Entrepreneur, thought leader, activist, fashion designer… is there no end to Sonya Lennon’s talents?
She’s the co-founder of LIFT, a social enterprise aimed at increasing the level of positive leadership in Ireland, and set up WorkEqual, which lobbies for gender equality in the workplace. She also completed a Masters in Business Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – and is a mum to 18-year-old twins.
How are your new year’s resolutions going so far?
I don’t tend to make them. I like carved up, small, incremental goals that can build into part of my lifestyle. To give you an example, I engaged with a personal trainer for a weekly online session about five years ago. That turned into three times a week, which then turned a snap decision to work out every day that I wasn’t with him. Now I have the motivation to do every day on my own. It’s baked into my day and I love that.
What puts a spring in your step in the mornings?
I’m a great sleeper, that helps. I recently renovated my home and have gorgeous little courtyard to look out on as I sip a coffee and select my workout from a 300-strong playlist (link on my Instagram feed), or what’s new from my favourites. Breathe and Flow, Dansique Fitness, Move with Nicole or Gayatri Yoga. I love intense sessions that stretch me – literally.
What keeps you awake at night?
I hate when there is unfinished business, words that need to be spoken with those who matter the most to me, that will have me tossing and turning. In terms of work, there are tough times and great times, they come and go, that’s the price you pay for being an entrepreneur. I’ve been through all the cries and it hasn’t killed me yet.
Much of your work is about uplifting other women. Who lifts you up?
I have amazing friend groups who offer challenge, fun, love and support (and living-room discos, and cocktails, and gigs, and sea swims). I find such joy and love with the family that created me and the one that I created. I am privileged to to have been brought up to consider respect and kindness as normal and they are hugely important to me.
You completed a major house renovation during the lockdown and are now well-nested. What is your favourite thing about your boudoir?
Our family lived out of the house for ten months thanks to the kindness of very good friends. Coming home, for all of us, was a feeling of being back where we belong. The twins have a great friend group locally and love the new house. I love our bedroom because its calm and private and safe. I love our huge bed, affectionately know as “the toaster” from when the twins were tiny, as in “hop into the toaster for a cuddle”. It’s a little bit more difficult to convince them now!
What books are on your nightstand?
Right now I’m loving Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and in parallel I’m reading The Changing Mind by neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin. I urge everyone to read it, it’s a no-nonsense scientific yet holistic guide to how to age well.
Lie-ons: purely aspirational or a frequent indulgence?
Oh, I’m prone to a good reading lie-on. And let’s not underestimate the charms of a good weekend nap.
Where and when was your last truly mellow moment?
Every time I jump in the sea, the cold water burn makes me feel like I’m buzzing. On a more indulgent note, we stayed at Cashel Palace Hotel some weeks ago and it was divinely mellow. We only left the building once for a rugby match and a glass of Guinness.
Imagine a much-anticipated Friday night in. Your Moon + Mellow PJs are on and you have the TV – and couch – entirely to yourself. What is your go-to feel-good film, snack and refreshment and why?
Ok, it’s The Graduate. I have a beautiful bottle of rich red wine and a packet of Cheese Puffs by my side. I love the emotional ride of that film, the sense of expectation from the characters, the promise and potential of young lives and the unfolding reality of the messiness of people.
Who would be your top three celebrity pyjama party guests?
Gary Shteyngart – the satirical author of Super Sad True Love Story and my recent favourite Our Country Friends. A brilliant writer and a great wit. I saw him during the summer at the Dalkey Book Fair and wanted to invite him then and there.
Josephine Baker – she was so much more than her extraordinary outfits and dance routines, she was a civil rights advocate, worked for the French Resistance in WWII, and was awarded France’s highest honours. Not bad for a slum kid who dropped out of school at 12.
Thirdly, Elsa Schiaparelli – jewellery designer, muse and the ultimate modernist disruptor. She might even bring Dali if he’s around…
Which are your favourite picks from the Moon + Mellow collection?
I may have mentioned that I’m a fan of throwing myself into the sea… It’s perhaps both surprising and not that I’m gravitating towards the jellyfish? I was lucky enough to be gifted a stunning phosphorescent diptych of jellyfish by [artist] Dorothy Cross and I adore them. Perhaps I just like taking risks.
Sonya's M+M Pyjama Picks
Follow Sonya on Instagram #sonyalennon