Good morning Lower East Siders!
Did you wake up today with the strange sensation that there was something missing from your double-shot latte? Had something felt as though it had been omitted from your Taste Collection bi-weekly newsletter? You were right! For weeks now we’ve been boasting about our boutique, events and metallic glitter – but where is the source from which this magic has originated?! All of your answers await you below. It is my pleasure to introduce you more personally to our Brand Ambassador and the curator of TC’s weekly Sophie’s Choice (coming soon on our website!) — just back from the Bahamas, my dear friend Sophie Sumner:
Q & A:
- Q: Sophie, what was it like to start modeling?
- A: Well, truthfully? I was 14 and they told me my hips were too big! I was your classic uncool 14yr old. One day, I went to an underage party and somebody scouted me and then a friend sent my photos to an agency and voila- I made it through the first few rounds. It felt exciting to work with all the makeup artists and constantly meet new people.
- Q: What was the transition like from that to becoming the first Brit to win America’s Next Top Model?
- A: I had a position studying theater at university, but then I auditioned for Britain’s Next Top Model… My parents both work in TV and I grew up loving that world. I auditioned once and they told me I didn’t make it- then I auditioned again and got in. So, I didn’t continue with university and I moved to London and thus fell in love with modeling. Back then, people weren’t as accepting of reality stars. Modeling agencies didn’t want to be associated with reality TV, it was the pre-Instagram era. Now all that’s changed of course.
- Q: What was the audition like?
- A: You auditioned in your bikini. There were two people in the room, they put you on tape and then invited you back for a larger panel if they wanted you back.
- Q: What was the process like to be involved in the show?
- A: America’s Next Top Model was crazy. Before filming, they keep everyone in a hotel for about a week- separately- and don’t tell you how long you’ll be there. Meanwhile, they do different tests on you psychologically and for health, to make sure you’ll be okay living with a handful of other competitive girls for two straight months, managing the constant stress of being cast off the show next. My view on it was that I just wanted to have fun. If I was going to do it, I wanted to be along for all the experiences and make it through to the end, so I just tried to enjoy myself and not to let anything get to me. During the time I was there, the Michael Jackson case was on trial, so I watched that. There was always security at your door to make sure you didn’t talk to anyone else in the show – I was the first girl in 18 seasons that was allowed a glass of wine because I complained so much ~giggles~ Anyways, if you make it through the hotel stay, you’re in and you go directly to start filming, which I did. For each candidate, they craft a story for what ‘role’ you’ll play out for the season. I was ‘the posh girl’, the well-brought up one who’d been trying to get into modeling for years.
- Q: What was the hardest thing you had to do on the show?
- A: The scariest thing we had to do was when we were traveling, they had us take a photoshoot on a really tall skyscraper in Macou, that was terrifying.
- Q: Talk about home, what was it like growing up in Oxfordshire, England?:
- A: I grew up in the countryside with my most wonderous parents and two half-siblings. There wasn’t much to do around us, not many neighbors, but it was very beautiful. I’d always wanted to go to NY, especially after visiting my sister when I was younger. I wanted to be here, in the thick of it.
- Q: What are your other interests besides fashion?
- A: I love traveling, but also I’ve always been interested in television, the producing/behind-the-scenes part of everything
- Q: Favorite place to travel?
- A: The Philippines, it feels like my second home at this point. I have such a strong group of friends there, everyone is so hardworking and the scenery is simply stunning. Taste Collection is definitely the American blend of Filipino and UK love. Hand on heart, the Philippines is the next place you must visit.
- Q: What does your morning routine look like?
- A: Survive 😉
………..but really think something along the lines of coffee, dog, park.
- Q: Who is your community here in NYC?
- A: Really just a big mess of artists and friends who have the strangest jobs. In New York, everyone hustles to do what they love, I know jewelry artists, burlesque dancers, I have a fantastic group of people who go to see drag queen shows together- I basically live a gay man’s life in NYC!
- Q: Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 10 years? Or 5 years?
- A: I’d love to have kids but I can’t imagine having kids in NY… but I also still feel like a big kid so I’m probably not quite ready yet. My mum’s pushing me for quite soon though… In the next few years, I hope to find myself living in a beautiful brownstone. I imagine my life to turn out like a Nancy Myers film.
- Q: What piece of advice would you give someone going into the fashion industry in 2017?
- A: Grow your Instagram following. Literally. Self-marketing. But also, it’s scary for the new generation, we’re so tuned in but we’re also so tuned out. Jennifer Anniston reached out the other day and reminded, “take time to get off your phone” – it’s true. It’s really important. The fashion industry is now filled with famous people’s children, so now to get recognized it’s almost as though the weirder you are, the more following you gain. But it’s become a bit self-obsessed. Perhaps film a porno?
- Q: Who is your role model?
- A: My Mummy and Daddy. I’m very close with my parents, we facetime constantly.
- Q: What’s something you wish was a part of your life that isn’t?
- A: A pink Robertson radio, I had to leave mine in England!
If you’d like to know more about this lovely, loony blonde Brit traveling abroad, follow her on Instagram @sophiesumner8 or visit her blog: blondebritabroad.com
Stay tuned for her first upcoming Sophie’s Choice fashion pick, coming to our website every Monday and starting next week! That’s all for now, xoxo!
*Interview by Seraphina Mallon-Breiman