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Woman of the Month

Woman Of The Month - Sonia Irvine

Sonia Irvine qualified as a physiotherapist in London and set up her own sports physiotherapy clinic. When Sonia's brother, Edmund, signed for the Ferrari F1 team in 1996, she joined him initially as his personal physio, but in time, this role extended to the whole of the team.

Throughout the races Sonia was stationed in the pit garage for all practice, qualifying and the race itself. She recalls the feelings of real excitement as the weekend continued.

Away from the race track, Sonia became aware that it was rare that everyone could spend time together at one venue. And even though the F1 is highly competitive, everyone was one big happy family. This gave birth to Sonia's idea to create an event where the whole Formula One community; teams, drivers, sponsors and guests could spend quality time together in a more relaxed VIP stylish venue instead of the more formal activities that would typically take place.

It was in 2003 at the Monaco Grand Prix that the very first Amber Lounge event was held. It proved to be a great success and attracting a fantastic number of celebrities as well and everybody had an amazing night. Afterwards quite a few people said I should take Amber Lounge to other races. The seed was sown and the Amber Lounge philosophy began to grow from strength to strength and is now held at other races around the world.

The first Amber Lounge will always be special to Sonia because of the overwhelming support and appreciation of those that attended who continually asked why she hadn't done it before. Personalities such as Rod Stewart, the F1 drivers and Prince Albert ll of Monaco really gave her the encouragement she needed to take the concept to the next level.

The Amber Lounge fashion show is now world renowned. This takes place on the Friday evening of the Grand Prix weekend in Monaco and the F1 drivers kindly and very generously give their time to support this charity event by taking to the catwalk to help raise funds. This year Amber Lounge Fashion 2015 will support Autism Rocks. "All the drivers that have taken part over the years have said that they enjoyed and had fun modelling on the catwalk" says Sonia Irvine.

We asked Sonia our famous 5 questions and this is what she told us:

1) What makes you smile?

I know it sounds a bit clichéd but seeing my guests and my friends happy makes me smile. This is why I am so passionate about the concept of Amber Lounge. It is a one-of-a-kind venue where my guests get the opportunity to rub shoulders with the Formula 1 fraternity and Hollywood stars and seeing everyone having an absolute blast, makes me so happy that I can’t help but smile.

2) What or who inspires you?

The sport of Formula 1 in its entirety inspires me, the passion and dedication to the sport, the intensity of it all, short deadlines and high standards! But my biggest inspirations are my children Megan and Katie, they are what keep me going! I want to show them good ethics in life and in business and I hope I achieve that, people tell me I do!

3) Do you believe in gut instincts?

Absolutely! You always have to trust your instincts. Without my instincts, I would not be here. Amber Lounge was a completely niche concept that no one had heard of before. I took a risk and it was the best decision of my life, apart from my children! The concept has travelled the world and I am very proud of it!

4) Your three essential things if you were stuck on a desert island would be what?

Very interesting question! I would probably say an iPod, as I am very passionate about music. I am obsessed with John Newman right now. Then I would probably bring a bathing suit and tanning oil and make the most out of it!

5) If you are planning a day/night out, what do you enjoy doing the most?

I love hosting parties at home, I’m known as being too generous with beverages. Apparently I’ve taken this attitude with me to Amber Lounge, as premium drinks are served non-stop! I also love good music and dancing, I love to dance…

Monday, 1 June 2015    Section: Woman of the Month
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