An Actress Who Uses Music to Inhabit Characters

In our new T Faces series, we profile up-and-comers from across the artistic spectrum. Introducing: Sophie Wilde.

Article by Victoria Pearson

T Faces_Sophie WildeThe actress Sophie Wilde, photographed by Holly Gibson.

Sophie Wilde was an unabashed drama kid. “I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I think it’s the earliest thing I can really remember,” she says. Buoyed by her theatre-loving grandparents, Wilde began acting classes at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney at age five. Then she enrolled at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts before making her way back to NIDA post-graduation, where she revelled in the group dynamic. “What’s interesting about acting is that it’s so grounded in community,” she says. “So much of it is based on playing — and playing against other actors. Like having a director or having people to facilitate a space in which your craft can come to life.” 

Breakout roles in the 2021 Stan series “Eden” and the BBC’s “You Don’t Know Me” commanded industry attention, and Wilde has been busy since; she’ll appear in five new screen projects this year, including the horror-thriller film “Talk to Me”. Wilde approaches each role in a different way. “Sometimes it can just be organic and instinctive, and sometimes it can be a deeper sense of preparation,” she says. The one constant is music: Wilde curates “character playlists”, a method she’s harnessed since drama school. “Music is an excellent way to access a character and to access emotion and inhabit worlds,” she says. 

Clothing, too, is a useful tool for deepening the character experience, both for the roles she plays and for herself. “I love fashion. I always have,” she says. “I think it’s such a beautiful form of self-expression. I go through so many style evolutions.” 

Many of Wilde’s professional idols are Hollywood stars (Audrey Hepburn, Viola Davis, Robert Pattinson), but when reflecting on the arts scene closer to home, she credits the emerging talent pool as a source of inspiration. “It’s beautiful to see a lot of people, especially young people, being highlighted at the forefront of the arts movement in Australia,” she says. “I would love to see more of that, to see more young people and more diversity.

“We have the capacity for some incredible storytelling in this country,” she continues, “and that excites me.”