We knew we had to reach out to national bestselling author Sophie Kinsella the second we read her latest novel My Not So Perfect Life. The book of fiction addresses head on the theme of how lonely social media can make us feel when we compare our real lives to the curated, perfect lives of others. Even when we’re the ones posting “perfect” pictures, we typically end up feeling lonelier because there is no real connection to be made. We connected with Sophie (over Twitter, a great use of social media!), and asked to interview her to hear her advice for girls on social media. She graciously said yes, and here’s what she told us.
Note: Donors who give a minimum of $250 to our annual fundraising campaign are automatically entered into our media-related raffle. One of our prizes? A copy of this riveting book signed by Sophie herself.
How did you land on this theme of curating our lives over social media for your new book? What most interested you?
I always write what I see around me, and I’ve been growing more and more aware of social media and the way we’re all subjected to relentless positive images of each other. I could see how people start measuring their own lives as compared to other people’s and also creating slight fictions with their owns, trying to make everything look perfect. But we can never be perfect and shouldn’t try to be! My books are all about relationships, and for relationships to be real and meaningful you need to see the whole person, the whole picture, the whole truth. So I thought this was a fascinating area to explore through my characters.
Have you yourself found social media to be an effective way to communicate with your audience, and what’s the best and worst part about it?
Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I’ve been fascinated by the whole social media explosion, and I think it brings out the best and worst in people. It’s wonderful to connect, but it’s not wonderful to feel insecure when you look at other people’s apparently amazing ‘lives’ and believe in them or then feel the need to project a perfect life yourself. I’ve definitely been guilty of both these flaws! If I post a picture on Twitter, believe me, there are ten other pictures that I rejected because they weren’t attractive enough.
What advice would you give to girls when it comes to posting their “best selves” on Instagram and Snapchat?
We think we are making ourselves happier by emphasizing the positive in our lives, when in fact we are in danger of deceiving ourselves! I think it’s not so much wanting others to be envious, but wanting to keep up with everyone else’s supposedly perfect lives…no one has the perfect life, however wonderful their existence might seem, so don’t ever fall for the image!
Sophie Kinsella has sold over 36 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, and she has been translated into over 40 languages. She first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – Confessions of a Shopaholic. Sophie has also written six standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night. In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family.