I sat down with the most successful female serial killer in the business to talk clear skin, carbs, and creating success in a male-dominated field.
It’s 3:20 a.m. and Jocelyn Richards* and I are meeting for coffee in an abandoned shipyard — her choice. I’m nursing my cold-brew, wondering if she’s going to show, when there’s movement out of the corner of my eye, and there she is — hiding in the shadows.
Dressed casually in a tattered sweatshirt, the hood pulled up to match her hooded eyes, Jocelyn has made it apparent why she’s so successful in her field: you never see her coming. Her face is natural, her fingernails bare except for neat crescents of blood, blurring, as she nervously drums the splintered shipping container we sit on. She’s jittery, even though I’m the only one with coffee!
“Thanks so much for meeting me,” I say. “Can I just start by saying how refreshing it is to see a woman in this business?”
Jocelyn offers a terse reply. A grunt, actually. She’s not the chattiest, but, hey, it’s her actions, not her words, that brought me to our shipyard meeting this morning.
“When you’ve kidnapped your latest victim and you bring them home, tie them up, and pull the burlap sack off their head. Are they surprised to see a woman standing in front of them? Do you ever feel like they’re holding their breath, waiting for a man to enter the basement?”
“Maybe,” says Jocelyn, as she starts to file her incisors with a nail file. In a career like hers, looks are everything. Like most women in demanding positions, Jocelyn’s appearance determines how seriously people take her: it decides whether or not a victim will scream when they see her coming; whether or not she’ll get the leading role in someone’s nightmare; and whether or not her legacy will live on in campfire ghost stories and Lifetime dramas.
“In your position, the element of surprise is so important for your success. You have to surprise your victims, keep them on their toes, trick them into your van, but tell me: what do you do to surprise yourself? How do you surprise…you?”
I search her face, waiting for an answer. In a career so focused on other people, Jocelyn probably needs self-care more than anyone.
Jocelyn picks at the shipping box, wedging splinters of wood under her short nails. She stares at me with cold, hard eyes, probably impressed with how good of a question I just asked. “I surprise myself…with who I choose next.”
“I love it,” I say. And I really do. How great to have so much autonomy over where your job takes you.I sat down with the most successful female serial killer in the business to talk clear skin, carbs, and creating success in a male-dominated field. Click To Tweet
“Do you ever think about taking a break from it all—the hours, the stress, the constant travel—to start a family? I can’t even imagine what it’s like dating in your field. I mean, where do you even meet someone?” I say. Family hasn’t come up yet, but it’s well-known that behind every successful woman is an overbearing mother asking for grandkids.
“I have kids. Or, I should say, had,” she growls, her breath sultry with the potent smell of meat. There’s a small red speck on Jocelyn’s chin, perhaps a droplet of blood from a long workday.
“You have something on your chin,” I say, pointing to the speck. She raises her fingers to wipe it away and, just like that, I feel like an old friend: one girlfriend helping another, like we’re drunk at the bathroom sinks together, saving each other from wardrobe emergencies. She licks the blood off her finger with a swipe of her tongue and a smile, her sharp incisors winking. A smile meant for me—her ally.
Now that we’re so close, I think it’s time to address the elephant in the room. I’ve been dying to ask, and it’s clear that Jocelyn has been dying to answer.
“How often do you think about the wage gap in your career? How do feel knowing that there’s a man out there doing the same thing as you, but still getting feared more from his victims?” I ask, my felt-point pen poised above my Moleskin. But the only answer I get is silence.
I look up from my pad and just like that, she’s gone. She’s disappeared into the shadows of the dockyard, leaving me with chills and a lingering disappointment that #MeToo didn’t come up more in the interview.
*the subject’s name has been changed to protect her identity