I got a text message from a French friend in Melbourne saying “you have to watch the TV series “Hôtel de la plage” on France 2, French TV channel, it’s the type of French series you like … you are going to love it”. So, here I am connected on my computer, in couch mode, with a glass of red wine and relaxed, ready to devour this series. Indeed I adore it. I find all the characters touching and they all make me laugh in their own way but I am especially moved by Isabelle’s character played by Sophie-Charlotte Husson.
Through my articles and my workshops, I often speak about style and I always highlight the importance of firstly revealing femininity which does not hide behind a lipstick or high heels but rather is found in an attitude, in the natural expression of whom a woman is. And here is the perfect exemple… Sophie Charlotte Husson
Bonjour Sophie-Charlotte, may I call you Socha because I believe that is what everybody calls you. I was dying to interview you because when I saw you on the screen, I said to myself “this actress is so French”, I was captivated by your elegance, your femininity and your natural grace and I wished to speak with you about femininity. A big merci for accepting this interview.
Merci beaucoup Caroline. I adopted the nickname Socha a little over a year ago for my work.
I have a mini album of 6 songs and I had opened a Socha page for the music. I discussed this with my agent and given that my approach is to be open to everything and to combine my work, we decided that I should be called Socha so that nothing was separate. Now we see Socha listed in the film credits and it’s still funny for me to see my name like that. It is a little bit audacious but I recognise myself quite well in Socha.
How did you become an actress? What inspired you?
It was Eddy Mitchell’s “la dernière séance” (“The Last Sitting was a French television program mainly devoted to the classics of American cinema and presented mainly by the singer Eddy Mitchell. Co-produced and directed by Gérard Jourd Aujourd’hui , with Patrick Brion as editor, it draws its title from the eponymous song of Eddy Mitchell 1, published on his album La Dernier Séance. The first broadcast took place on 19 January 1982 on FR3 (which will eventually become France 3). The channel decided to withdraw the program from its grid after a last broadcast on 28 December 1998 – source Wikipedia) when I was a child. I always watched the first movie and I got up in the evening to go to see the second black and white movie. I was then very young. It is all these old American movies with Katherine Hepburn who is the American actress of her time that fascinate me most. Her movies make me dream.
To be an actress was obvious for me, there wasn’t one day when I realised that’s what I wanted to do, it was already there, in me.
Is there a director that you particularly like?
Jane Campion who is a New Zealand director. She was the first woman to receive the first prize as woman director at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986.
She directed “The Piano” and I studied her at the Sorbonne University 7 years ago when I went back to study. I think that we can feel New Zealand through her movies.
What is your favourite role?
Virginia Virague, in the series “Tank” that we just filmed for Canal+, and I also almost came in Australia for the second season but I left for South Korea. It is one of the strongest characters that I have played, created by Samuel Bodin who had won a director’s prize at the Festival of La Rochelle.
My character is surprising. She is surrounded only by men, she is a woman in love who was hurt and who is going to pursue a gangster for years. She behaves like a man, like a “virago”. It is the mixture of male strengths that is sensitive.
Did you love this role because you could play with a form of manliness?
Well yes I have a man in me. I was a tomboy as a child. Moreover I wrote a song which is called “Tom Boy”. I felt very comfortable in a boy’s world. I never understood the idea of playing with a doll.
It keeps being a search from me. I grew up by not knowing that the girls had less freedom than the men. I moved forward in life as if I was a human being and not a man or a woman, not identifying myself with a gender.
We have started an interesting discussion on the topic of men and women …
I noticed that men have an easier way telling others who they are, without adorning who they are. While we women tend to protect who we are somewhat.
I think that for a woman there is something like fear. This fear is a remainder of the past because we were for a long time like slaves and this fear had to be passed on from generation to generation. This is why I was lucky enough to not become aware of all this very young otherwise maybe that I would never have come to Paris alone, I would never have been an actress, coming from a family which had no connection to the world of art.
The fear of losing, the fear of the male strength, the fear of being killed … I think that we women are still behind. These remainders of the fear still exist.
Photo source: Rudy Waks
Do you think that the woman has a privileged position in France?
Yes you are spot on, because I believe that France is the country where the woman has the most freedom, where the woman is the most supported when she has children. In other countries such as England or Germany, women have lost many freedoms.
Finally we are soon going to realise that to separate men and women makes no sense. It’s like separating the left and right in politics. We are just huma beings.
Emma Watson made an extraordinary speech at the UN on this matter. She says quite rightly that all women will be freed and so the male part is going to be freed. Because if a role is imposed on us as women, we also impose a role on men in their manliness. It is very taboo. We do not speak about all the suffering of the men who are obliged to hide this imposed role of manliness, virility, domination, authority which is distorted in a fundamental way. Today it is much more accepted that a woman is a business manager and that a man wants to take care of the house and his children however, it does not mean that he is half a man because he chooses to do so.
Virginia Despentes also speaks about it in her book “King Kong Théorie”.
It is like this author Anais Nin who is extremely feminine and speaks a lot about femininity, she says “I made of my life a work of art” and that’s femininity.
Do you consider yourself feminist?
I changed my point of view a lot when I read the book “King Kong Théorie” by Virginia Despentes and when I heard Emma Watson. As a young woman I was reticent with regard to the women’s movement as I had the feeling that we were demeaning the men. (read my article “Is the French woman feminist?”)
It is a question that doesn’t sit well with me. It is as if you asked me “are you in favour of women’s freedom, rights, equality?”
I think that I am feminist but it seems obvious to me. However I am unable to bring it all together. Yes, I am feminist but I imagine as many men also are. I am a humanist, I am for the men too. Actually, feminism is often built against men and there are also women who have participated in the slavery of women and this is why I am for the freedom of women AND men.
What is femininity for you?
Ah oui. Difficult. What is femininity? (silence). I am going to think about it. I do not know, actually I have no idea. This story about femininity is something mysterious. I can’t figure out what that is.
The French have this je ne sais quoi? What do you think about it?
We do what we want without the thinking about provoking and if we provoke it is not in a deliberate way. This “je ne sais quoi” is that French women will follow their desires but in a natural way that can sometimes appear as a provocation see from the outside, people will say to themselves “what a strength, what courage” while this woman is not conscious of it, she is just following her desires because she had the chance to grow up in a country where she always knew freedom, where she wasn’t restricted in her right to be herself. Maybe this is also femininity.
It’s something I don’t realise. But after the conversation that we had, I think that this femininity leaves a profound sentiment of freedom which is not conscious, it is just there. This elegance, the charm that we see in some women comes from this natural feeling, we do not even wonder whether we are free or not.
Perhaps we are losing this femininity when we are in the fight. But there is no fight when there is something obvious.
This “je ne sais quoi” is that French women will follow their desires but in a natural way that can sometimes appear as a provocation see from the outside, people will say to themselves “what a strength, what courage” while this woman is not conscious of it, she is just following her desires because she had the chance to grow up in a country where she always knew freedom, where she wasn’t restricted in her right to be herself. Maybe this is also femininity.
Photo source: Nicolas Guérin
When did you release this femininity and in which way it changed your life?
I think that it happened naturally, just before my 40’s when I became aware of limits that I put myself toward others, there was something which released itself. For example with my album of songs. It is rock and pop that gave me an extraordinary freedom. Young actresses told me “it is brilliant you have started making rock in your forties “.
How is music is important for you? How do you get your inspiration?
Music brings a freedom that I believe the other arts do not bring. I have two songs in English and four in French. My songs really speak about me. Music is something that resonates in a completely different way.
I gave myself the freedom to write more intimate things.
I always sang. In my family we sang all the time, at family meals, while doing the dishes, or sweeping, singing is natural. I also have an older sister, Marie-Clotilde Baude who is a soprano.
Do you have other projects?
At the moment I am working on a musical show with old songs from the 30s. A funny show. It has been a long time since I have performed comedy so am I really looking forward to doing this show.
Otherwise, I’m still working on my album.
And then I start a production company called Red Moon, I work closely with the very generous Lena Coen and Dan Coen, cousins of the brothers Coen who work with big artists such as actors, dancers, singers, composers, scriptwriters, directors… They are Analysts and Authors who bring me to work with more depth and concrete on each of my projects as actress, author, singer and producer. Thanks to them I become much more aware of what I want to express ; the keys of the work which they teach me are priceless with their knowledge of the work of the artist and the artistic environment. I wish to all the artists to be accompanied like that.
What is the role which you would like to play?
I always think of Katherine Hepburn in her movies, and how beautiful Scarlett was played by Vivien Leigh in “Gone with the wind”. She had a superficial femininity but she made it her strength.
A project in Australia?
I would like to perform at the theatre in Sydney. With my other sister in Sydney, Anne-Elisabeth Fauveau, she is looking out for opportunities for me.
This interview was a rich conversation for me as a woman to be able to chat with a sensitive, feminine and intelligent woman. this type of conversation that you would love to continue for hours. Merci encore Socha, Sophie-Charlotte Husson.
If you want to learn more about this actress and singer:
- Visit her website: http://socharedmoon.esy.es/
- Discover her short movie: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7nlu2
Merci NHM Translation for the correction.
Photo source: Emma Heidsieck