Sophie Beem may only be 16, but the native New Yorker has already experienced the ups and downs of showbiz. After stomaching serious rejection when she got cut from The X Factor as a 13-year-old in 2012, Beem experienced the ultimate payback a few years later when she was noticed by none other than Beyoncé herself and was signed to Bey’s label, Parkwood Entertainment.
This year, Beem is finding her stride in more ways than one, developing her career as a musician and continuing to hone the cool-girl look she began to explore at her all-girls Upper East Side school (“Our uniform is literally like the ones on Gossip Girl,” she says). The last six months alone have seen her release her self-titled debut EP featuring the single “I Got It” with Fetty Wap, perform on the VFiles NYFW runway, and tour with Charlie Puth — more than enough extracurricular activity to keep any high-schooler busy.
Wearing vintage Chanel ski pants and a necklace emblazoned with the words “City Kid” that she got as a gift from boss Beyoncé (“I never take it off!”), Beem stopped into the Billboard office to talk about all things style.
When did you start getting interested in fashion?
I think my mom inspired it. She’s always been stylish and she made me want to be too. When I grew into her shoes, that was the start — I borrow from her all the time. I’m wearing her shoes now!
Do you share clothes with your friends too?
Yeah. My friend Skye will just go into my closet and be like, “I’m taking this for a couple of months. You down?” And I’ll be like, “Yeah, whatever.”
What was it like to perform at the VFiles New York Fashion Week event?
I’ve never been to a runway show, so it was amazing to see and perform in one. And I got to perform in front of Kylie Jenner and Justine Skye, which was cool.
It was also cool because the line we wore was wearable tech — they had light-up stuff in the clothing. When I was dancing, I thought I was on fire because the little lights were heating me up, but it looked dope, so I was like, “I’m gonna do it anyway.”
Did growing up in in the city influence how you dress?
Definitely. I went to an all-girls school, and we all wore uniforms. So we always tried to accessorize our uniforms, and that was a big thing. Me and my friend would brighten up our style by buying really cool shoes. I’m obsessed with shoes.
Did you like having uniforms?
I liked how easy it was in the morning. But I also loved that my school wasn’t that strict — they allowed us to accessorize, so we would wear a tank top underneath and maybe unbutton a little bit, or wear cool socks and hoop earrings. They allowed us to put makeup on, which not all of my friends’ schools do.
What is your makeup routine like?
I go through a different foundation color each month, because I’m so bad at finding a match for my skin. I basically use a Beauty Blender and some foundation on my face. Sometimes I’ll put brow pencil in, sometimes I won’t. I just ran out of my blush, so right now I’m not wearing any.
But I do love makeup. I like to experiment. I really like colorful things, even I though don’t put color on my face a lot.
So what are your must-have products?
What about your hair — how do you take care of it?
Today I curled it, bobby-pinned the curls, then brushed it out. Then I put product in my hair to hold it. It takes a long time for me to do my hair because I’m pretty bad at it. It took me like two or three hours today. I mess up and burn myself, and then I stop. So normally I just wake up and take a shower and let it go natural.
You’ve been performing since you were young. Do you feel like that’s influenced how you think about style?
I generally like comfortable, sporty outfits — like vintage Levi’s jeans and a T-shirt. I’m very casual. But I like to have one item that pops and stands out.
When performing, you add another element because it has to be kind of over-the-top. It can’t just be really casual. And you can’t wear a dress if you’re dancing; you have to wear leggings or pants or a bodysuit, so there are restrictions too. But I love adding a cool jacket that has something like fur or graffiti on it that really pops.