Meet: Sofia Cope, Graphic Designer, Blogger, & Founder of Queencult and Viva La Manika

For some people, women who hold down a multitude of jobs at the same time (while killing it) is such a crazy concept. Gee, thanks. But from what I’ve seen the past couple of years, the limited perspectives of what one “can do” are currently being shattered. There is a surge of creative energy, and amazing next-gen tools, within the new generation that enables them to pursue whatever their hearts desire.

Sofia Cope is one of these women. The way she creates multiple platforms for her many voices renders me speechless. While I have never met her personally, we have so many mutual friends back home that it feels like she’s just that one girlfriend I’ve known forever but we never get to hang. I remember stumbling upon her Instagram feed and saying, “Damn she’s dope. I wanna work with her.” A few months later, I ended up doing a short Q&A on Sofia, and have decided to re-post it on my blog-with a few more Qs that never made it to the final cut.

Not into that Queen Bee nonsense, but more of creating with the power of a Queen… I’d like you to meet Sofia.

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How creative queen Sofia Cope plays the design game

Manila-based designer Sofia Cope is part of a new generation of creative entrepreneurs that straddle function and fun. Breaking down what Sofia does exactly is a tricky feat—her passions run across various forms: graphic designer, co-founder of hip clothing and accessories line Viva La Manika, and blogger.

Through her website titled “Stay Super: Art, Design and Love for Chic Changemakers”, she hopes to provide a platform for creative exercises, soulful visuals, and light-hearted life tips rolled up into a single retro, pop art package. We caught up with Sofia to talk about these different projects and how she balances business and design.

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1. Hi Sofia! First off, how did you get into design?

I suppose it dates all the way back to my childhood. My dad tells me I have always loved to play with my toys in such manner that I would disassemble them first and afterwards put them back together in a whole new fashion.

When I was 15, I had my first desktop computer—a hand-me-down from my uncle—that came with different photo-editing software. I remember tinkering with those applications for hours on end, trying different ways to make my photos look more “interesting”. From that point on, my life has been drawn to digital imagery. That’s what ultimately got me into the world of design.

2. Your blog serves to encourage readers to “Stay Super”. Why is this an important message for you?

Stay Super is a reminder to explore your truths an expand your limits. The most effective way I know how to make that happen is by cultivating creativity. Contrary to what others believe, that isn’t just a hobby or a skill reserved for a privileged few. It can be everyone’s superpower. Refusing to live up to this potential is, in essence, refusing to live fully.

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Stay Super is a reminder to explore your truths an expand your limits. The most effective way I know how to make that happen is by cultivating creativity. Contrary to what others believe, that isn’t just a hobby or a skill reserved for a privileged few.

3. Do you have any personal rituals that foster your creativity?

I try to write on my journal every day. I also often interrogate myself with big questions just to spark my imagination. Gratitude does wonders, too.

4. Apart from your blog, you started the QueenCult brand on Instagram. Can you describe what this is exactly and your intention for this brand?

I speak in so many voices. Aside from my “artist voice”, I also feel like I have a feminine spirit, and with the world today being pushed forward by more and more young female entrepreneurs, thinkers, and innovators, the timing couldn’t be more divine.

With QueenCult, I want a brand that empowers, recognizes, and celebrates these busy, boundless, big-hearted women through heartfelt, fist-raising (and often sassy) slogans.

5. What makes a Queen?

I quote QueenCult itself “A Queen does not wait for stars to align, people to love her back, society to approve of her actions, or life to happen to her. She goes out there and lives.”

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6. For Viva La Manika, what is your inspiration behind these designs?

Viva La Manika, my clothing and jewelry brand, is inspired by a wide array of styles but mainly by the fusion of ’50s to ’70s vintage and modern aesthetics.

7. How do you balance being an entrepreneur and being a designer?

To some extent, it is hard to swing back and forth between these jobs. Today, however, it seems the distinction between artist/designer and entrepreneur is no longer as profound as we once believed it was.

In fact, with the prevalence of “heartwork” and the “empathic” approach in doing business, entrepreneurs today need to have some art in their bones to sustain and grow a relevant brand. So it’s something I don’t really find that difficult to dance with… not now, at least. Also, I see to it I don’t do things totally on my own. I’m surrounded by other creative alchemists.

viva la manika

Today, however, it seems the distinction between artist/designer and entrepreneur is no longer as profound as we once believed it was.

8. Your blogging voice is quite honest and authentic. Where does this soulfulness come from and how are you brave to put yourself out there like that?

Pursuing an artistic life naturally ensures soulfulness as you are constantly opening yourself up. This vulnerability, this sort of surrender, is what keeps you honest and unafraid somehow. I can’t really stand settling for anything less than my truth.

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9. What are the most important books or resources you’ve read that helped nourish your creative spirit?

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

10. A creative with a purpose is a new breed of creative in today’s society. What do you feel you want your art to accomplish?

Above all, I want to make my life my greatest art, I don’t want to just make or do but become IT. I can only really hope to inspire others to have the heart to do the same.

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Above all, I want to make my life my greatest art.

11. Any advice you can give to creatives launching their own dream ideas?

Whatever you wish to do, give yourself to it; be present and keep open to the form in which your dreams may reveal itself. Persistence, presence and passion have done more for the world than casual strokes of bright ideas.

Interview by Victoria Herrera// Photos Courtesy of Sofia Cope
Originally published: February 11, 2015 on Mig.me

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