Q & A with Sophie Dahl
As I suspected Sophie was poised, glamorous and equally beautiful as her modelling photographs would suggest. But what was most refreshing, Sophie was more like me than I was expecting. She'd recently turned 40, a wife, mother, happy with her career and comfortable in her skin.
A couple of months ago I turned 40, and as you do on significant birthdays, I paused to reflect on my life; career path, journeys I've taken and how I have become in my own right a Smart Women "The Photoshoot with the Turban and that terrible mullet" - Sophie Dhal, commenting on regrets
My thoughts...Bad hair cuts and questionable clothing choices are something we have all faced in our lives and there are some choices I do regret, but when it comes to regrets in life, we should take the good, the bad and the ugly because all our choices have made us who we are today.
"I was Billed as a revolution in modelling, but really I was just a 19 year old who liked to eat cake and was offered a modelling job" - Sophie Dahl discussing her introduction to modelling
My thoughts...Putting pressure on young women is something which in the past few years has become more and more visible especially with the introduction of social media. In our digital world perfection is seen as a status, and with the introduction of DIY Apps which allow us to slightly edit our appearance, we are putting extreme pressures on younger people. Sophie was a revolution in modelling, but for me it was more for her carefree, fun loving attitude and beautiful personality rather than her body.
"I'm a lot more comfortable in my skin at 40 than I was at 20"
- Sophie discussing confidence
My thoughts...I totally agree, I look back on my photographs of me 20 years ago and think, wow, I was so young and gorgeous, reasonably stylish for the late 90's, but I would much rather be where I am now, confident, happy, in a wonderful relationship, 3 amazing children and a great career. I have surrounded myself with people who love, respect and challenge me, but also know how to have a bit of fun!
"Have courage in your convictions and go with your gut feelings" - Sophie discussing Advise to her younger self
My thoughts...My Mum has always taught me to trust my feelings, and that is almost identical to what Sophie is talking about. As people, we know how we feel and we know if we aren't comfortable in a situation, we need to be brave enough to stand up and say this is my decision, this is how I feel. My advise to my 20 year old self, "Always trust your feelings. And perhaps rethink the haircut of summer of 2001"
Roald Dahl reading to a group of children (including Sophie Dahl, far left)
"Writing is in the family, I feel connected to my Grandfather, he had a powerful personality and a brilliantly creaky voice." - Sophie discussing her family
My thoughts...I have wonderful memories of my Grandparents; my Grandfather Harold died when I was only seven, but I have strong memories of a tall, elegant man, who dressed smartly and without evening trying commanded respect. My Grandmother, she was a force to be reckoned with, strong, opinionated, caring, and dare I say it, stroppy. They were Champion Ballroom dancers, and that gene had passed through the family, my Mum was also a champion Ballroom dancer in her younger days, and although I certainly do not reach the heights of Champion Dancer, I have been known to twinkle my toes.
"I really enjoy the relationship between Mr and Mrs fox, in the Fantastic Mr Fox." - Sophie highlights her favourite Rold Dahl story
My thoughts...Relationships can be hard, sometimes through no fault of your own. I had a couple of serious boyfriends before meeting my husband, but neither of them compare to how wonderful he is. With three small children and both of us working full time, life can be very hectic, but we try and spend time together where we can. Even when it's those little moments of peace and quiet.
Fantastic Mr Fox
"Now the children are slightly older, I feel like their is more space in my life for work" - Sophie reflecting on family life and Motherhood
My thoughts...There will be 1000's of women who can relate to this, me being one of them. I've always enjoyed working and being creative, I love being a Mum, but I think I'm better at being a parent when more productive. My children will always come first there is no doubt about that, but I thrive when I'm able to be creative and innovative at work.
"listening to them and teaching them to be kind to themselves and to others."- Sophie on how we can inspire the next generation
My thoughts...This is basically a no brainer, just be nice to people, when I worked in Sydney years ago, the sales Director would always say to the team, "Lets just get on with each, so, Don't Be A Dick". I always remembered this, and although its slightly crude and simplistic, the core root of the message is just be nice to each other.
I had a wonderful evening, Sophie was relaxed and comfortable with the questioning which varied from light topics to more serious and thought provoking subjects. Thanks to my pal Lisa for a wonderful evening, thanks to Sophie for being so open and honest.
And thanks to all the Smart Women I know who inspire, lead and encourage me on a daily basis.