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After our Wakeley Women portraiture shoot, captured by the talented Laura Bailey and styled by Cathy Kasterine, Amanda was joined by Sophie Dahl , British Author, for a conversation about what led her on her journey...
Read the full interview below.
Amanda: Tell me a little bit about your journey to where you are now?
Sophie: I was spotted by the fashion stylist and editor, Issy Blow, when I was eighteen years old, and I became a fashion model. I had yet to lose my puppy fat and was quite voluptuous and people were quite compelled by that because it was a bit of a first in fashion back then. I was hailed as some sort of feminist statement, which was rather confusing, because in reality, I had fallen into modelling because I made more money than I did waitressing, rather than it being some political statement! I moved to New York, willowed out and had a different incarnation of my career through the photographer Steven Meisel, and that was a very happy time, because I felt that I wasn't caricatured in the same way I’d been in England. Everything felt much more collaborative, and I travelled a lot, which was an education. I modelled until I was thirty-ish and then retired, to concentrate on writing, full -time. I was a contributing editor at British Vogue for ten years, and wrote books; a mixture of fiction and food. My first kid’s book, Madame Badobedah, is published by Walker books in October 2019. It’s about a little girl who lives in a seaside B and B. A mysterious old lady shows up surrounded by all her worldly goods, and a menagerie of pets, and the little girl, Mabel, assumes that she must be an international jewel thief, on the run, and makes it her mission to spy on her. Really, it’s about loneliness, and friendship and imagination.
Amanda: How old were you when you wrote your first book?
Sophie: I wrote my first book, an illustrated novella called The Man With The Dancing Eyes when I was 25. It was published by Bloomsbury and illustrated by the wonderful artist, Annie Morris.
Amanda: What led you to be an author?
Sophie: I love telling stories and I love the connectivity in telling stories. It was what I wanted to do long before I did anything else. I think it’s always been a way for me to make sense of chaos: in which I grew up in quite a lot of; telling stories and putting things into an order. I was first and foremost a reader, and I think without a love of books everything would have been a bit bleak. There is such comfort in books and getting lost in other worlds, also returning to a familiar book, like greeting a friend.
Amanda: Who are your favourite authors?
Sophie: Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Nancy Mitford, Alan Hollinghurt, Philip Pullman - so many!
Amanda: What are you reading now?
Sophie: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Amanda: What's your favourite thing in your closet right now?
Sophie: A cream cashmere Amanda Wakeley sweater, and a stripy Solid and Striped swimsuit.
We are excited that Sophie Dahl’s first children book “Madame Badobedah” launches on October 3rd, 2019 and is available for pre-order NOW here! Make sure you get your copy first!