Lionel Richie’s youngest daughter is paving a way for herself in Hollywood, but that doesn’t mean she has avoided the pitfalls of racism. Sofia Richie revealed that her light skin tone gives people the false impression that racist comments are okay to say in her presence.
She quickly disabuses them of that notion.
While speaking to Complex, Richie became noticeably angry over the situation.
“I’m very light, so some people don’t really know that I’m Black,” she said. “I’ve been in situations where people will say something kind of racist and I’ll step in and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, well, you’re light.’ That still doesn’t cut it, buddy. It’s 2016 — you better get your s—together before you get slapped out here.”
Still, Richie said she personally doesn’t face racism on the job, a stark contrast from the experiences of models Ajak Deng and Nykhor Paul. In February, Deng took to Instagram to share that she was quitting the “fake” industry. Although she later returned, her manager, Stephen Bucknall, revealed companies are willing to fly white women to photo shoots but he had not seen the same done for Black models. In Paul’s case, she expressed irritation over makeup artists who were ignorant about working with Black skin.
But that doesn’t mean Richie doesn’t deal with other obstacles in the modeling field. As a 5’6 model — below the standard high-fashion range of 5’9 to 6’0 according to ABC News — some are irritated by her success.
“It’s not like I called and begged these designers to work with me,” she said of features in
fashion magazines Elle and Vanity Fair. “They felt my vibe and we were cool and that’s that,” she said. “People obviously don’t respect some of the shoots I do because I’m short and this or that, but I really don’t let that stuff get to me.”
As for the possibility of following her Grammy Award-winning father’s footsteps, Richie doesn’t see it happening.
“I wanted to have a music career for a long time,” she admitted. “Music is my life and it speaks to me. But I don’t want my own music career. I’m Lionel Richie’s daughter. When I do this, I have to be 100 percent good and it was too much pressure for me.
“I just want to have my own direction and be free with it. I don’t want anyone to have a hold on me because of my dad.”