Sophia Wilson Tumblers

Exposure: Sophia Wilson

From her beginnings as a lonely teen to appearing on reality TV and being celebrated by Forbes, the New York-based photographer is carving her own path through the industry

Sophia Wilson – the 23-year-old photographer who recently made the coverted Forbes 30 under 30 list amongst powerhouses like Kendall Jenner, Jared Ellner and Jenna Ortega – has a story that is the stuff of New York lore.

Wilson shot her first campaign at age 13, interned at Paper Magazine while finishing middle school, and has since been commissioned by everyone from Vogue and the New York Times to Meta and Coca-Cola. Her story sounds like a fantasy, but you would be wrong to think she’s a nepo baby. A true New Yorker, she doesn’t come from a creative family, and didn’t have a head start in the industry. Instead, her impressive career is born out of a potent combination of self-belief, taking risks and loneliness.

“I went to a predominantly white school, struggled in class, and nobody wanted to be my friend,” Wilson tells me about her early education. “The lack of community meant I had a lot of time on my hands, so I put all that energy into art. First drawing and painting, then photography.” Like many early teens, Wilson escaped her struggles by hoarding fashion magazines and retreating into an editorial fantasy.

Sophia Wilson
Top: Tumblers; Above: Parade