There’s never been a better time to check in on our friends, Pretty Birds. Life in the time of COVID-19 is full of uncertainty and stress, but no matter how we’re coping, we can all agree it’s a time to be grateful for the people in our lives who show up for us. Checking in With Friends is dedicated to touching base with our fabulous friends all over the world.
Checking in With Friends: Sofia Celeste
Sofia Celeste is a Milan-based fashion journalist and editor as well as contributor to VOGUE ARABIA and NOWFASHION. Celeste covers everything from fashion to politics, currently focusing on fashion tech and sustainability. You can also read her stellar work in the Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe, just to name a few. Her latest piece covers Racism in Food in the time of COVID-19. She has also written several wonderful pieces for ATPB over the years from reproductive health issues to African Couture.
All The Pretty Birds: How are you? How are your loved ones?
Sofia Celeste: We are all taking it day by day. I have been trying not to be so hard on myself if I can’t get my work done in time or get dinner on the table at a decent hour. Cannot believe how far we have all come.
ATPB: Where are you currently staying?
SC: Alone in my apartment in Milan with my two daughters.
ATPB: Are you in lockdown/isolation? Describe your new circumstances.
SC: I’m a single mother and it’s been difficult not having another adult at home to interface with. The last time we went outside the gates of our complex was perhaps March 12 and even then, I think we just went for a short walk around our block. We are in lockdown yet we go outside in our courtyard every day, play in the little garden, and ride scooters in the parking lot. We also do some yoga and lots of dancing.
ATPB: How is it affecting your work and personal life?
SC: My day revolves around my daughters (cooking, cleaning, and playing) and their homework. When I have a conference call, my children usually make an appearance and that is usually the time I finally let them watch TV or use the iPad. On a more personal level, it’s been heartwarming to receive so many messages and FaceTime chats — it’s made me realize how important certain individuals are to me, to never take my family relationships or friendships for granted and how magical something as simple as an embrace is.
ATPB: What have you learned about yourself during this time?
SC: I suffer from anxiety and claustrophobia and I really surprised myself as to how mentally strong I really am. I think that we all should be very proud of ourselves.
ATPB: Can you tell us about a daily ritual that has been keeping you sane?
SC: I run up and down my back driveway 25 times, every day. When my kids get unruly, I close myself in the bathroom and give myself a few minutes to breathe. Other than that, I clean and organize things. It clears my head.
ATPB: What’s something you hope to take from this experience?
SC: This experience has forced me to focus solely on my children and take pride in the home we have created together. To appreciate just being the three of us, without any distractions or friends around. When we play or have a meal together, we are totally focused on each other. As for my daughters, they have had to take small responsibilities upon themselves, such as making their beds and doing chores like cleaning their rooms, washing the windows and making their own sandwiches. Until now, they have been very spoiled by myself and our housekeeper/babysitter Lily. I am very proud of how calm they have been. They actually told me quarantine “has been a lot of fun.” LOL.
ATPB: What are some things you’re grateful for?
SC: Our health and the fact that we have more than enough food. Since we have been separated from the rest of our family, I have realized how important our immediate community is to us. My neighbors have been doing our grocery shopping and my doorman Mimmo has also been super helpful. Seeing them, even from a distance has grounded me and given me an incredible amount of comfort during this difficult time.
ATPB: Is there an album or playlist that you’ve been feeling lately?
SC: When we really want to lift our spirits, we play Jackie Wilson, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” and Wilson Picket’s “Land of 1000 Dances”, “Waka Waka” by Shakira or “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee.
ATPB: Do you have a poem, quote, article, and/or image that you’d like to share to inspire others?
SC: I have just finished reading “Charlotte’s Web” to my girls, a story of unexpected friendship, loyalty, and hope.
When this whole crisis started to erupt in Italy, the first thing that came into my head was an image of my grandmother making her ragu. It was a Sunday and I just imagined her cooking a big family dinner as she normally does, and how much I missed her and how much she probably was missing us. I can’t wait to see her again!
All images from Sofia Celeste