La Studentessa Matta with Sophia Loren at the Venetian, Las Vegas

It is really quite remarkable! Last Saturday evening I had the pleasure of meeting Sophia Loren!

Days later and I am still walking on air. After all, we are talking about one of Italy’s film icons! The leading lady of Italia! This crazy girl… ME…actually kissed Miss Loren on both cheeks, in the proper Italian fashion, and spoke to her in Italian!

Photo Credit: Studentessa Matta

Meeting Sophia Loren in person was quite an honor. Sophia is as elegant and beautiful now at 81, as she was when she acted with Marcello, Cary, and Clark! Tall and refined, she carries herself with grace and dignity.

It was a dream come true to sit in the audience (in the second row I might add very close to the stage) and listen to her during her one-woman show “An Evening with Sophia!” at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. I was pleased to discover that this film diva is actually quite self-deprecating, shy, and extremely funny. She spoke to the audience in English, but frequently resorted to Italian, admitting with a smile, “I like to speak Italian!” Often times she would look to us in the audience to help her with a translation of a word. She made me feel warm and welcomed as if I were one of her well-loved friends.

Photo Credit: Studentessa Matta

During her time on stage, Sophia recalled personal memories and stories about her life and acting career. Several times film clips of her movies were shown. Instead of watching the videos, which I’ve seen a hundred times before, I delighted in watching Sophia watching herself on screen. It was wonderful to see her facial expressions and when Marcello came onto the screen, she just beamed and still chuckled to herself at some of his lines!

Sophia talked of so many things. I was already familiar with many of the stories after having read her autobiography, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. She also talked of Cary Grant. He was a wonderful friend until the very end. She said the reason for doing this one-woman show was because of him. He gave her the idea, years ago, to connect with her public. Cary thought she would be good at it. She on the other hand always thought she’d be too shy to do it well. She is very critical of her self and several times she said to us, “I overthink things too much! I need to tell myself: Shut up Sophia. Be wise and just do it!” I agree with Cary, she did an excellent job!

Photo Credit: Studentessa Matta

After the show, a small group of people was invited to attend a private reception where prosecco and wine were served. Sophia joined us after a few minutes. She was seated to receive everyone and we were all granted a professional photo opportunity. When my turn came, I introduced myself, kissed her I told her in Italian that meeting her was a dream has come true! I also handed her a small gift and told her about the novel I have just completed called “Dreaming Sophia” which was partially inspired by her and her courage.

The story is about a young girl named Sophia who is named after la Loren, who through dream-like encounters meets Renaissance artists, Medici Princes, 16th Duchesses, and Cinecitta Movie Stars. The book is very much about turning fantasies into reality. So, imagine my delight and the goosebumps I had when Sophia during her show, looked out at me and said, “I believe in dreams. Dreams become reality.”

Thank you Sophia for a wonderful evening! You have helped make my dreams a reality! It was a wonderful night! One I won’t forget – EVER!

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