And I want to make a lot of it.”
The show is one of four vying during Pilot Week to be picked up as a regular show.
I Am … Roxy! airs Wednesday at 8.30pm on Channel 10