Saturday 17 November 2018

sophie merry

Julia Molony

She shot to international fame as the hit YouTube sensation Groovy Dancing Girl. While still at college, Sophie, who's from Shankill, Co Dublin, put together a home-made video of herself dancing to Daft Punk in her friend's back garden. She sped up her movements and put the video on YouTube, where it soon attracted more than two million viewers. Sophie is now one of the best-known Irish people on the internet. "My friends call me the Irish Crazy Frog," the 28-year-old jokes. "I get the odd marriage proposal from 40-year-old American men. Online is a funny old place."

Off the back of her viral triumph, she was whisked to France to become the face of Etam fashion. Sophie was shocked by the scale of her reception when she arrived. "There were life-sized posters of me, the windows were filled with mannequins with red wigs, and people were filming me on their phones," she recalls. "It was something that filtered into people's consciousness and became a little part of pop culture." The Etam job was a welcome return to modelling for a girl who appeared on the cover of U magazine aged 17, having won a competition with Clairol. "Modelling is something that I like to do as an artistic pastime rather than a job," Sophie says. "But I'm comfortable in front of the camera and behind it."

Her mother is the well-known artist Mary Reynolds, and Sophie grew up steeped in creativity. "My mother was going to be a surgeon, but then changed her mind and became a painter," says Sophie, who admits that despite her parents' expressive inclinations, she didn't have a wild childhood. "They weren't strict, but they definitely weren't bohemian either. I've other friends who had way more mad parents than I did," she says, laughing.

She takes inspiration from her social life. "I love to go out," she says. "I don't think my brain ever switches off." Her spur for creativity comes from an interest in people. "I'm an extrovert myself, but it's not that I'm always talking about myself, I'm interested in hearing about what other people have to say," she says about what drives her.

Her exhibit as part of Biorhythm at Trinity College Dublin's Science Gallery has already become one of the popular features at the show. When Sophie isn't busy working as a director for Jumper Productions --the company that headhunted her after seeing her success with Groovy Dancing Girl -- she's creating digital art. Her latest piece is an interactive installation, which has employed motion-capture technology to create a dancing avatar of Sophie that the viewer can manipulate.

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For more information about Sophie's work as a director, see www.krop.com/sophiemerry

Biorhythm: Music and the Body runs at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, Pearse St, D2, until October, see www.sciencegallery.com/biodancer

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