To mark International Women’s Month on a poignant note—and celebrate 75 years of empowering women through helping them look and feel their best—Talbots has joined forces with the perfect partner. For the eight year in a row, Talbots is linking up with Dress for Success on a capsule collection of three smile-inducing slogan sweatshirts that recognizes and champions the tireless efforts of the life changing non-profit. Retailing for $69.50, 30% of net proceeds from the sweatshirts will go directly to the non-profit. With success and inspiration on the brain, we called up some women near and dear to the Daily to hear about their own journeys so far. Next up, meet our own Sophie Sumner; model, actress, aspiring producer, and all round positive Polly!
What keeps you motivated to succeed?
My family and friends. I fully believe that if you bring each other up, your success can be shared with the people around you. I am a product of how others believe in me, so to succeed is the result of everyone’s magic coming together.
What female powerhouses have been mentors to you in your career?
So, so many—but it starts with my Mumsy! My mum has taught me kindness, patience, and to never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Most importantly she taught me to never stop learning and to be happy and grateful at all stages in life—there isn’t an end goal, it is about the journey. Every female I have met, I have learned from. The attributes that I admire in them, I always aim to learn how to incorporate them into my own life. From Barbara Broccoli, I learned how to be kind to everyone and that your time is the most precious and valuable thing you can share with someone. I had a travel show and when I met women in rural areas of the Philippines, they taught me to always give 100% in whatever job you are doing, no matter how big or small. From Cynthia Rowley, I’ve learnt how to have fun, to be wild, and to always choose adventure! I also learn from my friends daily, and even my friends’ daughters. You can find mentors everywhere around you in day-to-day life.
How do you prioritize maintaining your female friendships and professional relationships?
Putting your phone down! Look people in the eye and listen with no judgment. It’s crucial to set time aside to check in with friends weekly. At the end of the day, that is more important than any material success.
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How do you give back?
I think I incorporate giving back into my everyday life. It isn’t about posting it on social media or bragging about it. Giving back is doing something selflessly for others without wanting anything in return. A smile on the street to a stranger or prioritizing someone when, perhaps, you were meant to be somewhere else. There are so many small charities you can find. I recently came across a girl who sends books to children in cancer wards and you can buy a book from the Amazon wishlist. No matter how big or small—money or not—we can make a difference every day.
What piece of career advice has served you the most?
Always treat everyone how you would like to be treated. Also when someones driving me insane, I use the line from the film Madagascar, ‘Smile and wave boys, smile and wave!!!’
What makes you feel confident?
Doing esteemable acts. That feeling of helping someone else—to me, that translates to filling me with a warm fuzzy feeling, it provides confidence, and reminds me what really matters. Also let’s be honest…a fabulous blow out!
What styling tips help you put your best foot forward?
Black mini dress and black heels: 1960s all the way! I don’t follow trends; I follow a feeling—you know how you feel and what you want to put out into the world. I restyle everything I have. I am a firm believer that clothes should be worn, not just once for an Instagram photo! Liquid ‘60s-style cat eye eyeliner is also the way forward…although 9/10 times I do it terribly!!!!
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What’s a failsafe interview/confidence-boosting tip you can bypart?
They have been in your shoes. Anna Wintour wasn’t always the editor in chief of Vogue! They know how you feel. Do not apologize for yourself; I did that for years. Do not believe the voice in your head that says you are not good enough—that is just fear and it’s a feeling that will pass. It is trying to protect us from the unknown but you need to tell it, ‘Thank you but quiet down now, I’ve got this.’ The person on the other side of the table is human just like you. Take a deep breath and enjoy the experience. If it wasn’t meant to be it wasn’t meant to be; something better will come along.
What are you most proud of?
That’s something personal and close to my heart, but I would say that I’m proud of not losing sight of what I believe in. Not getting caught up in the boisterous, catty side which you can find in all industries. I would never bring someone down for my gain.
Who do you always look up to and why?
My family! I know it’s corny, but it’s my mum and dad. They are endlessly positive and endlessly striving to be better and do better! I will also say Mother Nature; I am a country girl at heart and when this city gets too much and I need to calm it all down, I walk to the East Side River or Central Park and just sit and breathe, watching nature, and with no phone! Mother Nature has a handy way of clearing your mind.
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What is your biggest dream?
To produce films which make people feel less alone. I would love to be producing meaningful films that get people thinking—that’s the ultimate form of storytelling. I am working on two at the moment and although it is a long process, like I said earlier, it’s all about the journey not the end result. I am loving the journey and hopefully we create something beautiful—but the most valuable part is collaborating with other like-minded humans who are also learning on this journey. Also to buy my dad the house Keith Richards recorded a Stones album in, omg —oh my God, that would be amazing! You’re always going to be proud if you put all your effort into preparing, no matter the outcome. If you know you did the best you can do at that moment in time that’s what matters, then repeating this equals success.