Sophia Hyacinthe is a hustler. While you can usually find her behind the turntables after dark as DJ Soda Pop, the Bronx-born artist got her start styling the city's most powerful women with her Immaculate Wardrobe styling business. Now, with a seemingly endless array of colorful wigs, she's become the Museum of Sex's resident DJ for their Thursday night RuPaul's Drag Raceviewing party spinning an eclectic mix of beats long after the queens have sashayed away.
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It's all a day (and night) in the life of the sought-after DJ. As she puts the final touches on her set for Wednesday's anniversary party for the lesbian dating app HER, which she coincidentally used to find her girlfriend, we caught up with her to talk style, the grind, and the desperate need for more lesbian representation in New York nightlife. [iframe https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/345591097&color=%23d500fc&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true height=166 width=100%]
OUT:You're a weekly DJ at the Museum of Sex. How'd you get into DJing?
DJ Soda Pop: I was the youngest girl in my family and had three older brothers and grew up listening to Reasonable Doubt, 2Pac, and these other artists. I grew up in a hip-hop household, essentially. Everything for me revolved around music and fashion. I went to school on Christopher Street and would walk from the 6 train to the shuttle, so it was a bit of a stretch. I would piece together this outfit in my head and then I'd have a playlist of songs I was feeling at the moment and I would walk to it -- it was my own runway.
Music has always been the score for my life. I approach DJing in the same way I approach styling. I've always known that I wanted to DJ, but for some reason, I limited myself. I thought to be successful I had to choose one or the other. It wasn't until three years ago that I was like, 'You know what, I can actually pursue both because I'm a dynamic person. I can be more than one thing. I am more that one person.' I created DJ Soda Pop as my alter-ego. It's been so fun to escape and be extremely creative with that. I feel like being a DJ actually made me a better stylist because it opened up my mind to new things.
Spinning at The Museum of Sex, I wear a different wig every Thursday and I get to be so many different people. They just get it. The fashion -- the way these people dress, they are so fierce. I'm inspired by the outfits that they wear and it inspires me to be more creative and experimental with my sound.
Yes, girl! Did you see those outfits on RuPaul's Drag Race last night?
Oh my god, they were amazing! Where I was spinning before, Aquaria would come and do shows. We're like her home team. She killed it in that red latex. She bodied it.
I heard you met your girlfriend on Her.
I did! I'm so in love! It's crazy how things worked out, I met her on Her, and then I found out I would be spinning their anniversary party on April 4. It's almost serendipitous.
How do you think online dating has changed how women meet other women, if at all?
I'm going to be honest. I don't feel like us women get to have as much fun as men do. There aren't a lot of lesbian places. I want to spin cool lesbian events. I'm hoping to grow them.
That's amazing! Yeah, queer men have much greater visibility than us.
Seriously! They party until 4 and Henrietta, no shade, but I went there at 12 or 1 or something, and it was closed. What the fuck? There are so many of us. We need to be able to party and do us. I want to start more lesbian events.
Photography: Sebastian Melendez
The music and nightlife scene in New York is super queer. Tell me a bit more about the family you've found in this scene and what it's like to collaborate with the queens who also work your Drag Race viewing parties?
They're so sweet and so amazing. The whole situation happened when I DJed at Acme and met Justin there, who's the creative events director at The Museum of Sex. We spoke briefly, but then we met at another club, Casablanca, and I walked over to him and said, 'I see you're doing all these things over at The Museum of Sex, I just want to have this weird sex jungle themed party,' and he was like, 'I'm with it. Let's do it.'
He reached out to me via Instagram and I spun at a party that Saturday. Afterward, he was like, 'Hey, we're doing a new series, would you be down?' What's really cool is that I'm spinning at the Museum of Sex and it really does make me hone in and be as versatile as possible. Aside from doing queer parties, I also do events that are more fashion-oriented Top 40s stuff, like Rag and Bone, or I do basement trap hood parties. At the Museum of Sex, I can blend all that together though. They really encourage me to do that and be my most dynamic and diverse self.
Does the party live up to your expectations?
Oh my God, it far exceeds them. I'm curating sounds, but we're vibing off of each other. I get jitters before each gig, but afterward, I feel so fulfilled and happy. It's so much fun and it really is a community.
You're also a stylist. How'd that start?
Styling is something that I've always loved ever since I was a little girl -- before I knew I had any other talents. It's funny, when I was younger, I used to sleep with cutouts of Vogue spreads under my pillowcase so that in my dreams, I could wear the outfits in the issue. It was truly an obsession. (Laughs) I didn't know that there was a career for styling until... I remember this so clearly. I grew up in The Bronx and was at the newsstand by Parkchester and opened Vibe Magazine. I saw this article on June Ambrose and it called her a "Style Architect." Here was someone that was doing what I loved and what I wanted to do.
Fast forward years down the line and I got to intern with her. I learned so much from that experience. I moved on to pursue my career as a wardrobe consultant. It was working in retail that I met so many women and discovered that there was a true need for wardrobe consultants for female professionals. I met these powerful women and, while they are killing it at work, they would have these career coaches that were saying they weren't dressing for the position that they had or the position that they wanted to have. That's where I stepped in and developed my niche market working with female professionals.
Yeah, it's so much fun. I'm working with bad bitches, and I'm helping them, but they're also empowering me. It's a win-win.[iframe https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/339532953&color=%23d500fc&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true height=166 width=100%]
You've been on your grind a very long time styling and now you're working as DJ Soda Pop. What advice do you have for people trying to hustle?
I would say it's important to be clear on what it is that you want to do. That will set your foundation. I think it's so important to surround yourself with people and activities that inspire you and help you get to where you want to be. When you do that, it becomes your lifestyle, and you become an expert much faster. You have to love what you do and do not wait for an opportunity to happen -- create an opportunity for yourself. I wouldn't have thought that I'd have this residency at The Museum of Sex, but I went out there and talked to whoever I had to speak to. I didn't have any contacts in the industry, but I went out there and made my presence known and introduced myself to people. I took gigs.
She did that!