curtains: in conversation with sophie gragg

saachi gupta

The founder and editor-in-chief of The Luna Collective, an acclaimed online platform and print magazine for creatives, Sophie Gragg has managed to build an exquisite community over the last few years, encouraging positivity, art and activism.

She channels these qualities perfectly herself, and is reflective and heedful as we talk.

Sophie’s love for the people she knows, and the opportunities she has, is evident, along with her determination to always be genuine and stand up for what is right. It is these traits that make her reflective and easy to not only talk to, but also respect and admire.

In this conversation with Sophie, we delve into her relationship with death over the years, how the thought of it affects her creativity, and what she would be willing to die for.

photo: nikoli partiyeli

Push up Daisies: What has your relationship with death always been like, and how do you view it now?

Sophie: I think I’ve always seen death as something that doesn’t have to be a be-all and end-all. I do believe in some sort of afterlife, I don’t know what I necessarily believe in—but I always feel like death is just a part of life and it’s an end chapter, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t another book after that.

When I was younger, I didn’t really experience a lot of death. The first time I experienced a family member passing away was when I was about fifteen, I think? My grandpa passed, and that was really hard for me because it was the first person in my life that died that I was close to, and it wasn’t really a fun death—not that there are fun deaths—but it was really tragic. I hadn’t dealt with that before, so it really impacted me.

And that made me understand how grief is not a simple process. This happened years ago and it’s still really hard for me to deal with. So the thing that I’ve learnt is that grief is definitely a lifelong thing, it's not as simple as time moving forward and the healing starts. You cannot just move forward, but that doesn’t mean that it is something that people hold with them forever. I don’t think grief is a bad thing, and I don’t think we should be ashamed of it—it’s just a part of life. I also don’t fear death in any way because if something were to happen to me tomorrow, I’m very proud of my life and very proud of myself. I feel good about where I’m at.

I think I’m really lucky I haven’t experienced a lot of deaths, and that definitely impacts the way I think about it. So, I try to think of it less as a depressing thing—because it is really depressing—and more as just a part of life that opens up a new chapter.

Push up Daisies: Are you spiritual or religious? How do you think your culture/ideals affect your perception of death?

Sophie: I’m not very religious. I was baptized a Christian, my family’s Christian, but I don’t really… align with that.

I am very spiritual, but I grew up being told, like, very much a heaven-hell type thing. So I grew up with a perception of heaven and hell and then as I got older, I realized I might not necessarily align with that completely.

I do believe, to an extent, in reincarnation and souls and past knowledge about stuff, I believe that some people have been here before, I believe that there are certain people in my life that I’ve known in a previous life—but it’s not black and white to me, like: you die and if you’re a good person, you go to heaven. If you’re a bad person, you go hell. I don’t have that mindset.

Push up Daisies: As a creative, how does the thought or fear of death inspire you? Does it ever drive you to create more?

Sophie: Yeah, definitely. I think there’s so much I want to achieve in my life. I also think there’s just like a weird pressure to be successful so young. And I try to not let that affect me in a negative way. I try to let that inspire me rather than add pressure.

I don’t think of it as “I want to do these things before I die.” I think of it as “this is what I want to accomplish when I’m alive.”

So yes, it pushes me in that way but—maybe it’s really narcissistic, but I don’t ever think of myself dying, I just think, like, “I’m immortal! I’m going to be in my twenties forever!” But yeah, it definitely pushes me forward, like, “Okay, there’s a lot I want to do. Now’s the time to do it. Let’s get going.”

I also really hope that our generation can shift that culture of achieving so much so young. It's like if you’re not on top of the world by like 22, your life is over—which makes no sense because when you look at the really, really successful people, they’re not successful until like, their twenties, mid-thirties. So as much as I’m a part of that mindset, I would really like to shift that.