Sophie Cullinane’s Valentines Interview

We sit down for a Valentines Date with Sophie Cullinane, Creative Director at Gravity Road…

Valentine’s Day can get a bit of a bad wrap sometimes; all the red glitter and tacky Valentine’s slogans can be a bit much… But love it or hate it, it is a great excuse to celebrate those around you and spread some extra joy. 

We took a gander through our little black book of contacts this Valentines Day and picked out some trend-setting creatives to interview. These creatives were chosen because they are advocates for amazing team work; Justin Poulter is a genius for brand collaborations and an official mentor on The Dots and Fahud Ahmed is a motion design legend and mentor extraordinaire. But first let’s talk to Sophie Cullinane…

Sophie Cullinane is a Creative Director at Gravity Road, a culturally-engaged advertising and content agency. While she now works with clients such as TikTok, Uber & Sainsbury’s, Sophie began her career on a more journalistic route and was previously features editor and writer at publications like Grazia, Stylist and Elle.

Many of the FreshMeet team have had the pleasure of working with Sophie as she crafted her niche at Gravity Road, from Writer to Creative to Creative Director. Sophie’s dedication and enthusiasm to her craft and her team casts an impressive legacy, and while she’s only become a Creative Director recently it’s a role that she’s adapted to naturally. 

FreshMeet: We’d love it if you could tell us a little bit about your journey into this industry to give us some context for this interview!

Sophie: I had an atypical journey into advertising, having spent the vast majority of my 20s in consumer publishing as features editor at The Debrief and freelancing at women’s mags. I was brought into Gravity Road when Sainsbury’s wanted an advertorial website – very trendy at the time. Luckily when they decided to go with more traditional advertising and social media editorial, Gravity Road saw something in me they wanted to nurture.

FreshMeet: So much of working as a creative is working in teams, bouncing thoughts off of one another to reach new ideas. Is there anyone in particular that you would love to collaborate with this year?

Sophie: Raine Allen Miller is my absolute creative crush at the moment, I love her world-building aesthetic and sense of humour. There is no better caster of characters.

FreshMeet: If you were only allowed to fill your home with artwork by one artist, which artist would you choose?

Sophie: Phwoar that’s a brutal question. My favourite artist is Francis Bacon but living with all that hanging meat…not so much. Picasso had so many moods it would fit my multiple personalities (Libra) and I love his line drawings so much. John Singer Sargent’s Moroccan series feels particularly appealing at the moment to help with my crippling wanderlust. Tracey Emin’s drawings. I’m visually fickle though, words are the thing I return to again and again and for me there is no greater writer than Dorris Lessing, she tore my world into pieces (in the best way possible).

FreshMeet: Mentors come in many shapes and sizes, from line-managers to distant inspirations. What do you think makes a good mentor?

Sophie: Empathy and a willingness to know when a brutal word needs to be delivered. I’ve learned as much from people who have given me sob-worthy feedback as I have from a well-timed cuddle (although I absolutely need both).

FreshMeet: Can you name a recent graduate, junior or fresh talent that you think will go far in the future?

Sophie: She’s been with Gravity Road a year, but Martha is a force to be reckoned with I can’t wait to see where she goes.

FreshMeet: People often joke about having a ‘work wife’, ‘work husband’ or ‘partner in crime’, which of your peers or colleagues is a truly supportive beacon? 

Sophie: I have an embarrassment of riches of work wives and husbands. It’s extraordinary. I couldn’t possibly delineate.


FreshMeet: Which emerging creative companies or studios do you expect to see big things from in the next few years?

Sophie: The Rig Out – watch this space.


FreshMeet: Are you still in love with what you do? And if so, how have you maintained a healthy relationship with your work?

Sophie: Absolutely and of course not. I’ve been lucky to have two covetable careers and I will say everything grinds when it becomes the thing that pays your bills. Do not be discouraged – it sure beats working for a living. 

FreshMeet: Have you ever burnt out, or fallen out of love with this industry? If so, what brought you back?

Sophie: God yes. You should take your life as seriously as your work. Funnily enough your work gets better when you do. 

FreshMeet: And lastly, what message would you give to any new-talent trying to enter the industry on how to approach their dream careers? 

Sophie: Your age and curiosity are an asset. Do not try and be too grown up or know too much –  you have something the grey haired, tired looking people on the senior desk resolutely could never know and that’s what young people think, feel and enjoy. All brands court the young. It’s your superpower. 


Thanks Sophie for taking part in this interview, we’re excited at your recent promotion to Creative Director at Gravity Road and we can’t wait to see what comes next! We’re sure your story will be very interesting for our young audience as they enter the creative industries themselves. 

If you enjoyed Sophie’s interview then you might enjoy our Valentines Day interview with Justin Poulter, a genius for brand collaborations and an official mentor on The Dots. Or perhaps Fahud Ahmed, motion design legend and mentor extraordinaire.