I met Sonya Chang in 1987, shortly after I moved to New York from Vancouver. I had just gotten the job as the assistant to Paul Simon's Tour Manager Danny Harrison (RIP). She was Paul's personal assistant, also Korean, and 12 years my senior. Sonya had exquisite taste and style. She introduced me to so much:
- ALAIA, who remains my favorite designer
- DITYPQUE tubereuse candles and I wear their perfume to this day
- PRATESI Egyptian cotton bedding
- ORIBE, who gave me the greatest haircut I've ever had
- MARIO BADESCU facials and skincare
- ARMANI personal shopper Hamilton South who would present Paul with the finest cashmere crewnecks
- INDOCHINE, JERRY'S AMSTERDAM'S, THE BRENTWOOD COUNTRY MARKET
- LISA JENKS jewelry
But the more important lessons she taught me were about the spirit, the heart, and the mind. I quote her constantly.
- She had such a way with words. I remember she once used the word "remarkable" effortlessly and since that moment I knew I wanted to be as articulate as her
- she told me to cherish my anonymity and I maintain that belief.
- I once called her panicked with some work issue and she calmly asked me "Is someone going to die, Soph?" And I said "No." "Then it's going to be okay.
- I once called her panicked about money and she said "Don't ever do something for fear of not having money, Soph. Money will always come to you."
- I once called her and told her of a big disagreement with a friend and she said "Go to the love, Soph, go to the love."
- She taught me to be present and in the moment.
- She introduced me to Buddhist monks whose moving presence foreshadowed my ex.
- She took me to my first NA meeting and taught me the language of addiction.
- She told me that even the most intelligent sophisticated man becomes a dopey child in the presence of beautiful women, especially models.
There's so much more, but this is what I want to say today, in her memory. Thank you, Sonya, for your brilliance, humor, magnanimity, and mentorship. I love you still.