Couch Potato No More

Sophia Lazuli found skating as an adult, and now she has taken to social media to share her journey and inspire others. 

By Troy Schwindt

 A self-proclaimed “professional couch potato,” Sophia Lazuli began her skating journey one day while traveling down the road listening to music.

The 24-year-old at the time, who was living in Atlanta, had never been interested in skating at all. As a kid, she went to the rink and ended up hanging on to the wall most of the time

“I never knew much about the sport, never had been an athlete,” the New York native admitted. 

That all changed one day at the end of August 2021.

I’m one of those people that anytime I listen to music, I imagine a music video in my head,” Lazuli said. “The day before I started skating, I was in the car with my friend, and I was listening to music. I kept imagining myself figure skating for some reason in these music videos. I told my friend I have a confession, ‘I keep imagining myself figure skating, should I start or something?’ — as a joke, just to make conversation, and talk about the little fantasy that I was having.”

Her friend, Reyna Castillo, didn’t hesitate in her response: “Let’s go to the rink right now.”

Lazuli, however, pumped the brakes for a moment and went home to do some research on YouTube. She found some beginner clips that showed how to safely fall and get up and how to do swizzles. She also was able to quell any self-doubt that she had regarding being too old to start skating and not having the stereotypical body type.

“All of those stigmas that revolve around skating, I had those same exact thoughts like everyone else,” she said.

The following day, Lazuli went skating and practiced some of the things she saw on the videos. She glided freely around the rink, smiling the whole time.

“I had the best time ever,” she said. “I was so happy. I think the session was an hour and a half and it felt like five minutes. It went so fast. I was like ‘I want more, let’s stay forever.’ I just knew from that moment, I have to keep doing this; I’m obsessed. This is 100% for me, so I fell in love that day and I haven’t stopped since then.”

Capturing her monumental first day on the ice was Castillo.

“She said, ‘Let me record you, because you are going to want to look back at your day one eventually,’” Lazuli said. “I said, ‘Do not record me!’ which is so funny because now I record everything. But I’m glad she did that because when I went home that night, I compared it to the tutorials that I watched and determined what I could adjust and improve upon next time. It helped me break it down easier since I was teaching myself at that time.”

Chronicling her journey started modestly enough as she went from teaching herself with the help of YouTube videos to taking a few Learn to Skate USA® lessons, to receiving an occasional private lesson, to joining the bridge program Aspire to practicing for her first local competition.

She began posting her adventures on Instagram. After the first two months on the ice, Lazuli created a TikTok account and moved all of her videos there. It was a way for her to monitor her progress.

“As I was uploading these videos, they were starting to get a lot of traction and people were really inspired by it,” said Lazuli, who has become a professional content creator, with 168,000 followers on TikTok and 127,000 on Instagram. “I would hear, ‘I’ve always wanted to start skating and here you are starting as an adult.’ When you think about figure skating some people assume that you start straight out of the womb. So when I started, I had people ask, ‘I’m 15, is that too old to start? So here I am at 24 giving it my all and hopefully people are inspired by it.”

With the overwhelming feedback she’s received, Lazuli now feels empowered to continue skating and inspire people to follow their dreams.

“I didn’t realize how much happiness I was missing out on because I was not skating,” Lazuli said. “Clearly skating was meant for me; that’s truly how I feel in my heart. I want to show other people that they can do the same thing, whether it’s skating or anything else; don’t let anything hold you back from following your dreams or giving it a shot. You never know if you are going to love it or going to hate it, but giving yourself the opportunity to try is going to change your life and give you an experience that I think in the end you’ll always be grateful for.”

In her TikTok skating diary, Lazuli recounts starting out in rental skates.

“On day six of my journey, I went on Facebook Marketplace and found used Jackson soft skates,” she said. “They were gently used, and I think I got them for $30. I’m always trying to find ways to make skating more affordable.”

Also chronicled is her introduction to competitive skating. She signed up for the local Peach Classic. Lazuli, however, was out of town for several weeks and couldn’t train for the event.

“When I got back to town, I only had one month to learn a whole routine and prep it and be ready to compete,” she said. “I thought the amount of stamina I would need is just over one minute. I can run for 10 minutes and not die so I should be fine. Little did I know, I was more out of shape than I thought I was.”

She said she learned a lot from that experience, which she called stressful.

“I cried and I’ve never cried on the ice,” Lazuli said. “But I saw it through and didn’t quit. The competition was cool; there were only two people and I got second place. But I’m glad I did that. Now I know, personally, I need more time to prepare.”

Lazuli wants to become a professional skater and continue skating for as long as her body will allow her.

Consistency, she said, is the biggest lesson that she’s learned on her skating journey. 

“Staying consistent — staying on track, being disciplined and determined — is a huge thing that skating has taught me and it pays off so much in the end because progress is not linear. There are going to be days where you are going to feel like you are stagnant or losing progress and you are not going to improve. But at the end of the day, if you are consistent, progress will always be made. Skating has taught me to never give up because it always pays off in the end.”

Follow Lazuli's skating journey on Instagram and TikTok