Figuring out your identity is hard. Figuring it out while going through sorority rush? That’s even harder. In her hilarious new memoir, “The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had)” Sophie Santos offers a story of self-discovery and of coming out. On the Reckon Interview, she discusses growing up in a military family and remaking herself with each move, what rush is really like, the aftermath of a tornado and, of course, coming out. Her new book is the one you’ll want to read.
Learn more at www.sophiesantos.com.
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Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for length and clarity.
John Hammontree: Okay, so I’m not entirely sure why, but the University of Alabama sorority rush seems to capture the entire country’s attention every few years. Yeah, maybe it’s because it’s the largest in the country and Alabama is a football powerhouse. Or maybe it’s because the system itself didn’t desegregate until just a few years ago. Maybe it’s just voyeurism about young women, or it’s nostalgia for that time in our lives. But for whatever reason, every couple of years, even national news outlets like the New York Times, end up writing stories about sororities at the University of Alabama.
This year, there was an entire saga about rush and Tik Tok, but Sophie Santos’ hilarious and moving new memoir pulls back the curtain on what sorority recruitment is really like at Alabama. Her book is called “The One You Want to Marry and Other Identities I’ve Had.” Now it’s not just about sorority recruitment. That’s just a very small chapter of it. It’s also a coming out story. And as the title suggests, it’s a book about finding yourself. I should say up front that I first met Sophie in college. Now she writes in her book at the time, she was trying her hardest to fit into this mold of ideal sorority woman. She was involved with campus leadership organizations, and she was juggling something like five different majors. But after a tornado in April 2011, everything came crashing down for her. And she really started to sort through what her identity really was. Now, for me, reading this book was a nice reminder that everybody out there has a story. I had no idea that this woman I met in passing in college would go on to have a successful stand up comedy career, and she would host a weekly sold out show in New York called The Lesbian Agenda, that she’d go on to write for shows on Bravo and MTV. I didn’t even know that was one of her ambitions. I had no idea that she transferred to a different university a couple years later. I didn’t know that she had grown up in a military family, changing schools every few years, an easy way to try on different identities in the South. I’m not even sure I knew that she had rushed. So reading through her book and catching up with Sophie on this week’s episode of the Reckon Interview, was a nice reminder that each of the thousands of women we see pictured in these articles every year about sorority rush contained dozens of identities and viewpoints. They contain multitudes, if we’re just willing to seek those stories out and listen to them. So let’s learn more about Sophie’s story on this week’s episode of the Reckon Interview.
Sophie Santos, welcome to the Reckon Interview.
Sophie Santos: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, John Hammontree, I really appreciate it.
John Hammontree: You’ve got a new memoir out called “The One You Want to Marry and Other Identities I’ve Had.” You break it up into three phases. And I think the last time that we spoke would have been in person and you were squarely in the middle of phase two. It’s even the phase that gave this book its title. You were a sorority girl at the University of Alabama, I was I think interviewing you to see if you wanted to be in this leadership organization on campus. And you were going through some things it sounds like at that time.
Sophie Santos: Yeah, I was. And just really quickly, it’s so funny, because when it comes to the title, because I also do stand up, and so now that I’m doing, you know, promoting the book more when I’m doing shows, people will be like, Okay, so what’s the whole, like, what’s the name of the title? And I’m like, well just say “The One You Want to Marry.” I’m like, because I don’t need you to do the whole thing. And then when they say it, everyone’s like, okay, and I’m like, No, it’s not it. It’s actually not what you’re saying, which I think is fun. I love it feels very narcissistic. But it’s actually it’s actually not. But yeah, you we met you were interviewing me for a leadership organization. That was at the time, let’s see, I was probably 19, I was just going through the motions of is doing exactly what you should do when you’re like a type A person that, you know, just wants to be successful, which is being a business major, minor in Political Science. Also, at one point, I was taking Arabic, not realizing that I needed to study to do well. There was a part of me that really did love leadership organizations. I was heavily involved in this organization in high school called Junior Civitan, which I don’t know if you’ve heard about it. It’s a very big thing in the South. It’s like Key Club, you know, it really is just like trying to foster being a good person, helping out your fellow person, all of the good stuff. And so I had done that. And so this kind of seemed like the next big step. And I also knew at the time that it was like, a really big deal to be a part of, and it was something that I that I genuinely did want to do. And but yeah, internally I definitely was, was struggling, despite me, ultimately succeeding and getting in the program, which I know was a very hard thing to do. But yeah, internally, I was not definitely not okay.
John Hammontree: As I was reading it, I was like, wow, I want to read an autobiography of any person I’ve ever met. Because I think at the time, like you said, you were studying Arabic, you were a business major, you were a daughter in a military family. You’ve lived all over the South, and all over the country. And we were just like, Wow, what a great candidate. You were writing about… some of it was I don’t want to say that it was performance, but you were trying to figure out your identity. And it’s clear that whether it’s church camp or the sorority system or this organization Blackburn that Talking about when you get the opportunity to do something you want to be best at it, you’ve got a little bit of a competitive streak.
Sophie Santos: Yeah. And I mean, I would I’m not gonna lie. I mean, you know, now I’m definitely older and wiser and at the time, yeah, I wanted to be a part of the best program. And I was like, Well, I know I can do I can try my way in there. And, and then once you but then once you’re in it, you’re like, Wow, this is like, I really need to do the work. And I wasn’t great. I’m gonna admit I was not a great member because I was being so pulled in the direction of the sorority, which was encompassing my entire life and which felt like the path to go down being where as I’m, you know, I’m going to be a sorority girl, I’m going to find the man of my dreams, probably just get my MRS degree at the end of the day, get married, have kids live in Birmingham, Alabama — which no shade, I do love Birmingham — but just like doing all the motions versus being like, Wait, is this what I want? Is this actually what I want to do? Which, obviously, you know, it ultimately wasn’t what I wanted to do.
John Hammontree: To spoil the big reveal, this is a coming out story. And in some ways, it deals with a lot of identity issues as well. You make it very clear at the beginning of the book, that fitting into this sorority girl mold of being the one you want to marry is not something that necessarily was who — you did not know at the time that’s not who you were.
Sophie Santos: Right. No, I didn’t. And I the thing is, is like, my mom was a sorority girl. And she was also sort of forced into sororities was definitely forced into pageants because of her mother. And so when she suggested it, I thought she was losing her mind, because it was exactly what she didn’t want to do. And now she’s saying you should do this thing, you’re gonna, you know, this is where you’re going to, you know, meet the best friends of your life, the girls are going to be in your wedding, you know, and all this kind of, you know, all the stuff that they talk about. You know, the bullshit, but not for everybody. But at least definitely, for someone like me. I was very hesitant, and I was very much pushing against it. But what I was realizing, and I think it’s because I was a military kid, and as you had mentioned, and I was just moving around constantly, and like literally every, if not every year, every other year, and just constantly having to make new friends and restart over and over and over and over. And I was like, Okay, this is not what I want to do.
But if I get in this, I’m going to have 200 best friends immediately that love me. I’m gonna, I have, it’s literally the playbook of, you know, of making friends. I don’t have to, really, in my mind do that much work, because, except pay a lot of money. And, and we’re good, you know? And that was really sort of what did it. Of course, little did I know, there are so many rules. And there’s so many restrictions when you’re in a sorority. And if you don’t do XY and Z, you know, or you they see you wearing like a scrunchie, you’re like sent to standards, which is basically when the older girls reprimand you and then make you pay like $200. And it’s like, oh, wait a minute. So these are my friends, but they’re also kind of dictators. And that’s where the push and pull came from. But I was also, yeah, at first glance, I was like, Ooh, this this seems wonderful. And I’m in a mansion? Okay.
John Hammontree: Yeah, exactly. Nothing problematic about those mansions on campus by any means. You make it clear every few years, it seems like the entire country kind of loses their minds over the Alabama sorority recruitment process, whether it’s rush talk this year, where everybody was paying attention to that, or a few years ago with the efforts to desegregate the sorority system. You know, every few years, people are paying attention to it. But you make it pretty clear that your fate was kind of determined in a matter of 30 seconds before you even set foot on campus for rush. That it was a it was a legacy type. But not not directly your mom being a legacy, but her friend helped you get into the sorority that you ended up in, and you change the names of the sororities. Was that intentional? I was reading and I was like, I was not in the Greek system. But I don’t recognize any of these names.
Sophie Santos: Yeah, no, I did change the names. And I think it was just more, I’m a pretty, I don’t know, I felt like better be safe than sorry. And I do go pretty hard on the sorority system. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people that agree with me and I think there’s a lot of people that were in it that like probably are proud to be alums that also still, you know, that would also still agree, right? But I just felt like it was also just more fun for me so I could really just be open, be honest, no holding back and not worry about, you know, using the name although it’s I’m sure it’s gonna be very easy for people to figure out. But then that’s your energy, you know, then then those people can figure it out. And that’s it.
But yeah, I mean, yeah, I wasn’t a legacy. Which a legacy is basically when you are the daughter of someone who — or the son if you’re talking about fraternities — of someone who was in a sorority, and you basically have preference and it’s almost like you’re a shoo in because the bloodline. Kings and queens here, right? You can’t, it’s very, the stakes are high. And so my mom was a DG, which is real, my mom was a Delta Gamma, but they didn’t have Delta Hamma at the time. I know they have it now, I don’t know if they’re still around, but at the time, they didn’t have it. And so my mom’s best friend from college or her old college roommate, her daughter was the rush chair of this sorority I ultimately pledged to. And I didn’t realize like the kind of sorority it was I didn’t know anything about the, you know, sororities at all. And also like every sorority has a different identity. But this particular sorority was very much like the classiest. Everyone’s like trying to get married. Everyone, they’re the ones you want to marry. That was literally the joke. People would literally joke about it.
And I was like what does that mean? Cuz I look at my I was looking at myself and I was like, I don’t think I look like marriage material. I don’t know what marriage material looks like but I don’t feel like I am whatever you guys are saying. Obviously I’m trying to like spend whatever college money I have on David Yurman, I don’t know, on Michael Kors, things that like or not Michael Kors, God forbid, Longchamp, you know all of these — that’s a purse, everybody — and so all of these things that cost hundreds of hundreds of dollars so that I can feel like I’m marriage material, which obviously is, was all materialistic. But anyway. Yeah, I mean, long story short, that’s ultimately what did it and then I was in hell mouth. Yeah.
John Hammontree: You didn’t initially want to go to UA. You were not originally from Alabama. You wound up in Arab I think for middle school in high school. Is that right?
Sophie Santos: Yeah, I, my mom got remarried and wanted to relocate to the South because we were in Kansas City, in different parts of Kansas City, which is just the easiest way to sum it up. And found ourselves in Arab, which was the biggest culture shock I think I’ve ever had, even to this day. And yeah, and I always just, in addition to being living in Arab for middle school and high school, I always was like, I had the dream. I had this, you know, two suitcases in my hand ready to go to New York. And it was just always in the back of my head. And so I tried so desperately to get there right out of high school, and it just didn’t work out. And so Alabama ended up being the choice. That was you know, the only choice I ended up kind of having. And I was resenting it at first until I went to my first Alabama football game and you know, and now I am forever all hail, Bear Bryant, all hail Nick Saban, Roll Tide forever. And it is a part of my bloodline now too. So even though I was going through it a lot, I was actually really happy to to be able to say that I went there for as long as I did.
John Hammontree: Coming up after the break, Sophie discusses the aftermath of the April 2011, tornadoes, and what keeps her rooted in the south, even as she’s become a New Yorker.
And you, you were there when the tornado struck in April 2011. And you talked about that being kind of a bottoming out period, that that was a really traumatic event for you. I was not on campus. I had graduated by that point. But I remember you know, sitting in the basement of an apartment I was subletting and just refreshing, refreshing, refreshing, watching the Weather Channel all night. Well, what was your experience like going through that?
Sophie Santos: I’m in a Blount class, and I wish to God I remembered what building it was. It’s like on the tip of my tongue, but it was like kind of it was literally right at the beginning of the quad. And my teacher at the time was just a very soft spoken older man, and nothing can faze him, and he was really taught he was talking about how the Internet was ruining art, ruining our minds and trying to make us turn into wise individuals. And there was one at one of the guys in class was just like, hey, um, Professor, this tornado is like real. It’s coming. And he’d be like, we’re fine. And we just keep going. And then eventually, the student was like no, really we got to go. Like, we need to like go into the hallway because there was no basement in this facility. And sure enough, you know, in the nick of time we did go into the hallway, and you know, put our backpacks over our heads. And we’re listening to icon James Spann, who I’m very happy is still still has a career and is still the personality of the South. And we’re just listening to him. And he’s basically saying, you know that it’s going over the University. And I’m just like, crossing my fingers that it’s not actually about to hit us. And, of course, as you know, people in the South know, tornadoes happen in the blink of an eye. And it’s always just so quick.
And so I leave the building, and I was like, Oh, that was nothing, because we were unscathed. And then the closer I started to walk towards Sorority Row, and 13th Street, which Sorority Row is close to 13th Street in Tuscaloosa, is when I started to see the real damage. And then this is when Kirby Smart was the offensive? Wait? Offensive? Defensive coordinator. Oh, my god, yeah, defensive coordinator. So whose daughter was in my sorority. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. The point is, I remember Kirby Smart getting on some sort of like go kart and was like getting some of the football guys to, you know, drive over to see the damage. And we all just kind of followed. And I don’t know if you got the chance between because I know you’re saying you’re, you know, you had graduated, but got the chance to really walk down that street, but it was obliterated. And obviously, it wasn’t safe for us to be walking if power lines are down. But I think all of us were just like, couldn’t believe that just an hour ago, it was just all of these businesses and homes. And now there’s… it was just nothing. And my roommate at the time, because we lived on 12th Street, was like asleep upstairs in the house, which was just a street over. And it just really kind of what propelled — and I know that this was I’m not trying to, you know, jump your questions. But you know, you did mention me kind of having a mental break, which was me realizing, oh, death can happen whenever. And a lot of students died. And a lot of people in the city died. And a lot of people in the state died. And it unlocked something within me and it unlocked my anxiety.
John Hammontree: And you, I think wound up checking yourself into into an outpatient facility as a result of that.
Sophie Santos: Yeah, I did. I mean, it was on the behest of my mom. I mean, she I just was like, all of a sudden, scared to drive a car without feeling like a semi was gonna come and kill me. I was scared to walk outside of the house. You know, I’ve thought like an imminent terrorist attack would happen outside my own house. Like it was just like all of these things that just like that kind of the worst fears were unlocked.
And I knew that I needed help. And she found this great program, which, thankfully, it was outpatient. I mean, they did have an inpatient program, but when they evaluated me, they were like, No, I think she just needs to be in intense therapy for a couple of weeks. So I was just basically in therapy for eight hours a day for two weeks, and, you know, got medication, and really kind of started to deal with the fact that I have anxiety. And you know, I’ve always had anxiety, but this is something that really just triggered it.
John Hammontree: Then you go to a camp, and from there, you decide that you are going to transfer out of Alabama. What happened at camp? That was a very big turning point for you.
Sophie Santos: Well, yeah, so I was like, I just realized that I’m like, I’m not the one you want to marry. I don’t, I don’t know who I am. I want to figure it out. I want to go on a journey, but it’s not this. And I go to work at a summer program, a summer camp at Wellesley College that was hosted, it was just being hosted at the university. They are not affiliated. And I’m so I’m not going to have them be associated, but it was on their grounds. And I met a queer person. You know, I had met queer people, the crazy thing is is like my mom, like all of her friends growing up were lesbians. Never once was I like, oh, this is me. But also because it was like stereotypical stuff. So I thought, well, if you look like me, then then you, if you don’t look like that, or you don’t look like Ellen, then you’re not gay or queer or whatever, whatever it is. So when I met this person, I was like, I was instantly it was like I was going through puberty all over again. And my stomach was dropping, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and couldn’t stop being around them, and but also wanting to run far away from them all the time, and was just kind of turned into a teenage boy and was crushing real hard, and not understanding why.
John Hammontree: Every time y’all hooked up, you would basically say I’m not gay, I’m not gay. And yet, keep hooking up with them at the time.
Sophie Santos: Yeah, yeah, I mean, the first time that we like, hooked up, we were at a party. And I remember being like, you know, I had enough, what was it, Absolut Vodka and Crystal Light, you know, because we love those? And it was like, you know, let’s get out of here. And you know, cue the fucking Elle King music, just like any sort of CW music that you can think of. And next thing I know, we’re hooking up in a gravel parking lot. And I don’t know how graphic I can be. But, I mean, I think it makes, I think I have to be just so you understand and so listeners understand how psychotic I was being, which is when I was going down on her, and I like, shot up and scream that I wasn’t gay, and ran away. Brushing the gravel off my knees, I have like cuts and scrapes all over my hands. I’m like having to run back into the party. And I feel like I just like, you know, I’m trying to hide that I had just murdered somebody cuz, you know, I’m like, trying to stop the bleeding and, you know, pure pure mess, pure mess. And I just, you know, for anyone out there who’s thinking about doing that, I just recommend that you don’t, don’t do it. It’s just not worth it. But yeah, I fully, I fully did that.
John Hammontree: And so you decide to transfer. I guess, Alabama wasn’t conservative enough. So you wanted to go to a small school in Mississippi once you come out?
Sophie Santos: Yeah, well, at that point, I didn’t really have a choice. I mean, I had really not done well at Alabama. I was doing really well, and then I started doing really poorly. And I had changed my major like six times. And now I have like nothing really to show for it. I actually went to Kansas City for a year and was doing some acting over there at a university there. And just was like, again, really just don’t have my shit together. So my mom was like, you know, she had just gotten approved for I think either a promotion or just a position at the University of Southern Mississippi. She’s actually alum from there. She went to nursing school there. And she was just like, Yeah, this is your last chance girly, because you’re either coming with me or you’re going somewhere else and I don’t care where that is. And I was like, okay, yeah, fine. I’ll come with you. And so that was really my only decision. But it turned out they had a great theater department. It was, I think it’s one of the best in the in the South. And met amazing college friends. Really became super grounded. And really felt like, you know, finally had a community that spoke to me, you know, at least at the time. So it was actually transformative.
John Hammontree: Yeah, theater communities are great like that. And you had done theater in high school. I mean, that that’s what you wanted to do coming out of it. When do you move up to New York. Is that after you graduate from Southern Miss?
Sophie Santos: Um, kind of. Well, I was an intern, I was an acting intern, which I had no idea that was thing. But I was an acting intern at a program in the Berkshires and got cast in a really nice role with some some pretty cool people up over in Stockbridge, and so in the Berkshires. And so I was doing this role and acting for a couple of months. And from there, I met a woman who — platonically — who was a music, who was a voice teacher over at Juilliard. And that meet, for me was like, a big moment. And I just also was just super like, you know, I really looked up to her, and she just kind of like, took me out to dinner and was just like, alright, kid. So what are you gonna do? And I was like, Well, I don’t know. I mean, I’m thinking, I’m thinking LA. And she was like, Why? Why would you want to go to LA? Why are you going to LA? The space? You know, you come to New York, I’ll help you. And I was like, okay! And then the best part was, I’m like, I call my mom like, Mom, I think I’m gonna go to New York, and she’s always been so supportive being like, Okay. Which, thank God for her. And then the crazy, the last crazy part about it is so I have you know, Deb, who’s like, I’m going to help you when you come to New York. And then B), one of the actresses who was, you know, because it’s a repertory theater. So there’s all types of shows going on. One of the actresses and I somehow are messaging on Facebook. I don’t know why. And probably me networking. It was me networking. And no, and I say in the book, it was me networking. And she, I’d asked her if I could, I was like, when I get to the Big Apple, let’s grab a coffee. I just want to talk to you. And she goes, when are you getting here? And I said, Well, you know, in the summer. She goes, Well, do you like cats? I say I mean, I didn’t really care, to be honest. But I was like, yeah, they’re great. And she goes, you want to catsit for me for a couple months? And I said, yeah, when she goes, Uh, how about in like a couple of days. I was like, and I’m like, looking at my calendar and realizing, you know, the internship ends in a couple days, and I’m like, Sure. And I took her up on it. And I lived in this like actress’s home, on the Upper West Side, and really just kind of got my start, and got a restaurant job. And, you know, as I say, the rest is history. But like, you know, it was just so it was just like one little lucky thing after the other that solidified that for me, and I, you know, kind of never looked back.
John Hammontree: And now you’re a stand up, you host a show called The Lesbian Agenda. And you write for TV?
Sophie Santos: Yeah, yeah. I mean, so I’ve been hosting the show for a couple of years. Um, basically, it’s a very serious show, where we tried to enforce our new world order with our agenda, like casting Rachel Weiss in every lesbian movie until she becomes a lesbian, small things like that. And it’s really fun. It’s like a variety show. But I always have, you know, I have stand ups on. You know, I do a bunch of segments. I kind of like, say like, it’s like Samantha Bee, if Samantha Bee was a lesbian. And so, and I have segments, and it’s all based around the agenda, and like, what we’re really trying to enforce, in that particular month. And then, but I do music comedy. And so a lot of the things that I’m like, enforcing, I’ll also add a song to it, which seems to be really fun for the audience. And yeah, it’s been going really well. I mean, we thankfully we sell out pretty much all the time. Um, we’re going to be doing a show in LA in October, we did do a show in LA last year. It just feels like there’s some new life to it. So I’m excited about that. Yeah. And then I’ve written for to some TV shows, I did worked on some stuff for Bravo and MTV. And so yeah, and I’m just trying to keep going.
John Hammontree: What was the pandemic, like for you, particularly dealing with the anxiety of these germs in the air?
Sophie Santos: I mean, it was okay. I mean, I, you know, I have OCD, so, my partner at the time and I were, like, constantly wiping down our groceries, and, you know, really just like, making sure that we were being extra careful. And like, we had like clean clothes, we had clothes that we went outside with, then we had our clothes that we, you know, sat on the couch with. And like just things that were probably a little bit more extreme, but you know, made us both feel safe. Fortunately, for me, I was in my last draft of the book, which was like the big draft, that was like the draft after I got all my notes back from my editor, and had to focus on that. And so I kind of had no reason to leave the house. I mean, besides catching COVID. But that was, that was my big project. And so I ended up doing that for most of the pandemic, and, and so it ended up being, it ended up being okay.
John Hammontree: I’m curious, you know, it sounds like your parents and your family were very supportive. You know, you, you have this one scene in your book where your dad, you know, asked you if you have a girlfriend and it was clear that he knew longer than you did, or at least seem to know longer than you did. So do you think that this pressure I guess, to mold into a certain identity, whether you have a scene where you’re at a church camp and you want to be the most saved or you know, be the typical sorority girl, was that something that the South was putting on you in some way? Was it an internal pressure? What was kind of driving that need to fit into these identities that weren’t necessarily yours?
Sophie Santos: I think me trying to fit in was just because I didn’t really have a choice but to kind of keep shape shifting. What’s that quote from True Blood? Like if you’re a shapeshifter, they don’t know you. It’s something like it’s something insane. I know I just misquoted it. So if you have any True Blood fans, please don’t come for me. Or come for me. That would be I would actually, that would be really fun. I think that’d be really fun. Because I misquoted it. Yeah, so it was really kind of like, you know, when you’re moving constantly, and you never have your feet on the ground, it’s a survival. You’re just trying to figure out what the next you’re just, you’re just trying to get through the day. And you’re just kind of glomming on to whatever is in your surroundings, and you’re just morphing into whatever that may be. And so I think that’s a big reason, or I know, it’s a big reason why I was, you know, even just as a kid, and going from school to school to then doing the sorority thing, you know, and then it wasn’t really until I was doing theater that I was like, Oh, I mean, at least part of that is there. And I don’t really do theater. Well, I don’t do theater anymore, but I do comedy. But a lot of that is, you know, comes from my theater background, which I still very much appreciate. So, yeah, it really was just me having to just shape shift for survival.
John Hammontree: I was not a military kid, my parents did have kind of a messy divorce. And we moved around a lot because of that, within Alabama, when I was a kid. And I, too, wound up drawn to theater, which I’m not in theater, obviously now, but it certainly was something that helped me figure out more of my identities early on. You are also Spanish and Filipino. And you briefly studied Arabic. Did you actually learn any Arabic? You know, is that part of your identity that you tried to figure out along the way?
Sophie Santos: Well, let’s just say that at one point, at one point, I knew, ‘Thanks be to God.’ And I think I still know it. I think it’s [speaks Arabic]. I think that’s what it was. And I only say that because I used to say it all the time, when I’d be in class and my teacher be like, Sophie, I know that you know this, but I need you to learn more words. So I know that I kind of botched that. But yeah, I studied it because I, at one point, that’s when I was like, I’m going to be like, work for the UN. You know, and these are just all things that like, I think there is a part of me, like if I wasn’t a comedian, if I wasn’t a writer, and all these things like yeah, 100% like that would be so fulfilling to me. But what I realized is like, Oh, I’d rather be writing characters who get to do that, or I’d rather be playing characters that get to do that versus actually being a part of the the UN. Yeah, and I’m Spanish and Filipino, which is obviously kind of a mindfuck because of the colonization, and all of that. And I also get like, a lot of people mistake me. I mean, it’s just this is old news, especially when people are like ethnically ambiguous, or when people especially when people, I feel like our mix, we’re always getting mistaken with our identities. And I don’t get really pissy about it. That’s just kind of like my thing. But it is very interesting to see like what people actually think I am.
John Hammontree: When you get to New York, you’ve had the chance to kind of find yourself and figure out, you know, who you want to be instead of the one you want to marry. I’m curious about how your relationship with the South has changed. Obviously, you know, you spent a lot of time in Kansas City. So, you know, you can kind of pick and choose the parts that you want to claim. But you know, do you feel connected to, to Arab, do you feel connected too… obviously, Roll Tide, you’re connected to the University of Alabama. But beyond that?
Sophie Santos: I totally feel connected to Alabama, and I totally feel connected to the South. I understand that there’s a lot of issues, but I sometimes I feel like I find myself getting a little defensive, especially around like, my other liberal friends. Because, you know, you really got to just be down there to really understand how this cycle kind of started, and why we’re at where we’re at. And I’m not condoning any of it, because it’s horrific. You know, when I have to read in the New York Times that they’re saying that you could go to jail, go to prison for abortions, for performing an abortion, for having an abortion performed, the blatant racism — which isn’t just in the South, it’s also with yuppie liberals in Brooklyn — but I do feel a very strong sense of connection to the South. And if anything, I feel like there’s like a part of me that wishes I could like change the narrative a little bit just because I can I understand a little bit more where these people come from and kind of how they’ve gone. How they’ve just never really had that olive branch. And how their, their minds have just been so worked. And it’s it’s sad to me because I’m like, This is not reality. You’re not living in reality. And I mean, obviously, I’m thinking of like extreme like, Trump supporters, Q Anon supporters, all of these things. But you know, my mom is from Mississippi, and she’s the best thing that’s ever, she’s the best. And she’s you know, she’s a liberal at one point when she was when Trump was president. Her twitter handle was POTUS is dangerous. She has more Twitter followers than me. She has 1000s of Twitter followers, which I mean, she just retweets. So again, like come on. Oh, well, now it’s now it’s Joe Biden is my president. And I’m sure there’s 10,000 of those. So, you know, and so growing up in the South, like, you know, she grew up in Moss Point. And that and my grandparents, and really kind of having that slow way of life. I went back to Mississippi specifically because my mom was finally getting rid of the house that had been my grandparents for 40 years because they both now passed away and she’s like, I just can’t keep up with it anymore. And she lives in Louisiana now. You know, I was just sitting on the porch and I was just swinging on the, you know, on the swing and looking at the cows and I you know, and that kind stuff made me. I really appreciate it. And I do feel like a New Yorker, I do feel like I’m this is where I need to be. But I wouldn’t be me without having those experiences, and Mississippi and Alabama, and I, you know, I am thankful for those experiences. And I am thankful that there’s a lot of people that did decide to stick around, that are changing the narrative, you know, even if it’s just incrementally.
John Hammontree: You write in at the beginning of the book that you hope that you know, somebody who is maybe going through the sorority process, now through the rush process now, somebody who’s already married with kids in Kansas finds this book and finds something of themselves in it. And and it’s also just a really fun book, and funny book to read. You talk about some serious stuff, but you do it in a very funny way. So what do you hope people get from this book.
Sophie Santos: I just want people to like, realize that sometimes it’s best not to fit in. Because it is about fitting in and knowing when it’s best not to, I think that’s the nutshell of it. And realizing that, it’s a journey and like, you know, you’re not supposed to, we don’t always figure things out in middle school. I don’t even know how you do, you don’t figure things out in high school, or even in your early 20s. Even now, even now, I’m still like, I just turned Well, I want to age myself, but I’m just turned, and in my return of Saturn, for all our astrology people. And you know, now I’m also like having to reset and figure things out. And I think it’s just like, that’s okay. And I just want whoever picks it up to just like, feel like they can be seen in like that sort of awkward, especially the awkward and cringy moments, which is why we’re so vulnerable, which is why I talked about, you know, some pretty, you know, deep and sometimes explicit things that I went through, because I have a feeling that a lot of people did as well. And I just want it to be something that just reaffirms that it’s okay to be on a journey, and you will be okay. And hopefully, and hopefully you laugh.
John Hammontree: I think everybody will laugh while reading it. And you did your own audio book. Check out the audio book. It is available on Amazon. It should be available in your local bookstore, and it’s available on Audible. And Sophie, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Sophie Santos: And thank you so much for having me. It’s so good to see you. It’s been so long. So best of luck.
John Hammontree: And that’s our show, folks. Thank you to Sophie Santos for taking the time to sit down with us this week. It was a lot of fun catching up with her. You can buy her book, the one you want to marry and other identities I’ve had on Amazon.com You can also hear her and the Audible original Series hit job along with Pete Davidson and Kiki Palmer. And if you’re in New York, you can catch the live performances of her comedy show the Lesbian Agenda.