VESTA5: Sophia Money-Coutts, Writer & Journalist
Writer and journalist Sophia Money-Coutts worked for the Evening Standard and Daily Mail, before becoming features editor at Tatler for five years, where she wrote pieces with headlines like “Would you send your son to a prostitute?” and “Threesomes – are they as much fun as they sound?”
Sophia is now freelance and writes a weekly column called Modern Manners for The Sunday Telegraph. Her first novel is coming out this summer, The Plus One.
1) What would your chosen last meal be?
My dad and my step-mother live in northern Spain, in Catalunya. And every Sunday out there, instead of having a traditional Sunday lunch, we have tapas. Plates and plates of tapas – jamon croquettas, deep-friend calamari, tuna tartar, grilled prawns, cooked chorizo, goats cheese and honey and so on. With tumblers of local Rosado (a bright pink rose which makes you incredibly fun for circa six hours and then suddenly burst into tears). But even with the drunken, over-wrought tears, I’d still take the tapas.
2) What is your favourite book?
Any of the Blandings series by PG Wodehouse. When I was a teenager and decided I wanted to be a journalist, I asked my grandpa (also a journalist) what I should do to get there. ‘Read everything by Wodehouse', he told me. It’s an inherited love since my mother adores Wodehouse so much she once sent him a letter. He wrote back about his Pekinese dogs (he owned several). Mum still carries it in her handbag, although I’ve told her to frame it. Sorry, I seem to have wandered from the point. But the gist is, Wodehouse.
3) What is your biggest extravagance?
My car. It’s a nine-year-old BMW 1 series but I love it. Driving is like therapy for me, a form of mindfulness. I can take myself off anywhere, listen to something embarrassing like Shania Twain, and just concentrate on the road. In my car, the number one priority is driving, meaning my brain has to stop whirring about anything else. Bliss.
4) If you could own any one piece of artwork, which would it be?
I love a portrait. So probably what’s known as The Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I, a painting of the Tudor queen dating from around 1590 by a Flemish artist who worked at court. (Called Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger for the simple reason his father was Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder.) It’s a full-length portrait of the Queen standing on a globe and wearing the most sensational but ludicrously over-the-top dress. Her hips are as wide as a wardrobe and her face is like thunder. It’s magnificent.
5) Which two celebrities would play you and your love interest in a film?
Hmmmm. When I was 18, I worked in a shop in Chelsea and, one day, two people, two separate customers, told me I looked like Uma Thurman. As far as I know, they weren’t bribed, although nobody’s ever said that again. So maybe Uma and, erm… My boyfriend is always told that he looks like Jack Black. A Chinese man in Topman stopped us the other day and asked me if he was Jack Black. I shook my head. ‘I’m not sure Jack Black shops much in Topman,’ I told him. But how do I know, to be fair. Maybe he does. So, an unlikely pairing perhaps but Uma Thurman and Jack Black.