Deez Interviews: Meet the GQ sex & relationships columnist who also writes THE advice newsletter you need to be mainlining
Happy Friday, Deezers! Today’s interview is with Sophia Benoit, whose writing on everything from horny Sundays to the hot dad matrix at GQ should be on your radar. We talked to her about her amazing advice column/newsletter, how she perfected her Twitter game (which is where GQ first found her!), and the blurry line between her personal & the professional personas. Enjoy!
The interviewee: Sophia Benoit (follow her @1followernodad!)
The gig: Sex & relationships columnist @ GQ, and she writes the Here’s The Thing advice newsletter!
I read in a recent Forbes interview that GQ originally reached out to you because they'd seen you on Twitter. Tell us about how you used Twitter as a way to showcase your writing and voice!
I started a Twitter my senior year of high school at the urging of a brilliant friend of mine Devan Coggan (@devancoggan). She's the one follower in 1followernodad. Everyone on the school newspaper had to get a twitter, and I was not on the newspaper, but she encouraged me to get one anyway for writing.
At first, I was totally clean. I didn't tweet anything inappropriate. I thought I wanted to be employable. I thought that could still happen for me. Anyway, I used Twitter to write as many jokes a day as I could, because I wanted to do stand up. Everyone else was writing a very normal, tasteful 1-3 tweets a day maximum, and I didn't know that was an unspoken rule and I was really only tweeting for myself so I just tweeted about 20 times a day. I was, and still am, wildly out of control.
And I still tweet mostly the same way — a frantic mess of thoughts that I just spew onto the page. But now they're dirty, too, and I've given up on employability in corporate America.
If people could read your submissions inbox for Here’s The Thing, what would surprise them the most?
I've found that most people really want permission/guidance to fuck their crush or break up with someone who is ookayk but not perfect. We're all the same!
Also! Overwhelmingly, the people who are hard on themselves shouldn't be, and the people who should be harder on themselves aren't. I love the letters because it's mostly really good people looking for how to do right by other people but not trample themselves in the process and that is a hard, lifelong battle. We're all doing our best, and sometimes our best sucks.
How do you choose which submissions to answer?
I try to go in the order I receive the letters, and I skip anything that is inappropriate or just trying to troll me. I also sometimes have people asking basically the same core question the same week, so sometimes I hang onto things and wait it out so that I can answer both.
Since you write so much about dating and relationships, do you find yourself having to draw a line somewhere in your personal life to keep things a little separate?
I LOVE giving advice. I have opinions on everything. It's a chore sometimes to keep things to myself (but I do it!!! I'm not an unsolicited advice person unless it's my little siblings). I kind of helped raise my little siblings, and in a lot of ways I feel like a quasi-parent to them so with them, it's hard not to opine. But I will give everyone and anyone advice if they ask.
I try to be encouraging though. No one wants to hear, "You're being a dipshit. Don't do that." Instead, I try to be like, "My love, you're being a dipshit and nothing is more fun and luxurious than being a dipshit. This may backfire and I'll be here when it does. Have fun sweetie!"
Finally, your website is honestly the most beautiful yet funny yet refreshingly upfront site I think I've ever seen in my life??? I love it. I'm curious about how you balance your public persona as this uber-candid, non-serious comedian/writer with your serious ~professional~ self. Do people ever not take working with you seriously because they're misled into thinking you're exactly like your public persona?
This is probably a weird answer to this — sorry! — but I found that growing up with divorced parents with wildly different lives and families in each home really lent itself to learning how to compartmentalize and be able to toggle between versions of myself.
That said, I don't think there are many situations where I'm totally, 100% serious, and that's because I "purchase" that for myself with hard work (also by being white and educated and all these other privilege points I have that make it okay for me to be a bit goofier in professional settings).
I was absolutely the class clown in school, but I didn't get in much trouble for it because I was also valedictorian. I was paying attention in class. I raised my hand so much that teachers asked me to stop. I guess what I'm saying is that, for me, (again with my extra protection of privilege that not everyone has), I've found that working hard has really afforded me the ability to be a little shit sometimes humor-wise. Also, for some reason, I've always looked older than I am and I have a very... "intimidating" (I hate that word)...demeanor or face or something, so I think in person it's actually harder for people to see me as funny than it is for them to see me as acerbic and intense.
Don’t forget to follow @1followernodad and subscribe to Here’s The Thing! Seriously, the advice in it is soooo good. And remember...if you’re gonna be a dipshit this weekend, at least make it fun and luxe!!