words | Madison Albee
When most people think of powerful sisters they think of Kendall and Kylie, or Mary Kate and Ashley, but they probably have never met Bella and Sofia Wylie. At the ages of fourteen and twelve, the drive and purpose they have is overwhelming.
Sofia has been filming a new show called Andi Mack, which airs on the Disney Channel sometime in 2017. “So far it’s been so surreal because my dream has always been to be on Disney and it’s crazy to think I've actually been living the dream,” Sofia told us.
Dancing since she was 5-years-old, Sofia realized her passion for dance was so intense that she wanted to pursue and expand her abilities with more rigorous training when she turned nine. She started frequently traveling to LA, a city known for producing incredible talent, and it only took the budding actress five private acting lessons before she felt ready for her Andie Mack audition.
Sofia was cast for a part on the show, and a new Disney star was born. At twelve-years-old, she has been juggling work, school, and a social life for the past month and a half. Of course having a fun cast around her same age hasn’t hurt. “They always make me laugh and keep me busy, so I’m not always thinking about how much I miss my mom and my sister and my dog,” Sofia said.
Meanwhile, her older sister Bella has been home, working towards her goal of becoming a college athlete. “I started swimming seven years ago, competitively, so I have been swimming for a very long time, and ever since the very beginning, I knew that it was something that I loved,” Bella said.
Bella has swim practice eight times per week, which is more than there are days in a week (yikes). “It's a very rigorous program, but a lot of college athletes have come out of it.”
Bella has also recently been a contestant, and winner, on the Food Network's Chopped Junior. Her dad signed her up without telling her, but it worked, and she got cast. The process took months and included several interviews. But after flying to New York, filming for two days and having a fight with the ice cream machine, Bella managed to win.
While living apart has been difficult, Bella and Sofia both understand that pursuing each of their dreams means they will have to sacrifice. "I know some siblings that if one succeeds, then they get a little jealous, and Bella is not like that at all. She always supports me, always helps me through things…” Sofia said of her sister Bella.
Our dreams lie within our passions. “A lot of kids have so much potential and they could do so much, but they just don’t have the support that I have,” Sofia said. It is so important to find a role model or someone that you can look up to that will uplift you and help you achieve your dreams and goals.
Bella relates to all of us when she describes how social media can give her FOMO (fear of missing out). “I have social media myself, and I find that I am constantly checking it and sometimes I can just be so caught up in it, but then other times I think, ‘Why do I feel the need to keep checking this?’ And when I really think about it, it’s because you see what everyone else is doing you don’t want to be left out, you always want to see what is going on around you,” Bella said. “I think social media can be great; it can get you opportunities that you would never have imagined because you are talking to people across the country. I also think there’s a lot of fakeness that goes on in social media.”
Everyone has a fear of failure, including Sofia and Bella. Even with all they have accomplished, sometimes Bella wonders what if it’s not enough? “Sometimes I doubt that what I am doing is enough. But I think that I have to just realize that I am doing as much as I can and just appreciate my family and how much they’ve been able to help me do what I do,” Bella told us.
Between her dancing and acting, Sofia has put in the work to achieve her dream of scoring a part on Andi Mack. If you do not put in the work, you won’t see results. Sometimes when you’re putting in the work you might fail, a door might close, or that opportunity might not work out. “It’s been a long journey and when I said that you’re going to fail more than you succeed it’s very true. It is really hard to accept failure. And you always want to get 100% on anything, so when you don’t, it's hard. You’ve always got to remember someday you will have your big moment,” Sofia said.
For someone that is trying to make a brand for herself, Sofia understands the positive aspects social media can have, but she is also aware of how detrimental it can be to some people. “I believe social media is a great way to promote yourself. It can be great in a lot of ways, but also it can be bad for people,” Sofia said.
“Thankfully I try not to compare myself with people at all because whenever I do, I end up trying to shut off my phone because I just start feeling bad about myself. And a lot of times it's unrealistic things that people compare themselves to because people paint the perfect pictures on social media that might not be real.”
Sofia and Bella Wiley are two incredibly bright young women with bubbly personalities. The two of them, with their positive and inspiring attitudes, left the Luca team motivated to keep pursuing our dreams.
In five years Bella Wylie hopes to have a full-ride scholarship as a student-athlete of Stanford University, where she would pursue her ultimate goal of becoming a neurosurgeon. “I would also love to keep cooking, maybe do some college catering if they had that!” she said.
And as for Sofia, “It depends on the circumstances,” she said. “I might want to stay where I am right now with Disney. All I know is I want to keep acting, doing what I love and hopefully make a difference in the world.”
photographer: Sylvia Hardt
makeup: Corinna Cooke
hair: Lisa Marie Mode
stylist: Jennifer O’Bannon
assistant: Cece Guthrie