A year ago, Sophie Gray was a very successful fitness influencer – her Instagram account @wayofgray was a plethora of selfies, abs and workouts which inspired many in the pursuit of the perfect body. Yet, in spite of all the praise and hundreds of thousands of followers, she felt she was not being honest with herself in promoting the unreachable idea of perfection. After a nervous breakdown, she decided to explore a new path – one that leads to self-acceptance. Today, Sophie advocates self-acceptance and aims to foster women empowerment on social media. In this interview, she talks about her inspirations, plans for the future and the responsibility of being a role model for the next generations.
Why did you decide to advocate self-love and acceptance?
We live in a world where we are at war internally. We have become so disconnected from ourselves and I experienced this personally. For me, I decided to advocate self-love and acceptance because I didn’t have any other choice. I needed it in my own world, and through my inner work, it flowed over to my professional work through my channels.
Was there a moment when you felt you could do something different from other health and fitness influencers?
I had a panic attack on an airplane that had me step back and evaluate my personal life. From there, I connected with how I truly felt and realized I didn’t want to show up through my accounts in the ways that I had been. From there I decided to completely step away from fitness and have refocused on inspiring others to connect with themselves through introspection.
How important is it for you to empower girls and women?
I struggled with self-harm in my youth, and this was before social media really took off. I couldn’t imagine going through what I went through with the added pressures brought on by social media. I actually am establishing a nonprofit that works with youth in school creating space for them to show up and dive into their relationship with themselves.
I believe women have such an important role in our society. Often, we are the ones who raise the next generations and when we have a mother who is strong, confident and feels at home within herself, we are able to teach the younger generations to feel the same.
This isn’t to say all women are going to have children. And regardless of whether they are or not, they are, in some way, a role model to those growing up. I know for myself personally, I want my self-acceptance to inspire others that they’re deserving of their own acceptance.
Tell us about the self-love challenge – when and why did you come up with the idea and what does it consist of?
I hosted a challenge from Jan 1st to 5th 2018. It was about having my followers commit to coming home to themselves. There is a stillness that exists within all of us – this stillness, rooted in love, also exists within everyone. I want those who follow me to make 2018 the year they come home to themselves by diving through what they go through. This involves sitting with themselves, working through their experiences and feeling at peace with themselves. This challenge was a fun way to start the new year committing to coming home to yourself.
What are your goals for 2018?
In 2018, I am launching an app that will help men and women start conversations with themselves that will lead to greater self-awareness, emotional resilience and help develop a better love and appreciation for yourself and others. This will be launching in April.
I also plan to have my new name changed account, @sophiegray (formly @wayofgray), focus more on my passion for writing – while focusing on encouraging others to take time to turn within.