Bursting Your Assumptions with Sofie Rovenstine

Sofie walking in the 2018 Victoria Secret Fashion Show

This week I sat down with the magical Sofie Rovenstine! A little back story on Sofie- she is the oldest of four having traveled around with her family for most of her life. At just 21, she has modeled for some of the most prominent brands including walking in the Victoria Secret Fashion show. I had the privilege of talking to her of about the role vulnerability has played in her success modeling and the childhood lessons that have made her who she is.

Socially media arguably isn’t designed to allow you to be fully transparent about your life, but what percentage of your life do you feel like you share with the internet?

I used to hardly share any of it because it was a lot easier to be the really well-designed person that I wanted to be. For years I did that, and I didn’t see a lot of success on Instagram or in the modeling industry. There came a point where modeling wasn’t really working out and I decided to go back to my roots and just get really reconnected with the people at home. I was surrounded by all these genuine people and I just thought, Screw it I’m going to be myself and who cares if they like me or not.  I was done trying to fit this mold that I felt like social media had created of me. I think models in general have an expectation of what you should be. so, I threw that to the wind and decided that I was just going to be me. That’s when I started sharing more of who I was on social media and just being. When I was unapologetically myself and I embraced that I was struggling and I had body image issues, I was just like, hey, it’s fine. When I took the pressure off of myself and said you don’t have to be perfect, that’s the moment that I saw a lot more success in my industry. I started getting a lot more attention with casting directors and on social media. I think it was just purely the fact that I was being more genuine. That’s one piece of advice I have to tell everyone that’s getting into modeling: people are so sick of the fake and the over edited; that is overdone. People just want a breath of fresh air and authenticity. I’ve tried to that with social media, which is easier said than done.

Back Home In Franklin, TN

It’s so true that people are craving that authenticity.

Modeling for VS

The way that it worked out for me is such a testimony to that. As soon as I started being more genuine with people and getting back to my roots I saw it directly correlated with my success in the modeling industry. I remember when I booked the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and I didn’t know I had the casting until the day before. I was one of three hundred girls, so it wasn’t a guaranteed thing but even just the idea of going was so exciting to me. The way I looked at the casting process, I wasn’t putting a whole lot of pressure to be perfect.  I told myself the chances of me getting it weren’t very high so I’m just going to go in and have fun. I didn’t have months to train, and I felt like I was far from what a lot of other girls look like. But I just went in and smiled and was like this is me, take it or leave it.

That is an insane story. You’re so young, but you’ve achieved success that a lot of little girls look up to.  Has it changed the way you view success?

Yes, definitely. I feel like success is one of those things where at least for my personality type, I’ve never been quite satisfied with the level of success that I have. I do feel like I did experience early success so in a way it puts even more pressure on you. What’s next after that? There’s something else I need to do in order to prove to people that I’m still successful. Success can be in so many different terms, but I feel like as humans we are always wanting to do something else and do something better after what we do. It feels like whatever we do isn’t quite good enough and that we could be doing better. I remember even thinking when I was younger, I was working on getting just a thousand followers. And I remember the day I hit that I was so excited about a thousand followers. But then you get one thousand and you want two thousand. And so even now, here I am with a hundred and ten thousand now and if you told me that I would have a hundred and ten thousand followers one day I’d be like, wow, that’s crazy. Now, I think that’s such a small amount compared to what you see that everyone else is. It’s funny how no matter where you are, you think that other people are probably doing better than you. For me, it is about separating that from knowing your worth and seeing what you’ve done and being proud of how you handle everything. This concept is extremely relevant in the modeling industry. It is always like, okay, well, what are you doing next? So, it is a little different in that way where you have to kind of view success because it does come earlier on and then just being content with where you are at.

Childhood Photo

What are three words to describe your childhood?

I moved around a lot so one word would be nomadic. Family oriented would be the second one. I grew up really close to my family, we always have each other.  I think that probably came from the nomadic lifestyle where we moved so often. I had been to seven or eight different schools before I had graduated high school. I was always trying to meet new people and it’s a lot harder to do, especially when you’re younger. People aren’t always accepting or welcoming. So, I started to realize my family were my best friends. I have two sisters and a brother, but I think, my mom really was my best friend all through school just because I found it harder to make best friends. I think since we’re always kind of on an adventure together, we grew so much closer. We ended up spending time in Mexico, Ohio, Minnesota, Nashville. It was kind of crazy, but there are a lot of stories from that. I think that stuff is something a lot of people don’t know about me, not that I ever try to hide it. It’s just like it feels like childhood is a long time ago. I’ll say leadership as my third word, because I was the oldest of four and I was always taking initiative and planning things to do. I was very much the leader of my family. I think a lot of that still translates today, but overall a very happy childhood. I love my childhood and looking back there are so many good memories and I’m lucky in that because I know not everybody has that.

Childhood shapes so much of who we are, yet we rarely talk about it.

I know it’s crazy. I read something like our personality types are fully developed by the time that we’re three. Who you are going to be at your deepest core is already established by the environment you’re in, your parents and just the things you encounter? Your problem-solving style is already formed by then.

Yeah, it’s crazy how much of your behavior and the choices you make are rooted in lessons and experiences from your early childhood that you don’t even remember consciously. Going off that idea, what is your strongest memory from like elementary school age? 

It’s kind of sad, but it is a strong a strong one I’ll never forget. My brother was diagnosed with leukemia when he was three. I think I was probably nine when I got that news and I was the oldest and had always helped take care of hims. We were in Mexico at the time, so he had to go to Minneapolis, Minneapolis, to St. John’s Hospital to get tested and make sure everything was okay. We weren’t sure what was going on, but we knew something wasn’t right. I was so young and like a lot of us, that kind of stuff just kind of goes over your head and I just had no clue. I remember my dad pulling me and my two sisters aside in a separate room and was like “you guys I know this is going to be hard to hear.” My dad was trying to put cancer nicely, but there really is no way to do that. So, I remember him being like, “Von has a sickness and he’s going to lose all his hair.” It’s funny how he was trying to not say the word cancer, but we know about it. I mean it was a very sad, tragic moment. But I also remember that being really clear memory of realizing how much I value family and especially my little brother. That was the start of a big chapter of my childhood. I think going through something really challenging together definitely brings you closer.

What values do you see in yourself that were instilled by your parents?

They’re very consistent. I like to think consistency is something I learned, especially from my mom. She’s always been so good about responding consistently, she’s always there when you need her. Even if it is something hard you have to tell her, she is really good about keeping calm and responding well. Consistency is something I value and try to emulate. I love the way that my parents were very good about just being open, there was nothing that was a secret or hidden. I never felt like I had to hide anything from them. I just love that we can have those open conversations about things that are maybe not the easiest to talk whether it’s beliefs, what we’re thinking, what we’re seeing in the news or if we’re dating anybody. I think when there’s that openness, you don’t feel a need to rebel or get away from them. I think that’s why we’ve stayed so close for so long.

What do you hope people say about you?

I really hope that when I leave, people are like, wow, she’s so genuine because I never want people to feel like I’m putting up a wall. I want to be real with people. I think that’s the worst when you leave conversation with someone and you feel like they weren’t being real with you the whole time. If we were all a little more real with each other, I think life would be a lot happier.

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