Moving to NYC with Sophie Brubaker

In the summer of 2021, Sophie Brubaker left sunny California for the hustle and bustle of New York City with two of her best friends. After graduating from UC Davis and landing an internship with Off the Lane, Sophie now serves as our Community Coordinator! Her extroverted personality has been so helpful in organizing programming and brainstorming ideas to keep our OTL community active.

One of the main goals of our Mentorship Program is to help artists who are on track to move to NYC. Looking back on the past seven months, we thought we’d reach out to Sophie to ask her about her coast-to-coast transition as she pursues a career in the arts and entertainment industry.

What was the hardest part about moving to NYC?

“The hardest part of moving to NYC was not knowing HOW MANY supplies I needed to build a whole home.

I had never moved to a completely empty space and started fresh from two suitcases before. I wish I had made a list of every silly little tool you need for a kitchen. I lived off of a fork, spoon, and small set of plates for weeks.

Oh, also, sleeping on the wood floor with two pillows and a single blanket over me. Building a home is a FEAT, friends. I was so optimistic, and also naive.” 

Sophie and her roommate Stephanie riding through the subway after acquiring a vacuum for their apartment.

What or who helped get you through your move?

“First, my college mentor, Mindy Cooper, who inspired this whole move.

Second, my parents. They were wonderful little angels on my shoulders reminding me to buy things like shampoo and a mattress, instead of just wandering the city all day and coming home to my hardwood floor pillow bed. They balanced my heart of exploration with the practical elements of moving across the country. And they made all of the chores that come with establishing a new life in NYC, fun!

Also, Off The Lane. Jill and Kristal welcomed me with open arms and an air conditioned resting space in the NYC August heat. They gave me an automatic NYC arts family, and they also gave me immediate opportunities to start my arts journey in the city.”

Sophie and her mom enjoying a loaded snack in NYC!

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you since you got here?

“TOO MANY CRAZY EXPERIENCES TO CHOOSE FROM. Wild and wonderful is life in this city all the time.

My parents and I went to see a musical during our first few days in the city. A week later, my first ever gig was a commercial with one of the actors I had just seen in that musical.

We kept running into each other throughout the city (once when I was performing the balancing act of transporting new dining room chairs from Hell’s Kitchen to Harlem), and eventually we totally kissed. Cue the “awww” sitcom track.”

The Off The Lane Team at the 2021 Empower Artists Gala.

What’s your favorite thing about living here?

“Easy. My favorite part of living here is the endless opportunities we all have to walk in each other’s shoes for just a second.

Whether that be supporting your friends’ art, trying a new restaurant, making friends with your neighborhood fruit stand person, gathering your own group of folks to create together, hosting dinner parties, or really any communal endeavor you can think of.

This city has a concentration of unique stories like nowhere else.

I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life listening and learning and sharing and creating with the people who have been brought to this place from anywhere and everywhere. It’s the best.” 

Sophie with her roommate Talia.

What advice would you give to someone moving to NYC for the first time? 

“Find your people as fast as you can. If you moved to this city, then you know at least a little of what you love to do.

Find the people that love to do the same things, and create together. Projects will only happen if you believe that you can make them happen.

Seize ownership of your art. Deep dive into a community.

And try your best to love people along the way. No matter how sweaty and sticky and tired you are.”

An eager Sophie in her first NYC apartment.