Say hello to Sophia Nelson, a freelancer who specializes in motivational writing and helping her large following with real life issues. She’s also the author of the recently published The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys To Unlock Your Life, which teaches women how to live their best lives. She says writing it saved her life. She’s the former White House correspondent for JET magazine. She’s writes for HuffPost and The Daily Beast, and has appeared on a myriad of networks, most regularly on MSNBC. Named for actress Sophia Loren, she’s actually more like Washington’s Oprah, but more approachable. She’s been told her eyes “dance.” She’s a Scandal fanatic. She tweets passionately and candidly about personal problems with the purpose of helping and engaging others. Some were so dramatic that I created a feature about her called “Guiding Sophia’s Light” after the CBS soap opera. She’s big on women treating each other well in the workplace and beyond. To say the least, the past year of Sophia’s life hasn’t been easy. But as even she’d tell you, she’s learned a whole lot.
Please note: This interview will be followed up with Twitter chat (#LinesOffTheMirror) with Sophia in the coming days. We’ll keep you posted on the day and time: follow @betsyscribeindc for the details.
Hometown: Somerdale, New Jersey
Age: Fabulous 40s!
Named for: Sophia Loren (Dad thought she was HOT)
First job ever: United States Congressional Intern in High School
Current employment: Best-Selling Author, Award winning Journalist & Global Women’s Corporate Leadership Trainer & Speaker.
How did you get into motivational writing and helping others?
Writing has always been my first love since I can remember. I have so many unpublished written stories, poems, etc., dating back to when I was 7 or 8. One day I mustered up the courage to ask someone at the Washington Post to take a look. Steve Luxenburg, former Outlook Editor at the Post gave me my first real break to get published and paid in 1997. The rest is history.
Who else do you think does this well?
Louise Hay, Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah, Arianna Huffington (who graces my book cover quote), Gail Sheehy, Kate White, so many amazing women empowering other women for LIFE!
If you could encapsulate your “code” in a phrase or a mantra, what would it be?
To Love Others, as God has Loved me.
Do you believe in 5-year plans? If so, where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I want to be a mother. I will adopt children. Marriage would be nice, but I am just getting over a serious loss relationally, so I am not quite ready yet to put my heart out there. But I believe in love, I do. It’s the only thing worth living for. So, unlike many others, my 5 year plan is all about love, family, connection.
Do people come to you often seeking advice?
Yes. That is why I do what I do.
What was the best thing about writing this book? And the worst?
This book both saved my life and changed me all at once. People have to read the introduction, which is linked here to get it.
Stolen from Inside the Actors studio: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Well done thy good and faithful servant, you may enter in to eternal rest.
What political party do you ascribe to?
Well, I lean Republican, but I am a class moderate-centrist. Socially more progressive, and on matters of national security, taxes, defense, I am to the right of the right wing.
If someone wants to get on your good side, what candy or liquor should they ply you with?
I am a casual red wine drinker. I actually have an amazing wine collection. Malbec is my favorite wine.
Most exotic place you’ve ever visited:
Punta Cana, Dominca Republic
Why do you think Washington is so polarized? And please consider your answer in terms of boring us.
Because the people we elect are not people who live and look like most of America. They are disconnected. If they had a clue about life for real, they would get a lot done. They would work together much better.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Bradley Cooper (my goodness). It used to be Robert Redford, but he has aged out now.
Least favorite word: CAN’T
A thought that makes you want to cry: The day I have to lay my mother to her rest. I simply cannot fathom it. (Tear)
Weirdest habit you’ve observed in a newsroom (workplace) setting? People biting their fingernails. I just don’t get it.
Time you spend on Twitter each day (be honest): Now you know I am on twitter at least 1-2 hours in real-time daily—but my hootsuite is humming all day with inspiration, links, etc. I have a great social media guru in Luke Harlan.
If you had to kiss a politician who would it be?
Hmmm, ironically I used to think Al Gore was hot. Laughs. But, I guess President Obama would be it. I’d ask Mrs. Obama for permission first though.
Queen Latifah or Dr. Oz? Latifah all the way!
What’s next for you? What would you do with your life if absolutely nothing could stop you?
I would run for US Senate and then be on short list for VPOTUS. I may just do that. Give me 5-10 years. I am still young enough. It could happen. Giggles.
Pick one: Homeland or Scandal: Scandal
Pick one: CNN’s New Day, Morning Joe or Fox and Friends: Fox & Friends
ABC’s GMA or NBC’s TODAY Show? I love them both I switch back and forth.
If you had to have a U.S. senator or congressman as your father who would it be?
It would be 100% hands down Joe Biden (he is VP but was a Senator) I love him as a man, as a person. Great guy. He’s my democrat older white dude crush. Laughs.
Since this is The Mirror Questionnaire, what would you change about yourself physically if you could?
I would be taller. I like the way I look. But I hate my height. I am only 5”3. I’d be 5”8. With long sexy legs. Oh well. . .
And your personality?
I would be so NOT me. Laughs.
Preferred beach anywhere in the world: The French Riveria with a fine man, my guitar, and a bottle of Bordeaux.
Guilty pleasure TV show: Masters of Sex, on Showtime, now it’s The Affair. Not sure what is going on with me. Laughs.
The snack you eat most: Cherry Nibs, a subset of Twizzlers I am addicted.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-obsessed are you? (10 being you can’t tear yourself away from your own daily Google search and 1 meaning you often spend time in the country away from your computer and don’t give a crap about your Klout score.)
5 I am on my computer a lot but I am working.
Workout regimen: It used to be biking (um er) but you see how that worked out for me. Laughs. So I do Debbie Seibert’s abs & 30 minute work out. And I have started back running.
Pick one – flabby thighs, cankles or love handles?
I am getting a bit (slight) of a love handle thing so I am working on it diligently.
Choose: Beautiful eyes, best personality or perfect legs?
I have been told more than once by men and women alike that “my eyes dance”.
A thought that brings you great joy: My nieces when they were babies. They are tweens and teens now, so not so much. Laughing Out Loud.
A regret (of any kind): I try not to regret but if I had one it is that I have loved two men in my life. I lost one to Cancer when I was very young and the other more recent as most everyone knows, well let’s just say it didn’t work out. I so wanted to be married with 4 to 6 kids. I love kids. And I am a one guy kinda gal. I believe in marriage, till death. I so wanted a large family of my own. That is a huge source of hurt for me. Huge.
Mika and Joe or Oprah and Steadman? Barack and Michelle.
Any brushes with death? If so, please describe. Yes, you reported on one in your column back in summer of 2013. Biking accident.
Just a preference Q: Bo or Sunny?
Like them both.
Most annoying thing your editor (boss) does: I am so glad I don’t work for anyone but me. Six years now!
Rank how hairy your butt is: 1 to 10? WOW. Just WOW! Laughing. I so will not dignify this question. Falling out laughing.
Go for a stroll in the park with one of the following and explain the reason for your choice. 1. Rosie O’Donnell, The View. 2. CNN’s Chris Cuomo. 3. FNC’s Megyn Kelly.
Like seriously, #2. I mean. . .
When was the last time you were, if ever, naked outside?
When I escaped from the baby sitter as a kid. It was the preacher’s wife at our church. Laughs.
From The Sunday Times’ Toby Harnden: If you could tell one person to their face that they’re full of shit, with no consequences, who would it be?
I can’t say her name, but she knows who she is.
From Al Jazeera’s David Shuster: If you had to watch or read a news report in a language you didn’t understand, what language would it be and why?
Arabic—it’s just cool to see it in print.
From lefty radio host Bill Press: Where’s the one place in Washington you’d love to have sex, but can’t?
Sex, what is that? Laughs.
From former Rep. Weiner’s ex-phone sex partner Sydney Elaine Leathers: Who is the worst journalist on your favorite news channel?
I can’t say his name, we are colleagues. Uncool.
From Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: Which universally acclaimed piece of literature, art, film, or music can you simply not stand?
The Mona Lisa.
From SiriusXM’s Julie Mason: What is the lie you always tell about yourself?
That I am in my late 20s or early 30s. Ironically people believe it and say it before I do.
From freelancer and journalism prof Steve Friess: If you were the opposite of your sexual orientation, name three people you’d sleep with.
I will pass on this. I am a Christian so I just will pass on this. Laughs.
From Stateless Media’s Peter Savodnik: Why do you matter?
Because I am a person with a soul. We all matter. It’s really that simple.
From New York Post’s Tara Palmeri: If you could give one politician or talking head a makeover, who would it be and what would you do?
It would be CNN’s Don Lemon. He just needs a new more gruff Miami Vice look.
From Mediaite’s Editor-in-Chief Andrew Kirell: Which book would you bring to a book burning? [Don’t say you’re against book burning. We all are.]
Anything by Michael Moore.
Please provide a question for the next lucky victim of The Mirror Questionnaire. Make it good. It may live on indefinitely.
What do you want people to say about you, not when you die, but as you live?