TRIBEZA's New Assistant Editor on Finding Inspiration in Austin

As you may have already noticed, TRIBEZA is expanding our digital presence to be bigger than ever. Together with thoughtful social media posts, expect to see even more digital stories that reflect Austin and our city’s vibrant culture.

Leading this charge is Sofia Sokolove, our newly minted Assistant Editor. A dynamic storyteller, Sofia has written for numerous publications both in Austin and across the state. We’re thrilled about the newest member of the TRIBEZA team, and invite you to get to know this Maryland native turned adopted Texan.

Why did you move to Austin?

I was a college swimmer and a swim coach, and when I graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I had the opportunity to spend the summer working under renowned Olympic coach Eddie Reese at University of Texas Swim Camp. At the end of the session, my co-workers were heading back to their homes across the country and I realized that 1) my ’93 Volvo station wagon was not going to make it back to the East Coast and 2) I was pretty in love with Austin. So I signed a lease for a studio apartment in Hyde Park, and I stayed. I retired the Volvo four years later — but I’m still here!

What keeps you in Austin?

The people. I am constantly inspired by the abundance of creative people doing totally rad things here. The community seems to only grow stronger and more diverse as this town grows up. Also, the Topo Chico — obviously.

Why did you decide to become a writer?

To be completely honest, I'm not sure I decided. I don't want to say I fell into it, because both of my parents are writers, so words and reporting have always been a big part of my life. I think I rebelled against it at first because I didn’t want to do what my parents do. When I came to Austin, I started realizing how hungry I was to tell other people's stories. I started freelance writing for CultureMap, which morphed into a monthly literature column. I also began doing some travel writing for Texas Highways, but I still told myself it was something I was doing on the side. After awhile I thought, “Wait a minute, I love this.” Looking back, I probably decided I was a writer a long time ago and didn't realize it.

Tell us some of your favorite haunts?

Food wise, I can't get enough of Launderette lately — there's something about sharing a meal using a lazy Susan that makes it extra great. If I go too long without a kale salad from Second Bar + Kitchen, I get pretty grumpy. Same thing goes for a bowl of pho, which absolutely must come from Pho Van up north.

Cheer Up Charlie's has had a big part of my heart from my early days in Austin, and I love their new digs on Red River. Cheer Up’s is the perfect spot for before or after a show. (Or really just anytime.) I’m lucky because Sahara Lounge is right by my house. I get to wander over there on a whim and it's pretty much guaranteed I'll catch great music. I'm always blown away by the beauty of Deep Eddy Pool, and I make sure to wander BookPeople every few weeks. They face so many of their books outwards, which I just love. It makes it a perfect bookstore to spend an afternoon in, browsing.

What kind of stories are you drawn to both as a writer and as a reader?

I think as a reader and as a writer what drives me the most are the characters. Who are these people, and what's their story? What are they like, and why are they this way? How are they relatable? When those questions are addressed well in literature, I'm all in. And those are the same questions I try to focus on in my own writing.

Now that you’re TRIBEZA’s new Assistant Editor, what are you looking forward to?

One of the best things about this town is that there's always something new to discover, and during my years in Austin TRIBEZA has always been a go-to source for that.

Whether it's eating at a brand new restaurant or meeting and touring the studio of an artist I have admired for years, I'm endlessly inspired by my experiences in Austin. Now, discovering those people and places and telling their stories in creative ways is my job, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Photography: Jessica Attie.

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