Sophie’s Ugly Duckling Story

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Sophie shared this very positive story last year. Perhaps she never felt as an Ugly Duckling in the most traditional of ways, but still, she felt she wass slowly turning into a swan, and we could all learn a couple of lessons from this tale.

Hello! My name’s Sophie. I guess I should start by saying that I’m from a small-ish town in Australia where opportunities for the more ‘creative’ careers are seldom to none. I’ve spent my whole life wanting to be either an Actor or a Writer. Unfortunately, even at the best of times, both are extremely difficult professions to break into, and, given my geographical disadvantage, I spent most of my years resolved to the fact that I would probably be neither.

Nonetheless, I continued to actively participate in my Drama and English classes, as well as my school’s musical productions.

Sophie as Dorothy - Wizard of OzIn 2011 (when I was in Year 11), I was privileged to play Dorothy in the school’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Throughout the entire rehearsal period, I kept thinking to myself: ‘This is what I want to be doing!’ Then the performances started…

Show after show, I was having the time of my life. Finally, I began to believe that maybe I could make an actual career out of performing.

At the same time, I was really getting involved with the writing side of things as well! By 2011, I’d had three of my short stories published in children’s literary books sold nation-wide. I was really beginning to feel hopeful!

childrens book written by Sophie Volker At the end of my final year of High School in 2012, I graduated top of the year for Drama, English, and English Extension. All my hard work had finally paid off! But there’s a huuuuge difference between being successful in High School and being successful in the big, real, scary world.

I guess you could say that my final test came on the 16th of March 2013. The day that would decide if my personal willpower and determination could overcome the obstacles, fear, snide remarks, and blatant nastiness that the real world has to offer.

It was the day I shaved all my hair off to raise money for cancer research in Australia. It had been something I’d wanted to do for years, but never had the guts to actually do. And when I finally did commit to it, I faced a lot of people saying it was a bad idea.

“You’ll look like a boy…You’ll back out before it happens… You don’t have the guts… blah blah blah…”

Let me just say that I am SO glad I ignored those people! The day my hair came off, I had never felt so proud. I felt like I was part of something big, and to be able to share that day with all my family and friends was absolutely incredible.

World's greatest shave 2013. AustraliaThey were all so proud, and I’m still so grateful to every single person who supported me through it. I know this seems a bit off-topic, but what I’m trying to say here is that I passed that test. I did something that I wanted to do, regardless of what the ‘haters’ said. I did something that made me truly smile, in spite of what others said I wouldn’t have the guts to do. I did it.

And now, thanks to the support of all my fellow Ugly Ducklings (especially Erin and Marie, who made this whole phenomenon happen), I know that I can be whatever I want to be.

Next year I’m moving to the bigger city of Brisbane, where I’ve been accepted into a Bachelor of Creative Arts Majoring in Writing. While I’m living there, I’m also going to sign up with an acting agency to pursue the art of performing that I love so much.

Both of these plans make me so happy and I’m so excited to jump into the next chapter of my life. I’ll spread my wings and become the swan I’ve been dreaming of for all these years!

And who knows –maybe with a whole lot of ducky-ducky-luck and hard work, I could be blessed to act alongside the beautiful Jennifer Morrison, or perhaps Jennifer Lawrence!

Thanks so much for reading my story. Hope you enjoyed!


Sanah Jivani’s Natural Day

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What if a doctor told you that you will lose all your hair in a matter of weeks?

What if you’re only 3 years old and your parents and you get this kind of news?

For some of us, it might have felt like the world would fall on you completely. And at first, that’s what it felt like for Sanah Jivani. But after some struggles, and thanks to her immense bravery, and the support she got from her loved ones, she got to discover who she really was and BE her true self (wig free, I might add).

And now, Sanah wants to challenge us, ugly ducklings, to do the same! Here’s a very special message for all of you!

It’s very easy. Just leave your make up in the bag, and comb your hair just a bit, and celebrate the uniqueness of who you really are. Here’s how #NaturalDay works, in the words of Sanah herself:

Send us your photo, together with the hashtags #NaturalDay, and #TeamNatural and we’ll share them with the rest of the community.

Remember: this February 13th! 

And if you want to follow Sanah on Twitter, click here.