The Greek mother of the young protagonist of “The Bold and The Beautiful” recounts life as a fairy tale that began in an assisted reproduction laboratory.
Sophia Paras is a six-year-old girl with millions of eyes on her. Not only because she is a child actor, but because she is a child who in her own unique way sends messages of positivity from one end of the planet to the other.
Her mother, Anastasia Paras, is a Greek who grew up in Chicago, IL, USA and is now living in Los Angeles and had her talented daughter at the age of 43 through IVF. She is the person we have chosen to tell us more about the fairy-tale story of a girl who is loved by a world audience so much. A story that began in an assisted reproduction laboratory…
Your 6-year-old daughter is participating as an actress in the series “The Bold and The Beautiful”…
Yes, and she loves it!
How did it all start?
Sophia’s desire to act has been strong in her since she was a baby. She would watch musicals before she could walk or talk. Then she would dance and sing along with them saying she wanted to “do this”. She watched me on stage during my work and insisted on being up there with me. She was a fearless toddler. She even grabbed the microphone once when she was two years old and spoke to a room of thousands. We were in Greece in 2019, and it was in the middle of the night. I was awake due to jet lag, so I started researching talent agencies in Los Angeles where we live that specialized in children. I sent some photos to a few agencies and within 48 hours we had one that wanted to sign with us. Her second audition was for a TV show called ‘Last Man Standing’ with Tim Allen. He is the voice behind Buzz Lightyear and many others. She booked that show when she was 4 years old.
I will always remember the first day of filming. We arrived at the studio at 8am. We went to her dressing room where she got ready. Then there was a knock on the door, “Sophia, we’re ready for you,” she followed them without even hesitating. She gave me a “mom, I’ve got this” look and off she went. She didn’t even look back. As I watched my FOUR-YEAR-old settle in on set…cameras all around, mics, total strangers and HER. I thought, “is she going to panic? Did my baby really want to do this”? I wondered for days before this and wondered as I stood there and watched. If she hated it or wasn’t happy, I wouldn’t make her continue. I waited for her to decide. As I stood looking into the distance, I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up. I know that sounds overly dramatic, but, OMG, my baby was still a baby!!
But everything was proving to me that at that moment her raw talent had transformed her into a professional. I sat and watched her in complete awe. She loved and enjoyed every moment. She delivered her lines, took directions and did it with confidence and grace! Everyone in the studio couldn’t believe she hadn’t done this before.
Her next big role was in ‘The Bold and The Beautiful’ where she currently plays the role of ‘Kelly Spencer’. The cast and crew are amazing. Through her participation in the series, Sophia learns skills that she will be able to use throughout her life. All while having fun. I will continue to help and facilitate her while she is having fun. I check in with her every day after filming and ask her if she’s still having fun and enjoying it and so far, the answer is yes.
Are you protecting your child from the pitfalls of overexposure? Is there anything that worries her about all this? You really believe she’s doing well?
If you knew Sophia, you would know that she is very strong. She doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do. And she loves acting, following her original talent. She doesn’t really understand the magnitude of what she’s doing, of course. With modern technology, kids watch videos on cell phones. She really has no idea that she is on a TV show that is watched by 500 million viewers worldwide per day. And she doesn’t need to know that either. Not at this point in time. She doesn’t even like watching herself on TV. She says that watching herself is boring, she likes to be on set where she has fun. She lives a very normal life as a kid. She just happens to have a really cool hobby.
The reels you shoot with your daughter, who is now six years old, receive millions of views. How did it all start? Was publicity the goal?
Sophia is already a child actress and loves the camera. She adored the camera as I said from a very young age. This all started as her own idea. I never imagined we would have so many followers. That was never my goal. When we started making the videos, about 6 months ago, we had less than 1000 followers. But I think that’s what attracted followers was the fact our main goal was to spread positivity and kindness, and that authentically comes through in our videos. There was a great response to it. People seem to have a huge thirst for this.
You mean that people of our time are thirsty for positivity and kindness?
Obviously, people want and need more positivity and kindness in the world. In one of the reels Sophia holds a pineapple and just encourages people to be proud of themselves and be sweet at their core. It was an idea by a follower. To my surprise, more than 45 million people have seen the pineapple reel…
We are honored that people like what we do. We will continue to use our influence to spread love, joy and positivity.
With your daughter you are therefore transmitting messages of positivity. Do you believe that positive thinking is a good attitude for life? Is it a way to deal with life’s trials?
I believe that life is the way you choose to see it… like a glass of water half full or half empty. We all have moments of frustration and that is normal. What we choose to do with those moments is what makes the difference. I personally like to recognize the difficult or dark moments and then immediately think about the things I am grateful for. Anyone can do this.
Do you think your daughter is psychologically a strong child? Have you raised her to be strong?
Sophia is an extraordinary little girl. She is a brave and fearless, outgoing child. As parents we want to provide the best foundations for our children. As a single mother raising Sophia, it is important for me that she is surrounded by love, encouragement, safety, security, and the freedom to express herself and be who she is. I do my best every day to be the example and lead by example. I work hard to provide the environment in which she can thrive.
Yes… being positive and kind is very nice indeed. But what do you do when the going gets tough? In bad and dark times?
Great question, because no one’s life is sunshine and roses all the time. And in life there are difficulties and misfortunes. And there are definitely bad moments. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others based on whether good or bad things happen to them. But, they say comparison is the thief of joy. However, we can hardly avoid the comparison. Knowing what counts matters. Constantly reminding ourselves of the things we have right now. Not the things we want to get, but the things we have. By showing gratitude for these things, we can face any difficulty.
However, your videos prove, among other things, a modern way of interaction between mother and child. Looks like you two are having fun together. It’s like that?
We really have so much fun. I use these moments not only as moments of connection and bonding, but also as moments of teaching. Before each shoot we talk about exactly what the message Sophia as a child is sending to the world, so she’s not only having fun, but also learning some important life lessons.
There are so many things parents can do with their kids and bond. Not just making reels, of course. But rather than everyone being isolated to a screen on their TV, tablet or mobile phone, it’s better to use the mobile phone to do something creative together.
You had Sophia at 43 by IVF. Tell us more about your journey until you hold her in your arms.
I did two rounds of IVF which produced a total of 6 “grade A” female embryos. I decided to do genetic testing on the 6 embryos because of my age. 5 of them had mutations that made them unable to survive. It was hard to hear this when I was told, but I’m thankful we did the test because 5 of them had zero chances of survival and it was better for me to know that before they were implanted.
So, five of the six embryos were unsuitable for embryo transfer?
Actually, we had 6 “grade A” embryos that were considered perfect for transfer. It wasn’t until we did the genetic testing that we learned that 5/6 had unsurvivable mutations. However, there was hope with the one. That one mighty embryo was Sophia, my little Spartan warrior! I am grateful every moment of every day that I was given the honor of being her mother.
In other words, Sophia is the 1 embryo that made it out of the remaining 5 that were not suitable. Do you think she is a special child?
I think my whole journey is a miracle. I remember on the day of the embryo transfer I wrapped myself in my grandmother’s blanket.
You mean your Greek grandmother? You wrapped yourself in the blanket of your Greek grandmother… Do you want to tell us more about her?
She is my father’s mother, Kleopatra. Kleopatra is my middle name. She was a strong Spartan woman. She was widowed at the age of 30 with three young children under the age of 10. She did farm work to take care of her children. She stayed in Greece and died when I was 13 years old. She knitted handmade blankets for each grandchild as wedding gifts.
So, the moment you wrapped yourself with the blanket in order to gain some positive vibes was long after her death?
Yes. This blanket means so much to me and comforts me in ways I can’t easily explain. It’s like it grounds me with my Greek heritage.
You said all 6 fetuses were girls? Would you like to have a boy too?
I’m beyond grateful for what I have.
Your father is a Spartan and over 80. He looks so prosperous in some of the reels you’ve shot with him. You also seem to have a very strong bond with him. What do you admire most about your father?
My father became 88 on December 12th. He’s my guy. He is my hero. His story confirms perseverance and strength for survival. He was 10 years old when he saw his father murdered in front of him during World War II. They all saw him die before their eyes, unable to help.
My father was the oldest child and became the protector of the house according to Greek tradition. He needed to provide for his family, so at 17, he boarded a ship for the United States, alone. His story is inspiring and encouraging. He went on to have a successful career and continued to fight despite the darkness of war, death and loss he experienced. He always persisted. He came out of it. He is the kindest and most beloved man in the world.
People can use their experiences however they want. They can label themselves as victims and use difficulties as excuses and become harder or sadder, or they can use them to fuel change and overcome adversity. Or they can use them as motivation. That’s what my father did. He would probably say he had no choice, but that’s because he’s humble.
What do you enjoy most when visiting Greece with your daughter?
We spend time with our family there. We enjoy the slower pace of village life. In the US everything is so rushed, it’s always “GO GO GO”. The moment I land in Greece, I feel at peace. This is where I feel most at home. Sophia loves the Greek culture, the people, the food. She truly enjoys life and all its adventures, but there is definitely a special connection to Greece and our roots here.
Being a Spartan has been a philosophy since ancient times. What have you incorporated into your lifestyle from Spartan and Greek culture?
I love Spartan history and philosophy. I identify as a Greek Spartan. I asked my father what he thought was most Spartan about me. He said, “your strength and independence”. The Spartan mother was the glue of Sparta. She inspired her men and boys to train and prepare to go and fight against anyone who would threaten their home. Sparta was an invincible community, a collective idea, it was a family that was respected, feared and could never be conquered. I am proud of my family, my heritage and I fight for my family, for our dreams. I think in life we should be tough, but also tender. This is what I feel represents me as a Spartan.
Greeks love their children passionately. And they have very strong family ties. This sometimes leads to problems. What do you think about this? Do you think a child has to grow up to finally fly on its own away from family expectations?
They sure do! I am grateful that my father was unconventional. There was no pressure from him to get his daughter married to… settle down. My father has always encouraged me to be a strong independent woman and I am so grateful for that. He never failed to love me and support me unconditionally in all my decisions. Some weren’t the best decisions, but I learned and matured through them. This is life.
What do you love most about life with your daughter?
The thing I love most is that I get to do this life WITH her. And I get to be present doing it. The life experiences, the milestones, the travel, ALL OF IT. It’s not just the special moments it’s all the moments that are special. I’m grateful that I have a career that allows me the freedom to work on my time and at the same time be close to Sophia. I get to make a difference in the lives of those I help and also be a stay-at-home mom with Sophia. I get to not only set a good example for her, but be that example to her. She gets to see that a mother can be active and successful as well as present and attentive. It’s truly the perfect balance for me.
What is it exactly that you do professionally that provides you with the income so that you can make ends meet as a “single mother”, given that you are going through a divorce?
I call my profession “Life Designer”. I help women all over the world, including Greece, design the life they want and dream of, on their terms, following simple and proven systems.
I help them earn the money they want and need all from their phones in small openings of time around the things they love most.
I believe we work to live rather than live to work. So many moms of every age want to be able to spend more time with their children, but also not lose their own identity, communicate with other adults, contribute financially to their families or take care of themselves. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to help other mothers do the same as me.
I have been able build a successful business helping thousands of mothers who want to be close to their children and not lose time from raising them. We design the life they want, promoting products that are healthy for them, their families and our planet. We work hard, but we all choose when to work, when it’s best, so we don’t miss the moments of life with our children.
Isn’t that how a mother would plan her life if she could? I did and it is wonderful. Now I help others do the same. I have attracted an amazing team of people around the world. I’m blessed to work with so many amazing women who want to create more for themselves and their families.
I wake up with gratitude every day that I am given the opportunities to add value to the lives of those around me.
There is also a girl power in Sophia’s videos. Do you really believe, hand on heart, that in this world a girl can do anything?
Back then in my father’s time in Greece… definitely not. It was a different time for women. However, my father always felt that women were more creative, that they gave birth to life and wisdom and he instilled that in me. It’s definitely harder in some other parts of the world, but I think it’s important for girls to have strong role models.
Raising our children is the greatest service we can ever render. Helping others plan their lives is another service that adds value to me personally, and Sophia helps me with that. My career is to help women everywhere (including Greece) design the life they want, and love, on their terms. This is an important example for Sophia to see as well. From a young age, I took her with me to my work events because I wanted her to see me serve other roles besides the role of mom. I know this boosted Sophia’s confidence.
What do you want to share with women trying to have a baby through IVF?
Treat yourself like you are the most important and precious person you’ve ever met. Be kind to yourself. Really and truly. The emotional toll during the IVF process is high because there is so much at stake… but try to relax. It was not so easy for me to say this, because I myself was not at all relaxed. But now I know that every woman that trying to have a baby following this process needs to be supportive of herself first and foremost. And have faith in the path and the journey. Learning to be kind to yourself, believing that it doesn’t matter what happens, you calm down. If you want the best result, you have to be willing to give yourself the best you can.
It was then that I started implementing healthier practices in my life, which I still practice now. My whole career was oriented from deciding to eat healthier, take the purest supplements available, use non-toxic cleansers, exercise more, limit exposure to negative sources, and seek out more positive music and reading material. Our best life is an inside-out job. Kindness and love begin within ourselves, and when we do, we can much more easily and authentically share it with our family, friends, neighbors, country, and humanity. We learn these through time and experience.
Everything that happens and everything we do teaches us something we need to learn. When we can see life through this lens, we can let go of expectations, appreciate whatever is in front of us. This is how Sophia and I stay really positive and share our real positive experiences. Nothing is perfect, but we can learn the perfect lessons from the difficult ones while still enjoying the sweeter moments in life.
Ιnterview by Flora Kassaveti – Go magazine
Photo Credit: Μilly Cooper Photography
Follow them on instagram@theanastasiaparas