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Interview: Jordan Arthur

Today we're happy to welcome friend-of-the-site Sophie to ReVamp! Sophie has spent the last few years building her blog and online following around good music, good times, and good enviromental awareness (I'm sure I could have come up with something catchier there...). She's also spoken frankly around issues like mental health, and has recently added Twitch streaming to her varied output.

Hello Sophie and welcome to ReVamp! When we first met a few years ago, you were making a name for yourself as a blogger, building up the SophieMags site around lifestyle, your adventures, and particularly gigs you'd attended. What was the initial drive to get into blogging?

Hey, thanks for having me! When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a clue about writing techniques or how to grow an audience, and simply started because I wanted to have somewhere to look back on all my adventures. It was somewhere to write how I felt, and post photos of the experience. Meeting new people, and growing my brand happened along the way, and I am really grateful this happened at a nice natural speed.

Now I have stepped back from writing long-form blogs and moved towards running my blog Instagram, Sophiemags Unfiltered (@sophiemags). As the name suggests, the account is about posting photos with no filters. There are such negative connotations behind using social media, through filters and unrealistic images, causing anxiety and self-deprecation. I wanted to take this approach to show that everyone is human and that’s great!

Alongside this, I post about being vegan and the benefits this can have on the planet, and how everyone can make a difference in their life through little changes which all come together to make a meaningful impact. I take a lot of pride in being as Zero Waste as possible and showing others how easy it is to make these switches.

I also talk a lot about mental health, and the different symptoms of depression and anxiety which so many people relate to - showing that everyone can feel things, and it’s completely natural. This side of my blog Insta fits in perfectly with the unfiltered lifestyle; that everyone has bad days and despite being more discussed now than ever, it still carries a lot of judgement. I am motivated to talk about all of these things, to encourage other conversations and to show that social media isn't all so bad. 

Given how much of your output based was around experiences in the real world, what sort of impact did the COVID pandemic have on your blogging?

Covid definitely had an impact. At first I thought it would be great as I now had plenty of time to be creative with my posts, and given more opportunities to chat to other creators. However, as I’m sure lots of us felt, I became overwhelmed by the situation and didn’t make the most of this time.

Being cooped up for that long was draining, and spending that much time with your own company makes you resent all your hard work. I couldn't go out anywhere to take any photos to inspire me further, and posts became little and infrequent. Everyone was depressed, and my old hobby (social media) became my worst enemy.

Before lockdown, it motivated me to discuss the taboo, and do what I can to educate people. But during these times, I couldn't even look after myself let alone others. Thankfully, with a lot of support, I am out of that rut now. Over the last few months, climate change, Black Lives Matter, and mental health have been all over the news, and I became motivated to take all of these important discussions and continue to engage more than ever.

One thing lockdown did bring is a reminder that, even if our lives are paused, time is still moving, and change needs to happen. With climate change, even if that’s just with me writing one post and inspiring one other person to swap out a plastic item for a reusable hack. 

As well as Unfiltered, you’ve shifted a lot of your attention over to Twitch – which feels like it has exploded (even more than it already had) over lockdown. What was the motivation behind that? 

Over the course of lockdown, I ran through the lockdown hobbies like everyone else. Baking, reading, crafts, movie-binging, all great but not my forte. One thing I had spent a lot of time doing during lockdown was playing games on my Switch. Gaming has always been a community-based thing, and is a great way of keeping in touch with others and socialising. A few of my friends - who I met through blogging - had also done something similar so I thought why don’t I try it? Streaming is a great way to enjoy some games, while spending time with friends.

 Given how Animal Crossing is your go-to streaming game, tell me – who is your favourite AC character and why?

Oh Pascal without a doubt. He is a little otter who pops up when you have been diving, and each time he speaks to you he is so chilled out and always has a little word of wisdom to share. An example, "Wherever you are, whether you’re in a house or in your own bed, make it comfy, be good to you man". These comments are just nice little reminders and one of the many delightful quirks from this wholesome game.

Without jinxing things, it's starting to look like we're heading towards something like "normality" in the year ahead. We've talked about music a little bit on the times we've had you on The Newplex Podcast, so if you could go to the gig of your dreams (no matter how impossible), what would it be?

Great question! My go-to gig would be Queen’s Band Aid gig in 1985. They turned it around in 10 weeks, after initially declining the offer to perform due to their split. After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody, I was incredibly jealous of everyone who attended - it looked phenomenal. The movie itself gave me goose bumps, so I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like being there

I love gigs - the feeling that music does for everyone and how it brings everyone together makes me really happy and content. 

Finally, could you tell us a little bit about the plans for SophieMags in the future? Is there anything followers should be looking out for?

SophieMags has taken a wild ride. I no longer blog, as I found I enjoyed running my Instagram account a lot more. I am hoping to continue to grow my profile, as someone who is keen on engaging with everyone, and bringing normality to this crazy world. Sometimes you just need that reminder. As part of this account, I also have a few collaborations planned with other creators, for giveaways, and lifestyle content of someone being environmentally conscious. I am continuously thinking of ideas for this page and can't wait to see how it grows.

Thanks for your time today, and for asking me to be part of this!

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