In this time of giving we want to honor a woman who has done so much for San Francisco and those in need. Giving is not always about putting a ribbon on a gift, it can be so much more. Sophie Azouaou shares with us a bit about her life and the art of giving.
Sophie. Like Cher, Prince, and Madonna, all you need to say is her first name and everyone in San Francisco knows who you’re talking about.
Following the footsteps of her mentor Bella Farrow, Sophie is taking the reigns of fundraising and raising thousands each month for charities she cares about. When Bella passed away, Wilkes Bashford, the legendary clothier in San Francisco said her death would leave a philanthropic void. “She had a strong passion for making things better for people,” he said. Now, Sophie has stepped in and is committed to taking her place. “I want to make Bella proud of the work I am doing.” Says Sophie.
Bella Farrow and Sophie Azouaou. Photo by Jason Steinber
Sophie is a successful business owner, eco-expert, philanthropist, fashionista, socialite, and next year, she’ll have her first book coming out. Like everything she does, the book is a beautiful piece of art created to empower women to find their own strength.
As she prepares for the launch of her new book in 2016, designed to empower and inspire women to achieve success she share some of her private world with Jetset Mama.
GEV magazine recently caught up with San Francisco based interior designer and green living expert to find out how she strives for success in her own life. Here are excerpts from her interview:
SA: Beauty radiates from within. When you touch people’s lives, love selflessly, give back, show compassion: you glow. You are beautifully confident and feel good about yourself. It reflects upon you!
What should a woman be embracing the most at your age?
SA: Embrace/accept your body: You should not try to look like a super model. Be yourself as you are REAL and therefore beautiful. You should have lots of sex. Embrace your sexuality! You can bottle up the memories and smile when you turn 80 years old. Eat chocolate every day, dance, drive your car with the windows down, play music until the car vibrates. I do 🙂
What mentally arouses you?
SA: An intellectual conversation arouses and stimulates me to the core. I am naturally curious and fond of learning each and every day. It goes without saying that smart, successful and caring people also arouse me mentally.
What do you love most about yourself now? Explain.
SA:I love the compassionate, confident and healthier person I have become. The losses, the tears, the pain, the health challenges have made me who I am today: A strong woman. Helping the less fortunate is at the core of who I am and is addictive. I believe the higher energy/God gives me opportunities as he knows how happy and whole it makes me.
How would you describe a perfect day?
SA: A perfect day is a day of “ nothingness”: Waking up to the sound of the ocean, listening to my favorite music. Music is the wall paper of my life. Drinking my favorite smoothie and spending time with a special friend. Going to the tenderloin and feeding the hungry, or going to a homeless shelter to bring clothes and food would be the icing on the cake. A perfect day is a simple day, with a touch of reality into it that turns it into an “exceptional” day. The little things are the best things.
Favorite food for thought?
SA: Do not judge people, as you do not know what battles they are fighting behind closed doors. Mother Teresa is my inspiration and did say: “Do not judge people as you will not have time to love them.”
What is true friendship?
SA: True friendship is defined by constant selfless acts of kindness. “Millions of little things that “build” the puzzle of TRUE friendship”.True friends change your life by being part of it, make you laugh, make you believe in yourself, accept you just the way you are! They help you see the best in you!As cliche as it sounds: Friends are there at the lowest point of your life and at the happiest times. Friends hold your hand in silence and do not judge you.
How do you conquer fear?
SA: Fear controls you and has no space for dreams or success. I face fear heads on, as I do not wish for it to stop me in achieving my goals.
What was your biggest failure in life?
SA:Divorcing is my biggest failure. My dream was to say married forever and grow old with my soul mate. My parents are my role models. They taught me love, trust, integrity, gave me a wonderful childhood, education and I will forever be grateful. In my eyes, I failed them with my divorce. Yet, they never judged me and supported me all the way. I did not have the courage to leave my ex when I knew the relationship was not working. I stayed married 21 years, it is a very long time. It was a hard time. I was raised in a family where we did not divorce. I did not want to disappoint my parents. I was stuck! Looking back, I smile with sadness at how we jumped into this marriage. How impulsive and young we were! Now I know with experience, that compatibility, chemistry, respect and trust are key to a successful relationship.
Admitting failure is healing, but taking steps not to fail again is learning from it.
What does success mean to you?
SA: Success is very important to me BUT: it is not about being rich, being popular, being highly educated. It is about being REAL, being humble, being able to share myself, and touching the lives of others. Success is when you stop wishing you could do something and actually start doing it.
More about Sophie Azouaou:
With a law degree and 15 years in real estate, Sophie is a nationally recognized Green expert, renown presenter, philanthropist and award-winning columnist. Sophie is the Founder of green design firm SophiSticate Interiors and CEO of leading healthy living platform stepin2mygreenworld.com. Sophie is a board director of Earth Day San Francisco, Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation (REAF) and the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). With 2 city proclamations awarded to her by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Ed Lee, Sophie also serves on The San Francisco Mayor’s advisory Media Board. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, Extra TV, Current TV, Haute Living Magazine, California Home and Design, 7×7 magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and much more.
Sophie with Mayor Gavin Newsom after building a basketball at Raphael House