​Sophie McLaughlin: “Being able to tell the stories that are so important to people is an honour."

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The Belfast Live Reporter on the best piece of advice she’s been given, her most overused words & how transportation would be her superpower.

It’s our round, what are you having? 

I would love to say that my first choice is a rhubarb gin and ginger but I do love a pint of Heineken. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Definitely a singer or an actress - I would have told you I was going to win the X Factor when I was younger! There was also a random period of time I thought I wanted to be an air-hostess too.

Social media platform of choice?

I literally take pictures of everything and then become too sentimental to delete any so it’s got to be Instagram. 

Favourite writer?

My “journalistic hero” Ryan Smith. 

How did you get your job?

I started off just doing one freelance shift a week just after I finished my masters and it built up from there, now they [Belfast Live] can’t get rid of me.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

“You’ll not regret buying year long next day delivery for ASOS.”

Someone you might be starstruck to meet? 

I’d be lying to my 2011 self if I didn’t say any member of One Direction - in particular Niall Horan and Harry Styles (I was a camp-outside-the-Ticketmaster-outlet-all-night kind of fangirl).

Who is your celebrity crush?

100% Paul Mescal.

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date? 

I would say my first front page story was a big moment for me. I’d only been working for like a month and I had been told it was going to be in the paper but not on the front so I literally nearly cried in the shop when I spotted it.

Hidden talent? 

Maybe not so hidden as I’d be a tad dramatic about things but I had a role in all my school musicals when I was younger and absolutely loved being a part of them.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? 

Eastenders and RuPaul’s Drag Race - you can imagine my face when Drag Race UK did an Eastenders acting challenge one week. 

How do you switch off from work?

Maybe a walk and a podcast (highly recommend I’m Grand Mam) but more than likely a nap… 

What would your superpower be? 

Transportation because a) no need to wait on taxis for a night out, b) can be back home with the dog any time I need cheering up, c) running late would be a thing of the past.

Favourite blogger/influencer?

I actually don’t follow a whole pile of bloggers or influencers because I would stress myself that my life wasn’t looking as amazing as theirs all the time but an account I follow religiously is ‘Love of Huns’ - their pop culture memes get me through the day. 

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Back to Lake Bled in Slovenia when I went Interrailing in 2019. I sometimes look at the photos and can’t believe a place as beautiful as that really exists. 

What is the worst job you’ve done? 

I worked as a waitress when I was about 15 and the job itself wasn’t that bad but I remember one night it was so busy, not a single free table in the place and we were serving a massive table of like 20 down the middle of the room all night as well. When it was finally time to go home we went to split the tips between us and got 5p each!

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought (excluding property)? 

I borrowed a friend’s Ted Baker dress once and a pipe burst in the room where I was keeping it and completely destroyed it. So replacing it so she’d never find out was a hit to the bank (if you see this Sarah…no you didn’t!) 

Most overused word or phrase: 

Like, unfortunately... 

What is top of your bucket list?

Big American road trip. 

To the audience: You should make our news brands a part of your day because... 

They are not like any other news brand out there. Belfast Live is the type of news I’d like to read myself - it covers all the breaking stories, politics and crime but it also shares the voices of the people, businesses and places that make Northern Ireland so special. Being able to tell the stories that are so important to people is an honour to do and I’m very glad to be a part of it.