Soph Cook: scientist – fashion blogger and social media influencer

Today, I decided to interview Soph Cook who is, by far, my fav fashion influencer. I recently bought literally everything that it’s on her Instagram page. I like Soph because she represents me as a woman in science and fashion blogger, much better than any Kim (fake) Kardashian. Soph has got a PhD in biochemistry and currently work as a medical writer. You can also find Soph on Twitter and subscribe to her website.

DmGHQNXXsAEHQ4r1. You took a non-traditional career option after your PhD by working as a medical writer. Which piece of knowledge and skills learned during PhD are the most valuable for your current job? As a Medical Writer, writing skills such as writing an abstract, making a conference poster as well as reading and critiquing papers are all skills that I got a grounding in during my PhD, though I’d definitely cringe if I had to look back at my old posters

now! Skills like project and time management can also never be underestimated as key skills to master during a PhD that are relevant to any job afterwards.

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2. Which skills did you have to gain that you didn’t during your PhD to succeed in the job interview? I think the fact that I had a blog, and was therefore able to show a genuine interest in writing, worked well in my favour. I had also taken part in science communication events such as Pint of Science during my PhD which meant I had experience in communicating to audiences, which helped during the group assessment part of the interview day. I would definitely recommend stepping out of the lab every once in a while during a PhD, to be able to show that you have other skills, particularly communication and teamwork, as a PhD can often be quite isolating and doesn’t always let you develop these skills.
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I would definitely recommend stepping out of the lab every once in a while during a PhD
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DloP_CuWsAETpy43. When did you start your Instagram account and activity as a fashion blogger?
I started my blog thescientificbeauty.com a year into my PhD, initially so that I could put it on my CV and be able to show examples of my writing in interviews. Within a few weeks I was hooked and now write because I love being inspired and enjoy creating content that I have complete control over. My blog was originally dedicated to beauty posts, where I explained the science behind popular beauty products, but I also thought it was important to show the scientist behind the blog, to help change the stereotype of the nerdy scientist. It was when I started my blog’s Instagram account that I found that my followers responded much more to my outfit posts, and that actually I enjoyed taking fashion pictures for my account much more. I then started introducing fashion posts to my blog too which I enjoy more than anything; I love expressing my style, I love meeting up with fellow bloggers to help each other shoot outfits, I love taking and editing photos, and I love connecting with people over social media to share posts and style inspiration.
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I also thought it was important to show the scientist behind the blog, to help change the stereotype of the nerdy scientist.
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Do1yo19XkAAq8iC.jpg large4. Which brands do you tend to work whit and sponsor? Do you have a policy with partnerships to accept and which ones to decline? I only ever work with brands that I would otherwise use anyway. Especially for beauty products, I would never take on a sponsored post for a product where I knew the science wasn’t sound, and if a product does have unsubstantiated claims then I call them out. I have turned down many opportunities, especially for the likes of hair growth and skin supplements and slimming shakes, where I just don’t believe in the product. The same also goes for fashion, I would only recommend products where I knew the quality was good and in a style that is true to myself, because that’s why my followers come to read my blog at the end of the day!
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5. What is your advice to young female students who want to pursue a career in science and don’t accept the stereotype of a typical female scientist? My advice for young students would definitely be to persevere and to not be put off by other people’s opinions on what they should or shouldn’t study as a girl. I would advise them to chat to women in science about careers if they can, either by attending local outreach events or through social media. There are so many inspiring women in STEM on social media now showing that anyone can do science, the number has grown exponentially ever since I started my blog 5 years ago, so follow follow follow to see the diversity of what women in STEM look like and what careers they have! I wish Twitter and Instagram had been around when I was in school for this reason, when I was the only girl in my science classes not there to study medicine at university!
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Persevere and do not be put off by other people’s opinions on what they should or shouldn’t study as a girl.
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About the author: If you are new to this, let me introduce myself. 👋🏻 My name is Teresa and I am doing the last year of my PhD in chemistry. PhDToSuccess is a space where people can learn how to be successful in grad school, which doesn’t necessarily mean publishing 5 papers, doing a postdoc after graduation or being the smartest kids of the class. Success is a personal achievement and everyone enrolled in a PhD programme should feel successful.

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