The Bold Type toys with the scary-boss-lady trope before Jacqueline fills a role traditionally occupied by men: the hero’s mentor.
The mentor is a traditional role in a hero’s journey. The mentor helps groom the hero for greatness, giving them support and advice for their journey. The most well-known uses of the archetype are wise-wizard types like Dumbledore and Gandolf.
In The Bold Type, Jacqueline fills that role. Like any good mentor, she supports the show’s main characters Jane, Kat, and Sutton as they navigate their own hero’s journeys.
When the show first introduces Jacqueline, she’s a nameplate on a wall and a set of strappy red heels. Her name literally precedes her, like the legends of any great mentor figure. Those powerful shoes are shown again — before viewers ever get a glimpse at her face — as she struts down the hallway to her morning meeting.
Jacqueline starts out as intimidating, maybe even unapproachable. At the very least, her name conjures nerves in the show’s three heroines. By the end of the first episode, she reveals herself to be an empowering mentor, someone those girls can count on to advocate for them and give them advice.
As the show goes on, Jacqueline gets more personal, more vulnerable. She shares herself with the girls by opening up about her struggles and her life. She retains just enough mystery to keep her power in the traditional, omnipotent, wise-wizard way.
With all that’s happening in the world, both right here and in our favorite fictional universes, we need all the inspiring mentors we can get. The fact that Jacqueline is a woman only makes her contributions even more impactful because she shows that women can play that role.
Here are just a few examples of how she fills the role of mentor for the girls of The Bold Type.
Jacqueline is constantly supporting the heroines of the The Bold Type in small ways. She praises Kat after effective social media campaigns. She makes Sutton’s day by complimenting her work in the fashion department. She gives Jane encouragement and feedback on all her articles.
In her capacity as a mentor, these small moments add up. By acting this way, she allows the girls to trust her when bigger problems arise. They come to her when they need protection and they listen to her when she inspires them to be better.
That relationship building is vital with any mentor, and Jacqueline does it all with grace and ease.
Jacqueline shows her protective side in one memorable moment with Kat. After a controversial post on the magazine’s digital site, Kat starts getting threats online. When one user shares personal photos of Kat, Jacqueline steps up to protect her.
Jacqueline reschedules an important meeting so Kat has time to “catch her breath.” She comforts Kat, too, so she won’t worry about the situation. She uses her influence to pull other resources to protect Kat, employing the IT and legal departments to help.
When Kat doubts her strength, Jacqueline takes her hands, protecting Kat’s with her own, and lets Kat know she does have the strength to get through this situation. Jacqueline performs the role of mentor by protecting those around her when they need someone more powerful than themselves to step up.
Jacqueline works to bring out the best in the girls of The Bold Type. She pushes them out of their comfort zones so they can accomplish great things. She inspires them to reach their potential.
She does this especially well with Jane’s writing. When Jane first nabs the position of writer for Scarlet magazine, Jacqueline shuts down all her initial article ideas. She knows Jane can do better, and she brainstorms with Jane to bring out those ideas.
In other instances, Jacqueline makes Jane stick with a project when it becomes difficult. When Jane takes over the sex column one month, Jacqueline forces her to keep writing even when Jane wants to give up. Her influence inspires Jane and brings out an even better article in the end.
Jacqueline’s arc on The Bold Type so far fits the mentor archetype of a hero’s journey. She is a woman, but she helps the heroes of the story just like any other great mentor would. She supports, protects, and inspires.
When it comes down to it, the only meaningful difference between Jacqueline and a man like Dumbledore is that her power is channeled through those strappy red stilettos, not a magic wand. TV is lucky to have her.