We had the good fortune of connecting with Sophia Gascoigne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sophia, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
At the age of 2, my mum had took me to my Auntie’s dance school, where I competed in many competitions and received awards for my skills as a dancer. Soon after I was accepted in to one of Britain’s elite ballet companies, The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain (NYB), where I won the choreographer award in recognition for my artistic innovation, which was presented by Frank Freeman. My experience at NYB inspired me to do this as my career, and I wanted to go after my dream even more. I auditioned for Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London, England, where I gained a scholarship at age 13. I became heavily invested with the arts, that before I had finished high school, I already decided that I wanted to attend AMDA College of the Performing Arts (American Musical and Dramatic Academy). I was offered early acceptance at the age of 15, on their Music Theatre B.F.A Degree course with a scholarship. I’m lucky to have such supportive parents who helped me move to Hollywood at the age of 17 to begin my training at AMDA. I graduated with my B.F.A degree at the age of 20 and signed with my first manager shortly after. By this time my love for performing was apparent, and I appreciated everything that went into being an artist. Even during the hardest of times, I never look back on choosing this career, in fact I’m always encouraging myself to share my original work in order to grow.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have a lot of moments that I’m proud of, but one that will always stand out the most would have to be getting accepted into my dream college at the age of 15 with a scholarship, and later moving to LA, at the age of 17 to start my college journey at AMDA. A month after I turned 20, I graduated from AMDA with my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre, and I remember thinking “what’s next?”. I was so thankful to have signed with my manager, Versa Manos, only one week after graduation, from which she had spotted me in my senior showcase. I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons along the way, and I thank Versa for continuously guiding me through them. Nothing ever comes easy, especially in the world of entertainment, anyone will say how competitive it is, but I believe that’s one of the many reasons I have got to where I am professionally. I go into every audition giving 110%, that way I know I have done my best no matter the outcome. The amount of times I’ve been told “your’e going to hear more no’s then you will yes” is so true, and when that does happen I don’t give up. I call my manager, she advises me what to work on and I persevere. Eventually I gained some great experiences and landed some of my most memorable jobs yet, dancing in pop singer/songwriter Katrina Stuart’s “Who She” music video (with over a million views on youtube), and dancing on the main-stage at Universal City Walk in Hollywood. My goal is to become one of the top triple threat performers (someone with the ability to act, sing and dance), my inspiration being Catherine Zeta-Jones, who starred in the movie musical ‘Chicago’. I want to leave my mark on Broadway and inspire others that hard work pays off, and to never give up!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many places to explore in LA, you can never be bored! However I would instantly take my friends hiking, either to Runyon Canyon or for an extra push, to the Hollywood sign, as a great morning activity. There’s a great brunch place called “The Urth Cafe”, food is amazing and meets all dietary needs, and if you’re lucky you might see a celebrity or two. The beaches are beautiful in LA and there are a few to choose from, depending on the atmosphere you want. Santa Monica beach is beautiful, and their famous pier is definitely an experience worth while, and then there’s Venice beach, a great place for a younger age group, with a broad-walk full of art and cool shops. If theres anywhere to go shopping, it has to be The Grove. It’s a beautiful outdoor mall, filled with divine food and a huge movie theatre. Definitely worth eating at the Cheesecake Factory whilst there. In the evening, there’s a fantastic small performance group called, Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), for a night full of live improvised comedy, as well as helping support local bussiness. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Firstly, I want to thank everyone who has been apart of my journey for making it so special. I owe so much to my mum, dad and brother. They have provided me with their constant support and have always told me me to chase after the things I want in life. Without their love and motivation, I wouldn’t be where I am today! I also devote a huge thank you to my manager, Versa Manos. I am inspired every single day to become a better version of myself because of the woman Versa is. I’m always reminded by Versa why I do what I love for my career, and she always pushes me outside of my comfort zone, shaping me into a well-rounded artist. Versa has always had my best interest at heart and I will never be able to thank her enough. Of course I want to thank the two women who taught me everything I know. Yvette Caputo, who was my first dance teacher, and Rebecca Jayne Jackson, who was my first singing teacher. They have both provided me with skills that will last a lifetime, and lessons that I will never forget. To my teachers at Italia Conti and AMDA, I am forever grateful to have been taught by industry professionals, receiving outstanding training and gain memories that I shall always cherish. Lastly is a gift I was given from my best friend, which has changed my perspective on life, and that is the book, “Gmorning Gnight”, by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is literally the book of pep talks that is filled with quotes to inspire you when you wake up and go to sleep, the perfect gift if you ask me! Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of my biggest influences and the book is an adaption from his insightful posts on twitter, which I would religiously read. Seeing how someone as genius as him has impacted the world of art, gives me so much encouragement for the future and I am thankful I get to witness it all.
Youtube: Sophia Gascoigne