Jesse Draper is transforming the way we consume business information one pink stiletto at a time. As the founder and host of The Valley Girl Show, which features in depth, yet digestible interviews with some of the most influential global entrepreneurs, Draper is making business fun and fashionable. Having grown up in Silicon Valley during the dot com boom, she is familiar with the movers and shakers who have shaped the digital age. Glam caught up with Draper to talk strategy and style:
Who is the Valley Girl?
I am the Valley Girl. I started the show because I realized not everyone knows how businesses work and how businesses are started. I grew up in Silicon Valley so I am the Silicon Valley Girl and I wanted to start a fun talk show like the Ellen DeGeneres of business, where you could learn about businesses in a really easy digestible way. The people I interview are heroes of mine and I wanted a place for them to kick back and have fun. You typically see them on Bloomberg and CNBC getting grilled for their numbers with straight, hard interviews, which there is definitely a place for. But there wasn’t previously a place for the kinds of interviews I do.
You seem to have a flair for fashion, who are some of your favorite designers?
I love Betsey Johnson, Trina Turk, Tory Burch, Diane Von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin—I was just in Paris and bought some of those. We also have some great fashion people that we work with like Taylor Dresses, which I wear a ton of on the show. I also love Christina V.’s jewelry .
How many pink items do you own?
It’s ridiculous. I have two racks of pink clothing and probably 25 pairs of pink shoes. I can dress you from sportswear to eveningwear. I own pink construction helmets and if I didn’t have enough pink, people bring me pink things all the time. The pink thing has been great for branding. I go to startup and finance conferences in a sea of black suits and I definitely standout. It’s definitely a supportive color for me.
How would you describe style in Silicon Valley?
Just because you’re a woman in business, doesn’t mean you have to look frumpy. In Silicon Valley the people I deal with at startups wear jeans and flannel shirts. That’s the founder outfit. They may have a blazer over it to dress up. But the investors always have the big fancy suits, the ties, and the accouterments. It’s always amusing to see meetings of the two. Women in business should try and look well put together without crossing the slutty line. Keep it conservative and tasteful. Dress to impress ladies!
What cartoon character do you most identify with?
I’m going to go with Minnie Mouse because I think she has great fashion taste; she’s always very colorful and her dresses always pop. People always say I remind them of the girl mouse from Fievel Goes West. I also identify with Betty & Veronica. And after reading countless Archie comics, I’ve decided that Veronica has a great business sense, but Betty is much more down to earth.
You are quite savvy, did you study business in college?
I didn’t formally study business. I wanted to be an actress. I was on a Nickelodeon show called The Naked Brothers Band for a while and while we were shooting it in NY I picked up some production skills and decided to start The Valley Girl Show. I always wanted to be in entertainment and I went to UCLA where I was a theater major. As a theater major, you couldn’t double major so every summer I would do a business program at the business school. It never counted toward my requirements but I tried to take those classes between my schooling so I had a backup plan.
You have chatted with some pretty incredible people, who is the most fascinating person you’ve interviewed and why?
You learn something from everyone. I interviewed MC Hammer a while ago and I’m obsessed with him. I interviewed Ted Turner who I love and we sang together. Alexa Von Tobel who runs LearnVest is amazing. She helps women with their finances and has an interactive finance that makes you want to get your finances in order. But Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook was my hero before I went into it and afterwards I loved her even more. She’s on the board of Starbucks and Disney and she has these three women’s groups she leads, a philanthropy group, a business group, and a political group. Once a month she brings the groups together.
Are there any consistent traits you've noticed all successful people possess?
That drive. The main thing is that drive to not sleep, not eat, and make it all about their company…it’s a really important thing for an entrepreneur to have. They have passion that keeps them going and a supreme sense of focus. Many have advised that if you don’t know something, hire someone who does. Don’t try and do it all yourself and make sure you love what you do.
Who would you most like to interview?
Mark Zuckerberg. I am in love with him because I think he’s incredible. Richard Branson and Bill Gates too. There’s a lot I haven’t gotten to but I will.
Have you tried to reach out to Zuckerberg?
At Facebook it’s become a running joke. After I interviewed Sheryl, someone wrote an article that said 'I’d love to see Jesse Draper take on Mark Zuckerberg' so I forwarded it along to Facebook’s PR department with a note…’just let me know when!’ Mark is such a badass entrepreneur and there are very few of 'em.
*To step inside Jesse’s world and download episodes of The Valley Girl Show, visit Valleygirl.tv.