We Need To Talk About How Rich Everyone Is On ‘The Bold Type’

How do they afford all their clothes?

The Bold Type money

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Much was made about the unrealistic lifestyle of an iconic New York writer of her generation: Carrie Bradshaw. Making maybe $500-$750 at a stretch — for one column per week, CAN’T have been enough to fund her lifestyle of cocktails, brunches and Manolos. Surely.

The same eye-raising issue with finances continues with the three young women who star in the best show in the world, The Bold Type, whose fourth season is currently airing on Stan.

Despite existing in a post-financial crisis world,  working in the slowly dying media industry, and living in New York City, all of which realistically necessitates a thriftier way of life than their foremother — the show is rife with excess that has carried over (heh) from a bygone era.

Three Normal Millennial Women

In season two, fashion assistant/stylist Sutton (Meghann Fahy) was given a company credit card on which she racked up a $500 charge on cocaine trying to impress a fashion influencer. Sutton has also been guilty of losing a $5000 necklace in the back of a cab! No biggie.

Meanwhile, Kat (Aisha Dee) lives in a New York loft all to herself on a social media manager’s salary, which we later find out is bankrolled by her parents to little fanfare. They presumably also foot the bill for her foray into local politics last season, for which Kat had to take time away from Scarlet, which was likely unpaid.

Everyone’s favourite character *insert sarcasm here*, Jane (Katie Stevens), faced financial strife when she was fired from the media startup that she left Scarlet for in season one, and again when Sutton moved out of their shared apartment, and in with her rich by name, rich by nature boyfriend, Richard (Sam Page).

We know little about Jane’s family other than that her mother died from breast cancer, but it isn’t unlikely that she’d be receiving monetary support from her father during these trying times. And though Jane admirably fought for egg-freezing to be included on Scarlet’s health insurance plan, she initially had two suitors offering to pay for it.

The $4 Million Dollar Apartment

Sutton has found herself in a similar predicament to Jane, in that her boyfriend Richard wants to pay for everything. Urgh.

While there are worse problems to have than Sutton’s — living in a Manhattan penthouse while Richard commutes to the other side of the country for a business venture — I relate to her reluctance to cede her financial independence, however precarious, to a man.

“I hoped that I’d be in a different spot on my career by the time I got engaged,” she said in a recent episode. “I feel like two Sutton Bradys: one who works as an assistant making $750 a week and the other who wears a vintage diamond engagement ring and sleeps in a $4 million dollar apartment.”

Sutton and I both come from low-income backgrounds, and our traumas make it difficult to rely financially on others —  particularly men.

“Growing up watching my mum depend on men for her happiness didn’t really make me excited to think about my own wedding,” she says during last week’s wedding episode.

Instead of glossing over Sutton’s reluctance to marry love and money in her relationship with Richard, as The Bold Type is want to do in its signature Very Special Episode-style, the show has surprised me by leaning into this hard this season, which I hope it continues to do as Sutton makes her way down the aisle.

Independent Career Women

Previously, The Bold Type has talked a good game about independent career women trying to make it in an increasingly precarious industry, but many of its storylines concerning gender and money are tackled through a conservative lens.

Jane’s reproductive health concerns initially being solved by men, or Kat’s lifestyle being funded by her parents, are both wins for the entitled-millennials-who-don’t-know-how-to-fend-for-themselves camp.

Another big storyline that carried over from last season is Scarlet’s future.

After editor-in-chief Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) defied the executives that publish her magazine by creating a boundary-pushing issue featuring trans and gender non-conforming models, she was fired, leaving her mentees and protagonists of the show rudderless for all of half an episode.

“They’re going to fire half of us and make the rest of us freelancers who write spon-con,” their colleague Alex (Matt Ward) fretted.

Upon Jacqueline’s return, Scarlet did indeed pivot to digital as so many of the publications we know and love, such as Scarlet’s would-be contemporaries Teen Vogue and Glamour, have done in order to survive. 

The Bold Type is, like Sex & the City before it, is a fantasy in which social media managers go on road trips on the launch day of a new website and assistants hang out in the fashion closet amidst haute couture.

But through the struggles of its slightly more relatable protagonists, The Bold Type is getting better at talking about the different elements, money chief among them, that go into upholding that fantasy.

And at the end of the day, isn’t the idea of not really worrying about money the ultimate fantasy?

The Bold Type is currently streaming season 4 on Stan.

Scarlett Harris is an Australian culture critic. You can read her previously published work at her website, The Scarlett Woman, and follow her on Twitter @ScarlettEHarris.