It’s incredibly difficult to not know who Sofia Richie is. The youngest daughter of Lionel Richie, and baby sister to fashion darling Nicole Richie, the model and social media starlet has frequented the tabloids with the exes who shall remain nameless. Growing up in a family who has taught her to be herself, all of these aspects of her life are a part of who she is, but by no means make her. We caught up with this pretty young thing while she had some downtime home in LA before heading to New York for fashion’s biggest night of the year; The MET Ball. We talked about how growing up in a famous family has prepared her for the limelight, her dating life, and how betrayal is her hardest lesson to learn.
Wearing Topshop, dressed casually and of course, looking effortlessly cool; Sofia has recently returned home after partying at Coachella to R&B singer Majid Jordna and DJ Khalid. She’s exhausted, but remains fresh faced and is determined to take some time out to recover.
“I just got back from Coachella and Dubai, and I’m trying to get back to my LA time zone. It was great. I was with four of my best girlfriends, and we danced our lives away, and now we’re exhausted.” She says with a smile that hints at good, potentially blurry, memories.
Yet the 18 year old doesn’t have much time to chill, she tells us she has a modeling gig in Tokyo (but tentatively explains she’s not allowed to say for who) and then is jetting off again to New York for the Met. Her downtime, she insists, is simple – being around family is her way to feel grounded again and recharge. “I’m in a LA for a week so I’m going to try to sleep 12 hours a night. I do yoga, and get facials. I honestly just rest as much as I possibly can and spend time with my family. That’s all I do.”
It doesn’t take long to get on to the subject of her family. Her dad, Lionel Richie, needs no introduction and it seems the western press have documented the life of her sister Nicole Richie, from her Paris Hilton days, to her publicly scrutinized weight loss, her marriage to Good Charlotte’s Joel Rueben Madden and her success as a celebrated designer. Sofia recalls that she was just a child when she realized her family were a big deal “We would do tons of things in the house and it’d be private. Whenever we would just go out in public or to say Disneyland, when I was a kid, and I saw people attack them, that’s when I sort of realized [it all]. It was crazy and definitely wasn’t normal with all the attention.”
But instead of struggling with growing up in the limelight, as many have done, often publicly, Sofia’s taken wise lessons from the experiences of her family and has learnt how to protect herself.
“I WATCHED WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH, AND STUDIED WHAT THE RIGHT AND WRONG THING TO DO WAS. IT WAS SUPER HELPFUL COMING INTO THE BUSINESS. THEY’VE ALWAYS BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE. TO JUST BE MYSELF, TO DO MY THING, AND STAY IN MY LANE.”
Yet being of a younger generation, Sofia, who has over 2 million followers on Instagram, also has social media to navigate. Even within this complex beast, she remains balanced and true to what she feels comfortable with “It’s a great platform to express what you like, and I love that it’s not too much information about somebody’s life. I like that you just get a glimpse of someone. There is a lot of judgment on social media, and negativity that girls can get affected by. I’m personally not affected by it but it upsets me that some are.
I don’t want to say I don’t have feelings, but it really does not bother me. I think watching my sister growing up through so much judgement, and getting judgement from that, my family and I have thick skin. I’m just the type of person that I want to make myself happy and other people’s opinions just don’t phase me, and that’s how I was raised. That’s really how I live my life.”
Dating, it seems, is the area Sofia feels more protective about and is something she tries to keep out of the camera’s lens, despite the persistence of press intrusion. “When it comes to dating you want to keep it as private as possible. As something special between you and the other person. You don’t really want other peoples opinions on it – even though it doesn’t matter. I just don’t want to hear it at the end of the day. I try to just be quiet about my dating life.”
“WHEN IT COMES TO DATING YOU WANT TO KEEP IT AS PRIVATE AS POSSIBLE. AS SOMETHING SPECIAL BETWEEN YOU AND THE OTHER PERSON. YOU DON’T REALLY WANT OTHER PEOPLES OPINIONS ON IT-EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN’T MATTER.”
We move on to her work, her love of fashion and her unique sense of style, which is the envy of Instagram users the world over. “I love vintage Levi’s… I’m not the type to get dressed day-to-day so I stay with what’s comfortable and cute to me.” So, as composed as we can manage, she’s never tempted to steal from her sister’s wardrobe? “You know what sucks about me and Nicole is that I’m a beast compared to her! She is so tiny and I unfortunately stopped fitting in her clothes 4 years ago! So, lucky for her I cannot touch much of that closet!”
Speaking of her modeling career, which began when she was just 15, Sofia acknowledges how lucky she was to have found something she enjoys doing at such a young age. “Someone wanted me to model their bathing suits and I said, ‘Sure, why not? It’ll be fun!’ And I ended up really liking it and it worked out in my favor.”
And what about the future? Does she ever see herself treading the same path as her iconic father? “I don’t want to say no. You know what…” she pauses, lost in thought momentarily “I’ll say yes! Yes, I see myself working on my own music in the near future.” Though her sound is something she still has to work out “That I’ll have to try and see when I get in [the studio].”
For an 18 year model, who has millions following her daily antics and a family whose history in the spotlight has not always been easy, Sofia Richie is self-assured with a wise head on young shoulders. Is there anything, we ask, that does affect her? “Betrayal. Because it’s something that you will never really understand, but you have to accept. To deal with that, I spend time with my family, try not to focus on it, try to forgive them in my heart anyway I can, and just move on.”
Satisfied that she is human after all, we ask one final question, though we think we know the answer by the grin we got when we asked about Coachella… Her happy place? “With my friends.”
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