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sophia.leonie@gmail.com

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So it’s a couple of weeks into January and I wasn’t going to do a yearly round up because, well – there’s only so many peoples’ new year goals anyone wants to hear. But last night I finally took down my 2017 calender – the one that is hung up on my fridge; the one where I write every major thing in, in black marker pen. And so as I did a quick flick through, I realised what an amazing year its been and without documenting the highlights, I’d be kinda disrespecting the progress I’ve made. So here goes: JANUARY 2017 started badly. Really badly. I was for the first time in my adult life, alone and single. At the time, it felt like the…

Imagine being punched in the stomach. Repeatedly. Looking up and seeing everyone, including all your mates laughing. Not at you – but obliviously, with each other. Then whilst still reeling from the indescribable pain, being dragged up by some well meaning friend and being expected to join the jokes and laughter like nothing happened to you – like the agony in your gut, making you want to pass out, doesn’t matter. That’s what the Christmas period is like for a lot people. In fact, I know first hand about that punch, that pain, that inability to join the party because for some reason, major life tragedies, have happened to me in the festive period. Ten years ago my nan was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic…

I never saw my dad cry. Or my brother as an adult. I never saw my boyfriend shed a tear for over ten years. And I wish I could talk to them about so much – but for two out of three, it’s too late. Through bereavements, break-ups and break-downs, they didn’t ever seem to have emotions apart from joy and anger. And their anger was fierce, often leading to altercations with the police; jeopardising their relationships, their freedom and their futures. But these black men weren’t fools; they were educated, smart, successful and likeable. Over the last few months, reflecting on my relationships with the black men in my life, I started to wonder: are the restrictions of black male masculinity so narrow, that…

As I heard Hugh Hefner passed away this week, I had a horrible memory. I was a fan of Playboy once. Well, ish. Bare with me; it was 2005 and ‘The Girls Next Door’, then called ‘The Girls of the Playboy Mansion’, premiered on Channel ‘E!’. It was still the relative beginnings of the reality TV era, and unlike the over saturation of it all today, being invited into glamorous peoples’ lives, trying to guess what was real and what was scripted, was still pretty fun and appealing. I immediately found Holly, Kendra and Bridget – the three live-in girlfriends of Hugh Hefner – fascinating. At first I couldn’t work out if these girls were even real or not. The painted smiles, the high pitched…

Earlier in the week, BBC3’s Mockumentary ‘People Just Do Nothing’ premiered it’s 4th season. The failed pirate radio Garage MCs have a found a place in mine – and the nation’s heart. Written, created and performed by group of real friends: Allan Mustafa, Steve Stamp, Asim Chaudhry and Hugo Chegwin, the former real life Garage DJs and MCs have portrayed the scene with humour and integrity. And with some of the cast doing real life Garage sets across the UK over the last few summers, I can’t help but wonder why the nostalgia of the late 90’s UK Garage scene remains so popular with audiences like myself today. Why for example, earlier this month, did approximately fifteen thousand people attend Garage music festival 51st State…

I think we both just thought it would last forever. We never actually said ‘forever’ but the days turned into months and the months into years and it just went on. Our lives became intertwined. We became more than lovers; best friends and then, family. Although I always thought we were solid, gradually, signs emerged suggesting otherwise. Away for work a lot, his phone remained face down, on silent – but mine was too. Yet, I knew I had stopped trusting him. Then there didn’t seem to be a shared future. Let’s travel the world together? Maybe, one day. Lets buy a place together?Perhaps, in the future. It was painful. But hey, thirteen years. There had to be something strong there. I pushed those thoughts…

I got sent it in a group chat. That video circulating on Facebook. The one of teenage boys talking about the type of girls they like. It’s all seemingly harmless stuff at first glance – VanBanter, a popular young vlogger takes his camera across London, asking boys what type of girls they are into. Their eyes light up as they tell him: ‘obviously mixed race’; ‘light-skinned, big back, big tits’; ‘light-skins and Latinas’; ‘Coolie hair,  no dark skins’; ‘curly hair, ’. And it goes on. Answer after answer; boy after boy, describing their light-skinned girl fetish. There are several problems with this; several reasons why I didn’t send an obligatory ‘lol’ back.  Firstly, many of the boys talking are dark-skinned. They unapologetically dismiss, disown and…

Hungover and hungry and I sat on my Victoria Line train last Saturday afternoon, on my way to meet up with a girl from Instagram. She had messaged me to say she liked my blogs, had seen some of my acting work and wanted a little guidance on her career. She had asked would I meet for a coffee. I messaged back and disclaimered that I might not be the best person to advise as I’m still working it all out, but of course, I would be happy to meet her. It turns out arranging a meet on Saturday afternoon after a heavy Friday night at Hackney’s Oslo was not the best idea. As I came out of the station, more than slightly headachy, I…

On Monday, I tried to go food shopping and failed miserably at the entrance to Co-op Food. In fact I have tried about 3 times this month, but the overwhelming feeling of it all being too much, what to buy, what to cook, what’s the point, always begins to engulf me. I have prepared a list, I have a plan for the week, but right now, right here – it means nothing. I realise I can’t breathe properly, tears well up in my eyes, I don’t want to be here, I’m embarrassed, I’m in public, I need to get out of here. I’m paralysed, I’m scared, I can’t move, it feels like everything is caving in on me. I want to disappear. My heart is…

After a summer full of auditions, re-calls and booking jobs; my own film being accepted into the BUFF Film festival and the release of the latest project I starred in (a poignant short film picked up by Channel 4 Random Acts ‘Pull Tag Knot’) – I headed back to my day job yesterday with a heavy heart. But it was OK, I told myself – I planned to write when I got home and make the evening productive. However by the time I finished, stopped Tesco, came home, cooked dinner and sat down, I was knackered. I fell asleep by 9pm. It got me wondering on my morning commute that already felt like ground-hog day – why was I doing this? When the day job…