“I’ve just gotten home from my favorite cafe. It is called Side Pocket Espresso, not far from my house,” says Sophie as she settles in for her Sunday Morning View interview. If she could have any coffee date in past or present, she would share lattes and stories with Frida Kahlo.
Like Frida, Sophie believes that you don’t have to stick to convention to be beautiful. “I’ve always had an interest in alternative fashion. You can still be beautiful without being super feminine. I’ve got short hair and tattoos all over me. That’s not society’s typical view of what being beautiful can be, but I think you can be beautiful in many different ways.”
Sophie remembers as far back as being seven years old and getting corrective criticism about her appearance, particularly her wide-set hips. “My teacher told me to stop walking like a duck in front of my whole class. It stands out because it wasn’t how I was trying to walk, it was just how my body is shaped.”
Later, as a young teenager, her crush turned her down because she was “fat.” Those small things added up to Sophie spending years hiding her body. “Especially in Australia [at the time], they really weren’t making anything for a pear-shaped figure. I remember my mom taking me shopping, and [I was] crying because nothing would fit.”
At eighteen, Sophie made the big decision to leave her close-minded hometown for the city. Even as she was working in her chosen path as a hairdresser, she picked up a job at a vintage clothing reproduction store -- it specialized in fashion from the 1950s and ‘60s.
“Back in the fifties, women were celebrated for having a figure like mine!
The more I started playing around with wearing different clothing, I realized I had no reason to hide my body. I think Australia is still catching on with the whole celebrating women of different sizes -- it’s still sort of only skinny, white, thigh-gap sort of women.”
Negative comments on her pages are usually from women who are parents. “It makes you wonder how someone would feel if you were saying the same things to their daughter. When women put other women down, it’s generally from some sadness in themselves.”
Sophie chooses grace and positivity in response. “When things happen, I ignore it and do not retaliate, because that’s what they want me to do. Ignore the close-minded people. Only you are the one who can believe you are truly beautiful.”
Sophie wants to continue to share her story with people, using social media to encourage women to be themselves. “It’s okay to have cellulite, it’s okay to have stretch marks. It’s okay to wear something not necessarily targeted to curvy women. If you like something, especially if it’s to do with fashion, you should just rock it. I used to never be seen wearing something tight-fitted that shows my cellulite, but now I that makes me feel sexy. I hope to inspire other women to do the same.”
To see more of Sophie follow her at @sophaaaaa