Even though it was a sweltering June afternoon in the city, you wouldn’t have been able to tell from Sophie Pyle’s impeccably curated looks as she sauntered into the coffee shop for our interview. Wearing a brilliant hue of orange and a comfortable yet trendy blouse, Sophie flashed a disarming smile at me that seemed to play up to my expectations on what the editor of one of D.C.’s biggest social websites would look like. Over the past few years Guest of a Guest has garnered a sizable following amongst the more social denizens of the city, acting as the unofficial online tool for discerning who’s who at the myriad of events held in the District. Again, this only reinforced my expectation for what I thought would be a run-of-the-mill ‘socialite interview’, with a majority of dialogue being absorbed by vapid conversation. But like most obnoxiously self-assured people in D.C. who believe they know everything about the city, my assumptions were proven wrong yet again when I was taken aback by Sophie’s soft-spoken nature and charmingly sharp retorts. Her careful balance of polished looks and a refreshingly witty cadence in conversation only confirmed why she has become one of the biggest social forces in D.C. in the span of a few years.
Getting Involved With Guest of a Guest
Sophie is no stranger to the social spotlight, having had a lengthy experience in organizing charity events and even starring in a short-lived reality television show on MTV that focused on the lives of socialites in various parts of the U.S. Her involvement with Guest of a Guest D.C. was a product of serendipity when a boat party she held with her at-the-time boyfriend ended up being covered as an event on the site. Guest of a Guest was originally created by Cameron Winklevoss and Rachelle Hruska in 2008 as a platform for organizing online content from the many social events held in the Hamptons. Gaining traction amongst New York’s social crowd in the course of a few years, the site expanded to D.C. in 2009 but lacked the same spark and massive following it had in NYC. Knowing her background with the District’s burgeoning social circles and with the precedent of her boat event’s success on the site, Hruska approached Sophie with the opportunity to run the D.C. front for Guest of a Guest to which she graciously accepted.
Serving as editor-in-chief of the site since 2010, Sophie has grown Guest of a Guest web traffic to a 750k visitors a month and branded it as one of the most commonly-associated names to D.C.’s social scene. Beyond the pomp and circumstance of touting big traffic numbers, what makes these accolades even more intriguing is the nuanced equilibrium of work and play that Sophie has to balance as she mans the helm of this massive social machine.
One would expect the role of editor-in-chief of Guest of a Guest D.C. to be one of celebrity glamour with the allure of a glitzy life, but like most jobs it has some hard realities when it comes to rote, day-to-day tasks. Due to the evening-intensive nature of her work, Sophie’s days start relatively later than most people working in the District. With that said, she typically wakes up to an inbox overflowing with emails that range from endless party invites to various article submissions from the many writers in her employ. From there she spends the rest of her work cycle maintaining various parts of the site, chasing stories, editing posts, sifting through press releases, and spending a seemingly endless amount of time curating the photos from events that occurred the night before.
According to Sophie, “I prioritize the big events relevant to the twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings that come to our site, specifically who came, what the event was about, where it was, and anything outside of the ordinary like any notable happenings or incidents.” Since the many Guest of a Guest events she attends spill into practically every evening of the week, it begs the question as to how she has been able to balance it all. And by ‘it’, I mean life.
Her Work Life, Her Personal Life, and the Grey Areas In-between
Despite describing how exhausting the aforementioned rigors of her day-to-day activities tend to go, Sophie’s tone was remarkably positive when she described how she precariously balances her work and personal life. In her eyes, it boils down to passion and what drives her to keep doing this job. Her predilection for social interactions, as well as her affable nature around heads of state and celebrities, makes her job less of a chore and more of a lifestyle she has grown to love. In Sophie’s eyes, you don’t have to really compromise work or play to have both, “Granted it’s hard to carve out times for the less flexible of events like birthdays and going away parties for close friends, I’ve found that my business is very close to my personal life. I’ve made a ton of friends through this job, and I always tend to know almost everybody at events I go to.”
Another perk to being editor for Guest of a Guest that allows for her healthy work/life balance is the fact that the higher-ups in NYC have given Sophie carte blanche to run the show in D.C. “I’ve been fortunate to have a very hands-off boss who let me be very creative with [Guest of a Guest], and I always get a weird feeling of nostalgia and slight embarrassment when I look at my work from when I first started and the quality of work I do now,” she noted with a smirk. “It’s a mixed emotion of wanting to kill myself for being so ridiculous in the past to being really proud of how much I’ve grown with my current work now.”
What Can I Say About Sophie
After a lengthy discussion with Sophie, I couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of hope for the D.C. social scene or at least the people who seem to be responsible for running it. For the longest time I’ve held the unfounded belief that I had most of the socialites in this city completely pegged; but my unexpected interactions with one of the District’s biggest social characters suggests there may yet be a few mysteries and surprises that are worth exploring in the District’s dizzying landscape of charity events and opulent parties. If Sophie’s refreshingly genuine personality is indicative of anything, maybe D.C.’s notoriously lavish social scene just may be worth our time.
[header image via Necessary and Proper]