From playing Holly Barton in Emmerdale to working as a production assistant, having her own poetry column and doing musical theatre what else has Sophie been up to and what are her future plans find out in this interview with Music Promotions as one of the nicest ladies in the industry tell us more.
You played Holly Barton On Emmerdale, you had an amazing yet emotional and tough storyline, what was that like to film? How much research did you do for that storyline?
It was such a brilliant storyline to be given. We all felt it was really important to shed some light on addiction and how it can affect anybody from any walk of life or background. It can happen to anyone, and I do feel there is a real lack of support for addicts, especially when we did the storyline all those years ago. But I was extremely lucky. Gavin Blyth who was our brilliant producer was passionate and supportive. We had lots of office meetings and had really big conversations about the storyline, and we all agreed, it was really important and we had to do the best we could and as Truthfully, and as authentic as possible. After a lot of research we felt it was important to show how awful it can be and how it does not just affect the addicts life but the whole family. I had so much help and support from Gavin and the whole team. The research team put me in touch with A drugs counsellor called Danny, he was absolutely amazing and supported me through my whole time at Emmerdale. He was at the other end of the phone anytime I needed him. I also went to drugs group and spoke to addicts. I was put in touch with a heroin addict who was a really amazing woman and so open and honest with me. It was important for me to learn as much as possible through conversation and to be as truthful as possible. we were given so much help and support from
families of addicts and the drugs group with Danny and the charity DISC .
Natalie J Robb who played my mum in Emmerdale had meetings with other mums of addicts, and it was just so brilliant. I loved every minute of working with her. Everyone really went the extra mile just to tell the story as well as we possibly could.
What did you take away from playing Holly on Emmerdale?
I was incredibly lucky. I was given the opportunity to tell a really important story and I had a lot of support. My on screen family was so amazing, and I felt so supported, and especially Natalie we’re very close, and I do feel like we had the opportunity to do some really special scenes together. We both worked really hard and just tried to be as honest as possible.
I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to do my dream job for so long. There aren’t many acting jobs where you get to work for so long. It’s three months here or a month there or a quick week, I just really felt so grateful to have had three and a half years doing what I love and being on set all day every day. I took away a lot of gratitude and, I honestly think that soap actors are some of the most talented and hard working people. Especially the cast and crew at Emmerdale who are the most lovely down to earth, hardworking group of people. And it sounds a bit cliche and cheesy, but we were like family and I think that is what I took away from it. Just really liked how lucky I was.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to go into acting?
It’s such a different journey for everyone. There is no ‘one size fits all’. I mean, for me personally, I was into acting from quite a young age, so I was on stage for the first time at two and a half. Then I was on TV for the first time at 13. So, it’s kind of happened quite organically for me. I was extremely fortunate to be to working from a young age. By the time it was time for me to audition for drama school, I was already under contract for three years working on TV so that was not really the path for me.
I think everyone is different. I have friends who have been to drama school and had the most incredible time and loved every minute of that and know other people who have just worked and auditioned. There are so many amazing workshops and things online, local classes and theatre groups. So just go and enjoy it and try and get out there and mix with lots of other people who love doing what you want to do. Get as much experience as you can. I just find it hard to give advice when I think everyone’s got such a different journey but you just have to work hard, be a nice person and just see what happens.
What have been your career highlights so far?
I think Emmerdale for definite, they are now the people I call family. I did a musical last year and I absolutely loved every minute. Being onstage in London, singing and dancing every night, acting and working with the most incredible cast and crew that was a real highlight for me. My boyfriend is an amazing filmmaker and even just being on set with him and assisting him on jobs when I’m not acting is such a highlight. For me it’s not just about being in front of the camera. I find just having the opportunity to be on set around people, being creative is awesome.
As you said, you have worked as a production assistant, what is it like, working behind the scenes?
I have produced a few films now. I’ve been an associate producer on a feature film that my boyfriend (Mark Waters) has just made which is coming out soon. it’s been incredible to see how much work goes on behind the scenes. To see people’s ideas come to life. It’s like magic. And yeah, I really love it. I love all of it from performing to being a runner, driver, production assistant, producer.
I also do voiceover work and I do a lot of writing. I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to do lots of other things and I am not just sat waiting for auditions.
Can you tell everyone more about the film you have been working with alongside your boyfriend?
It’s called Chasing the Present and it’s a film my boyfriend and a close friend made.
They were both so affected by the amount of people all over the world struggling with their metal heath. Everyone they met seemed to be struggling in some way and they just wanted to explore the different ways of dealing with it. They just really wanted to try and help. I think they have created the most beautiful film. It is going to be available on iTunes and YouTube in October. I have learnt a lot from it and hopefully it will help a lot of people.
You work with mental health charities, Mental Health is talked about a lot more now but there is so much more to be done, what advice would you give anyone who is struggling?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is not to be so hard on myself. To not compare myself to others and to breathe. We are all on our own journey and just doing the best we can.
If you are struggling, I think the best thing to do is talk to someone. Find someone you trust, who loves you, who has your best interest at heart and let them know how you feel and do not be ashamed. Do not be embarrassed. Just talk, have a conversation. I always feel better after sitting down with someone, having a chat and a cup of tea.
There are so many helplines people you can call and online groups, charities and organisations.
How do you stay positive with Social Media?
I try to limit my use on it. I don’t go on my phone at the table, and never get my phone out at dinner. If I decide to meet with friends or family I try and be present. I try not to go on in the morning or too late at night. I just follow people I find inspiring and positive and causes and charities that I find important.
Could you tell everyone more about the charities you are a Patron and Ambassador for?
So Sunflowers charity was set up by my friend Jo.
It’s a Charity that provides special days and experiences creating special memories for children with life limiting illnesses and their families.
I am also a patron for Zebedee management. A talent and model agency representing people with disabilities and alternative appearances.
It is such an incredible agency that is providing opportunities and creating positive change within the modelling and entertainment industry.
I am an Ambassador for my friend Jordan’s company ‘My Energi’ which is a renewable energy company and they actually have the world’s safest and greenest car charger. They are pioneers in renewable energy and I am really proud.
Do you write your own scripts and screen plays?
Yes, I do, write. I have never really done anything with what I have written , but I do write. I also write poetry. I am a featured writer with the happy newspaper which was created by my friend Emily Cockhead a few years ago. I have a little poem in every issue that Emily illustrates.
Have you always written poetry? How did you first start?
Yeah, I have always loved creative writing and poetry. I am quite dyslexic. So I am often apprehensive to write anything I might share with people. But 10 years ago, I went travelling for six months, and I had time that I’d never had before. I felt really inspired. I just tried putting ideas down and writing poetry. I shared it with friends and everyone loved them so it just kind of went from there. I let go of fear and worrying what people would think about it and I just started writing, and I have never stopped.
Would you like to go back and do more theatre in the future?
I absolutely love the theatre. Whether it is a play, short play or Musical Theatre, I just love being on the stage. It’s where I started.
Would you like to start your own fashion brand?
I don’t think I could deal with the stress. I’ve got friends who have done it, it’s such hard work I mean Never Say Never but I just feel like it would just completely overwhelm me and stress me out and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I would want to do it as sustainable and eco conscious as possible and that takes so much work, so I think I’ll maybe leave that for other people with more patience (laugh out loud).
What are your movie, Tv and music recommendations?
We love Peanut butter Falcon and that was brilliant. And we went to the cinema yesterday to see Christopher Nolan’s new movie Tennent and that was awesome.
we just watched and are obsessed with This is us and I can’t wait for the next season.
And we have just finished ‘The Fall’, Gillian Anderson is incredible.
We are so spoiled, aren’t we at the moment there’s so much amazing talent and entertainment out there and the standard is so high.
But to work with Shane Meadows is probably my biggest dream in life. I think. If I could work with him, I would be very happy. God, I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t do anything ever again. That would be my life made.
And then music. I am really enjoying listening to Fleetwood Mac again and I had the Beatles on last night. There is also loads of amazing new music. And again, with all the apps and everything now we are so spoilt for choice. We have just got everything we want at our fingertips. Creatively and entertainment wise it is quite an awesome time to be alive.
What do you have coming up?
Yes, so we have got the film release in September and I’ve also worked as an associate producer with my boyfriend who’s just finished a short film with a friend of ours, Felix Sanderson. He is living with Tourette Syndrome, an illness that holds a lot of stigma and a lot of stereotypes and It’s often seen in the media and in entertainment like it’s a funny disease. there Is nothing funny about it. He’s really suffering and struggling. my boyfriend moved in with him and his family for a month and captured it at its purest form to try and raise awareness and get some help for Felix because, as of yet there is no treatment for it. there is no cure. And so, hopefully with the film, we will help Raise awareness at least. Our good friends Zoe Henry and Jeff Hordley are the producers.
It has just got into a Canadian Film Festival. So hopefully Fingers crossed it raises awareness and helps Felix and anyone else struggling .