русский
Українська

"I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian": Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

Sofia Sanchez from Ukraine became famous all over the world

15-year-old Sofia Sanchez is a model, actress (Switched at Birth, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), writer and activist, was born in Dnipro with Down syndrome and adopted by an American family. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the girl has been actively supporting Ukraine.

In an exclusive interview for OBOZ.UA, Sofia told us about her adjustment in a new country, how she coped with bullying, and why she wants to return to Ukraine and find her parents. She also frankly explained why she positions herself as a Ukrainian actress and admitted what her participation in the world-famous movie Barbie was really like for the first time.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- Sofia, let me start by saying that I was surprised by your story about your memories in an orphanage in Ukraine because you were very young. What impressed you so much that you still remember it?

- Actually, I don't remember much because I was only over a year old, but my parents shared with me all the videos and photos they had saved from those days. So I am familiar, so to speak, with my life in the orphanage in Ukraine.

- I suppose because of your early age, your adjustment to life in a new family and country was not difficult?

- Yes, I was just an infant when I joined my family in the United States, so it was relatively easy to adapt. I was happy to have three brothers, parents, and grandparents (smiles).

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- What advice would you give to other children who are coping with the same situation?

- Love your life, your parents, and just be happy, kind, and grateful.

- What do you admire most about your family and do you aspire to be like one of your relatives?

- I love my family. I love my mom and dad. My mom is my best friend, she helps me with everything and is my "big sister". She also helps me with my career and work, and is my partner in everything, so I want to be like her!

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- How did you get started in the film industry?

- When I was a little girl, I became a model, which helped me get several acting roles. My parents often took pictures of me, filmed me, and I can say that everything came very naturally. I like performing, getting into character. I'm not shy, I'm not afraid, and it really comes easy to me.

- Why do you position yourself as a Ukrainian actress?

- I was born in Ukraine, my mom was born in the US, and my dad was born in Mexico. We have a multinational family, you could say. My parents really liked Ukraine when they came to adopt me. I have a lot of Ukrainian books and dolls. And even the teacher's assistant at the school where I study is Ukrainian, she used to invite me to her house to cook Ukrainian dishes! When I was still in the 1st grade, I made a presentation about Ukraine, so I feel a certain connection...

- Do you speak at least a little Ukrainian? If not, do you plan to learn it?

- No, I don't speak Ukrainian, I just know a few words, but I would like to learn more in the future.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- In addition to acting in films, you are a model and activist, and you also write books. Do you have any free time with this lifestyle?

- I have a lot of free time (smiles). I'm in high school, and I also participate in the cheerleading team and the swimming team, where I have friends.

I like the fact that everything I do is an adventure and I get to travel, meet new people, eat new foods (my favorite thing!), and learn new cultures, languages, and customs. It may seem like I'm very busy, but I'm just as busy as any other teenager, balancing my free time to play, read and relax.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- Do you consider yourself a typical teenager who can spend hours on the phone, not help parents or respond sarcastically?

- At 15, I'm just like everyone else. I love my phone, but my mom limits my time on it. Sometimes I argue with my parents, and I can be punished for making the wrong choice. So, yes, I am a typical teenager. And I'm also a bit obsessed with boys! (laughs).

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- You have a great phrase that has become a kind of message on social media: "Being different is beautiful, we are all different and the same at the same time." Did you come up with it yourself?

- I think so! We read a lot of books and talk about it all the time at home and at school, so that's exactly how I feel!

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents
''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- Have there been situations in your life when you were treated disrespectfully because of your diagnosis? Did you have to go through bullying?

- Yes, I had situations when children treated me like a baby or stopped and stared at me. Usually I didn't pay attention to them, I was just kind to them. I remember being ignored and not being involved in anything... Sometimes girls tried to take advantage of my kindness.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- From your own experience, what advice would you give to those who find themselves in a similar situation?

- I would advise those who are being bullied to be brave, strong and believe in themselves.

- Tell us about your impressions of filming The Hunger Games and Barbie.

- Actually, I didn't act in the movie Barbie. I just walked the pink carpet at the Barbie premiere in Los Angeles dressed as the first Barbie with Down syndrome. It was the best night of my life. I can describe being a part of the Hunger Games filming as a fun experience and also one of the best times of my life.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- I read about your desire to find your biological parents and talk to them...

- We plan to return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so and hopefully find my biological parents and meet them. I'm interested in meeting them and finding out if I have any brothers and sisters. I hope they are not in danger and are doing well.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- What do you know about your homeland and what do you admire most about it?

- I only know what I've seen in photos, videos, and what I've read about in books when I tried to explore my country. I also really like Ukrainian food, especially borsch! I really want to visit Ukraine soon!

- Do you know anything about Ukrainian culture: books, movies, music?

- I don't know much, but I would like to learn more.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- If you were offered to come to Ukraine and star in a movie, would you accept the offer?

- Oh, yes, of course! It would be great.

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents
''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

- You have repeatedly supported Ukraine. Thank you for your stance! Now you have the opportunity to address Ukrainians not only from your Instagram page. What would you like to wish to your compatriots who have been fighting the brutal terrorist enemy, the Russian Federation, for more than 10 years now?

- I want to call on all Ukrainians to be brave, strong and courageous! I wish you peace and for the war to end as soon as possible! I wish the Ukrainian people to feel like they used to in their home again!

''I am Ukrainian, although I don't speak Ukrainian'': Sofia Sanchez on bullying because of the Down syndrome, the Barbie movie's secret and the search for birth parents

Only verified information is available on our Telegram channel OBOZ.UA and Viber. Do not fall for fakes!

Other News

You need to eat twice a week: the most useful types of fish are named

You need to eat twice a week: the most useful types of fish are named

These products are included in the diet of residents of those regions where most long-livers live
5 things you can easily clean with coffee grounds

5 things you can easily clean with coffee grounds

Coffee can be used as an effective cleaning agent and odor neutralizer