019: Sophie Hellyer/The Beauty Myth
“The older I got, the more I saw that there’s so much more to life than how you look in a bikini.”
It’s part two of my special Irish omnibus – episode 019 with surfer Sophie Hellyer, recorded during my brief sojourn to Lahinch on the west coast of Ireland at the end of September 2017.
Sophie is a surfer, model and writer who came to prominence in her teens after she won British titles and was soon snapped up by Roxy. She then spent ten years as a Roxy girl, modelling, travelling and surfing and living what many would see as the dream life.
Since then, she has made some dramatic changes to her life, moving to Ireland, pretty much giving up modelling and using her experiences in that industry to formulate some unique and principled views on the issues of gender stereotyping and female objectification in surfing.
These issues have been debated more and more in recent years, so I was interested in getting Sophie’s unique perspective on it, given her experiences with Roxy and as a female pro surfer.
Listen out for:
- Sophie on her life as a pro surfer
- #risefierce – the power of early morning cold water immersion
- Sophie on the toxicity of gender stereotyping
- First memories of being judged on gender and aesthetics
This is a thoughtful, insightful conversation with somebody making inspiring, commited choices to try and change the status quo in an industry she cares deeply about. Thanks for coming on the show and being so open Sophie!
If you only have five minutes…
Listen to this section - Sophie on the point she decided to change her life
- Sophie’s day
- Conrad the dog
- The cottage
- Early morning swim ritual
- The power of cold water immersion
- Sense of community
- Surfing routine
- ‘Locals and blow-ins’
- Helping to set up Green Room Lahinch
- Current film projects
- Growing up in Devon
- A surfing family
- ‘As soon as you get into surfing, you’re hooked’
- Sponsorship with Roxy and the beginning of Sophie’s career
- Getting to meet and surf with role models
- ‘I did enjoy it, but I definitely felt uncomfortable a lot’
- The idea that girls are raised to see each other competitively.
- The insidious power of latent gender stereotyping.
- ‘The older I got, the more I saw that there’s so much more to life than how you look in a bikini’
- First memories of being judged by gender and aesthetics.
- Recent Billabong advertising controversy
- The Steph Gilmore Roxy brouhaha
- ‘Do men do it?’
- The importance of positive role models
- The Spinal Tap Defence – ‘what’s wrong with being sexy?’
- ‘Men need to recognise how damaging the gender archetype can be’.
- How Sophie has taken her surfing in a new direction.
- The effect this had on her relationship with sponsors.
- The double standard for men and women when it comes to cold water surfing.
- The power of positive cultural change.
- ‘It all makes sense when I put it on paper’.
- The paradox of female success.
- Sophie’s current surf ambitions.
- Switching to a single fin.
- How your surfing career evolves.
- Sailing mission from the Hebrides to Ireland
- Getting back into event management and production.
- Travel plans
- 31 days of yoga
- The mindful and meditative effects of yoga
- Defining flow
- Sophie’s recent ‘Introducing’ Instagram project
- Role models today
- Surfing ambitions today
- The thing Sophie’s proudest of.
- Cliffs of Moher
- Moy Hill CSA Farm
- Westward Ho!
- Sri Lanka
- Fergal Smith
- Tom Kay
- Owen Tozer
- Sophie Bradford
- Kate Rew
- Laura Hellyer
- Sarah Whitely
- Sarah Bentley
- Robyn Davies
- Sunshine Ash
- Reubyn Ash
- Lisa Anderson
- Veronica Kay
- Missy Gibson
- Carissa Moore
- Karen Knowlton
- Steph Gilmore
- Cori Schumacher
- Caitlin Moran
- The Molloy Brothers
- Dave Rastovich
- Lucy Adams
- Leah Dawson
- Easkey Britten
- Hillary Clinton
- Adriene Mishler
- Emma Watson
- Lena Dunham
- Ashley Beer
- Dearbhla Glynn
- Matt Smith
Magazine, companies, organisations mentioned
- Outdoor Swimming Society
- Green Room Lahinch
- Irish Surf Film Festival
- London Surf Film Festival
- Surf Girl
- Huck Magazine
- Soul and Surf