Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered (2019) details the personal lives of the women behind the hit true crime podcast My Favorite Murder. Spanning their formative experiences and the things they learned while making the show, this book shares the stories that shaped the authors into who they are today.
As everyone knows, it’s hard being a kid. This was certainly the case for Georgia Hardstark, whose worries about things like her flat chest and her hyperactivity led her to suffer from low self-esteem. But when she discovered the underground feminist punk movement known as Riot Grrrl, Georgia threw her doubts aside and became a fearless, outspoken feminist.
Riot Grrrl helped Georgia realize that kindness was not the same as remaining polite when people tried to take advantage of her. She learned to say “fuck politeness,” especially when it came to predators. For example, at a bar late one night, a man bought her a shot in spite of her persistent refusal. Instead of accepting the drink politely, she poured it onto the floor in front of him and went home.
But even while Riot Grrrl was helping Georgia become a strong, assertive woman, she discovered that it isn’t possible to be courageous in every circumstance. After graduating from high school in 1998, Georgia moved from Orange County to Los Angeles and worked as a waitress. One day, one of her regular customers, a middle-aged man named Lawrence, showed her his photography portfolio and asked if he could take her picture.
She was flattered and even dressed up for the occasion in platform sandals, a tight shirt and extra makeup. But when Lawrence suggested that he drive them to a picturesque lookout in the Santa Monica Mountains, Georgia intuitively felt that something wasn’t right. Still, not wanting to disappoint him, she agreed to the plan.
Riding in Lawrence’s car, Georgia feared that she was about to become a murder victim. And on the cliff, Lawrence’s uncharacteristically soulless gaze confirmed that she was right to be afraid. But she continued to play along, and even agreed when Lawrence asked her to take her shirt off for a picture. In the end, Lawrence didn’t harm her, and drove her back to the parking lot where they’d met. As soon as they pulled in, Georgia jumped out of the car and ran away.
Georgia was so ashamed that she had let Lawrence photograph her shirtless that she didn’t tell anyone about the incident until bringing it up on My Favorite Murder years later. With the help of her therapist, Georgia came to realize that while self-advocacy is important, mastering it takes practice. Like the many victims she read about in true crime stories, failing to stand up for herself in a frightening situation didn’t mean that she was to blame for another person’s actions.