Continuing my series of ‘random’ stories of Ocean Beach, I wanted to go somewhere besides my usual haunt of Newbreak Cafe, across from the Lifeguard station. So, I tried going over to the great new coffeehouse on Voltaire that just opened, TeMana Cafe, … but it closed at 3pm. I turned and headed up the block to Hungry Lu’s where they must have good coffee, related to the Grab and Go stores – but no, they don’t sell coffee. Kids, I tried, I really did, but it was back to Newbreak for me.
It was a windy, cool day in OB, so I was looking forward to a mug of strong French Roast, and once I settled in at a small, round table inside Newbreak I was not disappointed. As I try to keep my interviews gender balanced, I was looking this day for an OBcean woman to interview and showcase her story.
I found Sophie Stephens studying at her laptop; she had purple hair, so I thought this person must have a story to tell, and again I was not disappointed. She jumped at the chance to be interviewed – and as she met my criteria (resident of OB or Point Loma, willing to be interviewed, and have photos taken), I asked her to join me at my table which was a little quieter than hers.
I had asked Sophie if she lived in OB, and she said yes. But it turns out she lives with her parents up in “the wooded area” of Point Loma, a somewhat tony neighborhood of the Peninsula. “That’s not OB,” I said, smiling, “but it doesn’t matter – it’s close enough,” I added.
Sophie is 18 and grew up in OB and the Peninsula. She attended Dana for 5th and 6th grades after going to Cabrillo Elementary School, and then to Corriea for 7th and 8th. She did then go to Point Loma High School next. I asked her about high school.
“I actually hated high school,” she said. “In the middle of junior year, I switched to San Diego Charter School.” And then she graduated in June 2012. I asked her why she hated high school so much. Sophie answered:
“I don’t like teenagers, I don’t like kids. I didn’t want friends – didn’t want to have friends.”
I laughed. Upon my questioning, she said:
“Didn’t think of myself as a rebel, although I had pierced ears and strechies.”
She agreed that in appearances at least, with her ears pierced, with two gold nose tabs, and purple hair, she looked a rebel. She quickly added:
“I have my own rules – and I don’t break them. I’m a moral person.”
She started coloring her hair in high school. “I’ve probably had every single color of hair since high school.” Purple or shades of purple – “teal” she called it – are definitely her favorite.
“That’s why I like OB. I’m socially accepted. The whole vibe here is weird. Makes me feel like I fit in better.”
Her dad is a local. He grew up in Point Loma, went to Point Loma High School – and his mom went there also – ; he graduated sometime in the late seventies, she said. Her mom grew up in Chicago, moved to San Diego and works as a nurse.
“My dad’s a tug boat captain,” Sophie told me. “I grew up on the water – on boats, all the men in the family fish. My dad used to be a sports fisherman – we always had fish in the house.” She loves salmon and white fish if it’s fresh – quiet a developed palate for such a young person, I told her. Sophie has one brother, who’s 21 and goes to college in Humboldt.
Upon my asking if she was going to school now, Sophie told me she attends Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School in downtown San Diego. She’s going there full time, she said. She started in November and expects to graduate this coming October. She’ll then have a license in cosmetology. I asked her what she wanted to do with her license.
“Well,” she explained to me (as a guy, I had to have it explained a couple of times) “within the beauty industry, if you’re gonna have a model, you need a stylist,” she said, “and that’s what I want to be – a stylist.” A stylist for models for their media, publicity and magazine shoots – “it’s considered ‘editorial’ within the industry” … she had to lay it out for me. She wants to be a stylist for the stars, the models on the front covers of beauty mags.
In the meantime, she wants to find work on Newport Avenue. Currently, she is working at the Burger Lounge in Hillcrest, from 5 to 12 pm, four nights a week. So, young Sophie is quiet busy – going to school full time and working so many hours.
“I don’t have a lot of free time,” she explained. I pressed her on what she does do when she gets some “free time”.
“Other people, friends, all ask me to cut their hair. I can’t be employed because I go to school, so I can’t accept money.”
I asked her where she likes to go during her free time. “I’m not a partyier. Usually spend a lot of my time in coffeehouses,” she said. “I like to people watch.” She loves Newbreak, but also likes the Living Room in Point Loma, and Reds across the street from there.
Her favorite music? “Reggae to indie rock, classic rock,” she answered. “I have a pretty extensive library on my itunes,” with over 15,000 sounds on it, she assured me.
“I love creative writing,” she said. “Like poetry, short stories,” which she jots down on random scraps of paper. “I draw a lot too,” she added. She uses either oil based paint or just ballpoint pens. “I draw a lot of features, like eyes, mouths, other anatomical parts. “All my sketches are up on the back of my bedroom door,” she told me.
Upon urging her to scan some sketches and send them to the OB Rag, we ended our interview in order to take a few photos. Sophie is very photogenic and the photos were easy to take. I wished her well and good luck with her cosmetology plans – and urged her to perhaps send the Rag some of her writings and poetry, which she promised she would. So, perhaps, dear reader, you’ll someday read Sophie’s writings.
And once again, my theory that everybody in OB has a story to tell, was proven true, as Sophie Stephens, an OBcean met randomly, certainly demonstrated.