Despite Everything She’s Gone Through, Leslie Jones Proves She’s One Of The Hardest Working Women In Hollywood

Leslie Jones

Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez

Leslie Jones won’t let you tarnish her name, and she certainly won’t let you forget her talent.

Over the last year, we’ve seen her rapidly rise from Saturday Night Live ensemble member to Hollywood leading lady. Much of whom we’ve come to know Leslie Jones to be isn’t a result of someone else’s work, but rather her own perseverance, talent and diligence, particularly when it comes to social media. Leslie Jones is our latest Twitter celebrity, passionately (and humorously) live-tweeting some of the year’s biggest events. She’s providing free laughs and free self-promotion.

She’s also experienced a barrage of online harassment that for many could spell a serious career drought. But unlike other celebrities who dealt with a storm of social media negativity or experienced professional faux pas, Leslie Jones has turned a platform used to target and harass her into a mechanism to both positively expand her professional image and dodge industry backlash. 

Most recently, her innovative approach to self-marketing saw Jones make headlines at this year’s Emmy Awards, where she was captured snapping selfies with a plethora of Hollywood A-listers. She was all smiles, posing with everyone from the entire Game of Thrones cast to John Mayer.

In an incredibly sweet display, we’re offered a look at this down-to-earth talent. This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Jones out in full social media force like this, though. In fact, the evening mimicked Jones’ Rio Olympics stint, where after enthusiastically live-tweeting the games, NBC asked the star to come to Brazil and cover the events live. 

Her open and emphatic social media displays are welcome, but still surprising considering that she’s spent the last couple of months embroiled in one controversy after another. That includes an incident as early as last month, which she took to social media to cleverly address in a joke during the Emmy’s.

Jones captioned a shared selfie with Emmy winner and Mr. Robot star Rami Malek with “Do you think he could help me catch hacker lmao!!” Malek plays a cyber security engineer and vigilante hacker, a character who believes in using his talent to right wrongs.

Jones was, of course, referring to her own website hack that happened in late August after her trip to Rio. It was a privacy breach that not only revealed personally identifying information like her passport and driver’s license but also produced several nude photos of the actress. It also happened to follow a firestorm of criticism, hate and eventually harassment over the actress’s controversial Ghostbusters role.

While the FBI is now formally investigating the hacking, it doesn’t negate the personal, emotional and potential professional damage it could have caused. She’s not the first female celebrity to have nude’s publicized, but many take a hit—some for longer than others—that makes them “untouchable” talent. Unlike her peers, however, Jones isn’t losing opportunities because someone leaked her nudes or because she takes periodic breaks from Twitter after being trolled. She’s gaining opportunities because she’s refusing to hide and instead choosing to be open (and humorous) about what’s happening to her. As a result, she has become a go-to social commentator like TV personalities Jimmy Fallon, Kelly Ripa and even Mario Lopez.

The PR hoops Leslie Jones has jumped through are astonishing, but over the past year, along with proving that she can lead big screen titles and make us laugh so hard we cry, Jones has also shown she’s an almost impenetrable marketing force. Doused in controversy, each and every time she comes out smelling like a rose, and she’s done it through the same platform that’s caused her so much harm. By trying to show she was touchable, the internet has helped make her a nearly invincible force of positivism, silliness, and celebrity. One that garners networks more social media attention and possibly higher ratings.

Leslie Jones is putting in work both on and off screen unlike anyone else right now, and anyone who can come out of what she has and do nothing but increase her social net worth deserves to see her career flourish. On and off Twitter. Hr social media prowess, savvy and infectious joy during the Olympics helped erase some of that negative stigma from the Ghostbusters film. Hopefully when it comes to the hacking incident, her run at the Emmy’s—and beyond—will, too. 

Freelance culture writer. Currently contributing to Food & Wine, Paste Magazine, The Mary Sue, and more.
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