Meet Sophie Gray, the 21-year-old registered holistic nutritionist and personal trainer behind the newly launched lifestyle program, Gray's Nation, and popular online training programs, Way of Gray. We've been creeping her on Instagram for a while, so we were beyond excited to have her in the studio for a quick shoot and chat about her favourite snacks and what she thinks about sustainable fashion for the latest feature of our Local Portrait series!

Is this is your first Local Portrait interview? No? Feel free to scroll down and read Sophie's interview! Yes? Then keep reading!

Since 2015, we've been showcasing awesome individuals from all around Edmonton in hopes of sparking a city-wide, and eventually nation-wide, conversation surrounding the issues of sustainability and ethical malpractices within today's mainstream fashion industry. With fast fashion quickly suffocating the fashion industry, it is easy to forget that our shopping habits and choices do have an effect on both the environment and garment workers within the supply chain. So, at New Classics Studios, we're asking you to join the slow fashion movement and help us slow down the rate at which we consume disposable fashion. Start shopping local, sustainable, or secondhand. Start investing in quality and timeless garments. Start thinking quality over quantity.  Help us #WearTheChange.

New Classics Studios: Hey Sophie! Thanks so much for coming down. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sophie Gray: My name is Sophie Kara Gray, and I’m the proud mother of two fur babies. My parents are super Scottish so I say certain words with an accent. I grew up my entire life going back to Scotland as all of my family still lives there – which is really cool! My oldest sister is pregnant with her first, so I’m a soon to be auntie! I love chai lattes, cacao chocolate and Duchess cookies!

NCS: How did your personal fitness journey start and what inspired you to start Way of Gray?
SG: I started Way of Gray as an online modeling portfolio and it quickly turned into something completely different. Initially I started working out and restricting what I ate to reach certain measurements. Luckily I was steered in the direction of healthy living and turned my passions from modeling to educating women about the importance of loving themselves. I now exercise because I love myself, not because I’m trying to fit into a certain pair of jeans.


NCS: You emphasize self-love a lot on your Instagram account (which we can totally get behind). Why do you find it so important to do this, especially on an online platform?
SG: I think women are plagued by self hatred, and it’s so incredibly sad. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and not love what I see. I want women to know that it doesn’t have to be like that. I feel like Instagram has a lot of beautiful women sharing their journeys, but often that can leave others not knowing they’re equally as beautiful. I want to create a place where all women can feel worthy!

NCS: You recently launched Gray's Nation, which is a 12-week lifestyle program. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
SG: Gray’s Nation is a place where women can go to feel empowered through exercise and healthy living. It involves weekly workout classes plus online resources covering nutrition and self love. I think fitness can be intimidating, and Gray’s Nation is a place where women can go to get a killer workout and feel safe and accepted! 

NCS: I think this is a question a lot of people have for you as a personal trainer, but what are YOUR favourite exercise to do?
SG: I do all body weight exercises. I absolutely love doing core, and that’s why our Gray’s Nation works strongly focus on healthy and strong core development!

NCS: Do you have any favourite receipes for healthy snacking?
SG: Girlllll, I am always snacking. I love eating hummus with pretty much everything. I also love 3 frozen bananas, mixed with water, raw cacao powder and maple syrup – legit tastes like a frosty!

NCS: We're only human so we all have guilty pleasures! What are yours?
SG: Cookies, nachos and fries. I literally think my being consists of 50 percent of these goodies.

NCS: What would you recommend to someone who wants to get into shape but doesn't know where to start?
SG: Whenever I see shows with elders enduring sickness, I cry. I think it’s important as a generation to truly understand that our bodies are our responsibility – and if we want to live a happy and healthy life, we need to take care of it. I recommend truly understanding that, then going for a water drink more, walk, eat green things and exercise. The first class for Gray’s Nation is always free, so people can start by trying it out first, if they need to take that first step!

NCS: What's a day in the life like?
SG: For me, being self employed allows me to set my own schedule – so I always allow myself to sleep in because it makes me happy! I wake up around 8:30/9, go to the gym, then shower and start my day with a healthy breakfast! I spend most of my day on my phone or computer, answering emails and creating content! Then I spend most of my personal time with the love of my life and our two puppies!

NCS: What's the latest show you binge-watched on Netflix?
SG: I actually recently started House of Cards! Normally I like girly shows to turn my mind off, but I’m really loving how mentally stimulating and absorbing it is! Kevin Spacey is also a favourite actor of mine and he absolutely kills it!

NCS: As a lover of fashion, what are your go-to staples for everyday wear?
SG: I essentially wear 95% Aritzia, I can't help myself!

NCS: Favourite places to eat in Edmonton?
SG: I love love love Urban Diner – they have theeeee best fries! Then I love Under the High Wheel for their “Traditional Breakfast.” I also love Noorish when I’m wanting to feel like a health goddess!

NCS: Are you a cat or dog person?
SG: I think from my other answers, you can probably tell! I love puppies! I'm also allergic to cats, so I'm sure that impacts my choice.

NCS: Where can we find you on Instagram?
SG: My health and wellness page can be found by searching @wayofgray. Then I have a personal/fashion/travel page through @graysday! Of course, @graysnation also has all of the happenings for our program!

NCS: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "Sustainable Fashion"?
SG: Healthy living is incredibly important to me, and I think sustainable fashion is an extension of that!

NCS: How are you "sustainable" in your day-to-day life?
SG: I love to support local companies by shopping at Farmers Markets! I do purchase organic, but opt for local whenever I’m able! I actually receive Spud Box (use the code wayofgray for an awesome discount!) and what they’re doing really helps with the sustainable movement!

NCS: And lastly, how do you play to #WearTheChange?
SG: I definitely want to choose to shop more locally and connect with my community through the clothes I’m wearing! I also already air dry [my clothing], so I love knowing I’m doing something right!