Nancy Jo Sales is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author who has written for Vanity Fair, New York, The Guardian, Harper's Bazaar and many other publications. Her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (2016) is an investigation into how social media has changed the lives of girls and presented them with unprecedented challenges. Her book The Bling Ring: How A Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World (2013) tells the true story behind the Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring, which was based on Sales' 2010 Vanity Fair piece, "The Suspects Wore Louboutins." Known for her stories on celebrity, youth culture, and crime, she has done memorable profiles of Damien Hirst, Hugh Hefner, Russell Simmons, and Paris Hilton, among many other pop culture icons. Her Vanity Fair story "To Live and Die In America" won a 2015 Silurian Award for "Magazine Feature Writing." Her VF.com profile of reality star Kate Gosselin won a 2010 Mirror Award for "Best Profile Digital Media." Her Vanity Fair story "The Quaid Conspiracy" won a 2011 Front Page Award for "Best Magazine Feature."
She was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. She was a Presidential Scholar in 1982. In 1986, she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, which awarded her its Willet's Prize for fiction writing. She received her M.F.A. from Columbia in 1991.
In 1994, she became a reporter at People, and in 1995, a New York Correspondent. In 1996, she was hired as a contributing editor at New York, where she covered a variety of subjects including youth culture. She became a contributing editor at Harper's Bazaar in 1999. In 2000, her piece for Vibe on Donald Trump ("Money Boss Player") was included in the Da Capo Press's Best Music Writing 2000. Her story "Woody and Me," about her childhood letter-writing relationship with Woody Allen, is included in 2008's New York Stories: Landmark Writing From Four Decades of New York Magazine. Her essay "Home Word Bound" is included in The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (2011).
In 2000, she was hired as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where she has written profiles of Angelina Jolie, Kimora Lee Simmons and director Brett Ratner, among others. In 2003, her story about the hanging death of Ray Golden ("Somebody Hung My Baby"), an African-American man in Belle Glade, Florida, uncovered inconsistencies in the police account of Golden's death, which had been ruled a suicide. Not long after her piece was published, the police chief of Belle Glade resigned. In 2016, the dating app Hinge announced that it was relaunching its service inspired by her 2015 Vanity Fair piece, "Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse.'" Many of her stories have been optioned for films, including her 2008 piece for Vanity Fair, "The Golden Suicides," about the double suicide of artist-filmmakers Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan. In 2000 she had a daughter, Zazie May. They live in the East Village in New York.