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Sophie Elkus

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Q&A: 10 Things About Me

The Kooples top, L'agence jeans, Gianvito Rossi heels, Fendi bag, Illesteva sunglasses

Healthy hair tips, my favorite nail colors, and my experience with organic Instagram growth.

I’ve compiled 10 recent questions I’ve received into a Q&A post below. I’ll make this a regular series if you’d like – feel free to leave more questions in the comments!

What’s your favorite drugstore product?

Maybelline Great Lash mascara. I have plenty of “designer” mascaras that I love, but I use this all the time and in my opinion it’s just as good as many expensive ones. I forgot to put mascara on before a party one night last year, and frantically realized while en route in an Uber. I had my driver stop into a CVS and threw it on in the bathroom, and from then on it’s stayed a staple in my kit.

What did you do before blogging?

I’ve actually been blogging since I graduated college. I started Angel Food during my junior year, and spent my last two years of school working hard to get it off the ground while balancing a full schedule of classes. It wasn’t easy and definitely took away from some social time, but I continued with enthusiasm and was grateful when I was able to continue working on it full-time after graduation. I did however do plenty of internships (which I touched on in my post about the Business of Blogging) and some part time work.

What did you major in during college?

I went to USC and majored in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. PR was through the school of communications, and marketing was through the business school, which was a nice balance and allowed me to meet different people. I took my electives in the film school to mix it up, since USC is known for its amazing film program.  I don’t think you necessarily need to study what you’re going to do “in life” afterwards – I’m an advocate for an undergrad liberal arts education if it’s available to you.

How you organically see the most growth on Instagram?

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. It’s both my favorite thing ever, and the worst thing ever. You can get stuck in an hours-long Instagram hole obsessing over your follower count or color-coordinating your feed (been there for both). At the end of the day, I try not to overthink it and just focus on creating beautiful photos I think you all will enjoy. That being said, since my blog is my career and business there’s definitely some thought put into growing the numbers.

Here are some things that work:

-Try tagging your outfit posts with a few accounts like @ootdmagazine who repost fashion photos

-Hashtags really work for discoverability, so use them – but not obsessively in huge paragraph form. Try sticking to 5 that describe the photo (#ootd, #rippedjeans, #ombrehair, #contouring) and if you use more than that, hide them in a comment on your photo after posting so it’s not overwhelming

-Know your “best times to post” by checking the new “followers” feature on Instagram (the vertical bars top right of your profile). Try posting only during the times your followers are most active (this has really worked for me)

-Just be interesting! This seems like a no-brainer, but Instagram has gone from a casual “in the moment” reflection of life to a perfectly curated gallery wall of images. I love the latter too, but I also find that being real with people gets a more engaging response. When I use geotags for location, and spend a minute typing out an interesting caption about what I’m doing in the picture, I find that people respond to it by commenting or tagging their friends who may want to go there/ do that/ see that. My most popular IG posts are geotagged from where I am, and offer some insight in the caption that you wouldn’t get from just looking at the photo.

What is the one staple you can’t live without?

In my closet, my staple is a soft, worn-in leather jacket. When you find the right one, I think it’s worth the investment to splurge on real leather in a neutral color.

Makeup-wise, it’s a tie between mascara and bronzer. Both make such a huge difference on a bare face.

How do you keep your hair looking healthy and shiny?

I have thick hair for a blonde to begin with (fine individual pieces, but a lot of them).  However, I’ve been down a longgggg road with my hair to recover it from a lot of color and heat damage. It’s finally feeling healthy again, so I’ll do a full hair post on what’s worked for me.

In the meantime, some quick tips I live by are letting my hair air dry 50% before picking up my drier, and drying it outside of the bathroom in a cooler drier room. Moisture in the air from your shower will slow drying time significantly and I don’t think people realize that! I know air drying first depends on your hair texture –  some girls with wavier hair may want to smooth it out immediately before it starts to dry into a shape, but if you can at least towel dry your hair well and do your makeup first while the excess water evaporates, even that helps.

What is your workout routine?

I don’t have a set routine, but I use ClassPass in LA and mix up barre, pilates, yoga and occasionally boxing. Barre is my favorite. I hate running with a passion so traditional gym time on the treadmill or classes that involve running are usually out for me. I find spinning much easier on my back and feet, so I’ll do that once a week for cardio. I also love a good Sunday hike. I don’t work out every day; usually 3 times a week. If I hit 4 times I’m happy.

Do you spray tan?

Yes, I spray tan frequently – usually twice a month.  I’m VERY fair naturally, and I burn in the sun, so it’s a must if I want some color. If you’re in LA email me for recs. Between appointments, for travel, or if I can’t make it in, I use Kate Somerville Tan Towelettes on my body and Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads on my face.

What are your favorite nail colors?

My go-to light shades year round are Essie “Ballet Slippers” and OPI “Funny Bunny”.  When I want to go dark, I use  OPI You Don’t Know Jacques, a rich taupe. I keep my nails on the shorter side, and ask for square with rounded edges when I go to a salon. I think dark polish looks best on slightly longer nails, and only during the first couple days when they’re still super shiny, so I’ll save dark polish for a weekend or before an event as opposed to while on vacation.

What’s your favorite gift to give someone?

The best gifts in my opinion are things people don’t buy for themselves – a silky bathrobe, a mini Gray Malin print (he has an amazing new home collection of trays too), or personalized stationary.

Leave more questions in a comment below, and I’ll answer them!

The Kooples top, L’agence jeans, Gianvito Rossi heels, Fendi bag, Illesteva sunglasses
Photography by Nicole Moser

Sophie on Instagram