Lionel Richie's Daughter Has Grown Up To Be Gorgeous

Making oneself famous and then keeping the public's fascination for years to come is simply the family business for the Richies. Sofia Richie is the third person among her kin to become a public figure. Her father: Commodores singer, 1980s soft rock sensation, and American Idol judge Lionel Richie. Her older sister: 2000s reality TV pioneer, tabloid princess, and Paris Hilton sidekick Nicole Richie

But Sofia Richie isn't banking on her well-known last name to make something of herself in music or TV. She seems to be on her way to doing her own thing, carving out her own unpredictable path in a distinctly 21st century fashion. Only in her early twenties, Richie has already captured the attention of the fashion world, landing a modeling contract and telling people what to wear and how to look. Here's the story of how Sofia Richie quickly rose to fame, and why she'll probably stay famous for quite a while.

Sofia Richie's father is a musical icon and a hands-on dad

Sofia Richie is the youngest daughter of Lionel Richie (and his second wife, Diane Alexander), who got his start in music in the '70s as a member of the funk band the Commodores. In the '80s, Richie went solo and softer, and hits like "Hello," "All Night Long (All Night)," and "Say You, Say Me," helped him sell more than 100 million albums and earn five Grammy Awards. He's also apparently just as dedicated to keeping tabs on his social butterfly of a daughter as he is to his music.

"My dad tracks my phone once a day," Sofia Richie tweeted in 2017 (via Us Weekly) after photos surfaced of the Richies using FaceTime while the younger was in Cannes, France. "Awkwardly enough I get a notification every time. I think it's funny so I don't tell him I know." The elder Richie later denied being quite that watchful. "I don't track. I don't understand," he told USA Today. "...I keep trying to tell my kids the same thing: 'I own Chicago. I own Miami. I have been around the world.'"

Sofia Richie thought about becoming a pop star

At one point in time, way back in the mid-2010s, a teenage Sofia Richie considered following her father into pop rock. "When I was 13, I was saying that I wanted to be signed to a label," Richie told Entertainment Tonight. "I was begging my dad to get me signed with somebody." But dad Lionel Richie, who has experienced the sometimes cruel and horrible machinations of the music industry up close, wouldn't play. "I'm glad he held me off," Sofia added, "because I really found myself and found what I truly wanted to do." 

Richie also admitted that had she grown up with an increased level of fame and attention befitting that of a second-generation singer, life would have been tougher. "I just feel like you have to go through this crazy transition if you're going to continue on with your career, from a child star to an adult star," she reflected. "Now I get it and I'm like, 'I would not have wanted to go through that.' I just want to come out and be the person that I am. I don't want to have to go through a transition in front of the whole world."

And yet, Richie did give the world a taste of what it could be missing. In 2012, she teamed up with YouTube musical sensation Pia Mia for a cover of Adele's "Turning Tables." Pia Mia sang while Richie accompanied on piano.

Sofia Richie once dated the Biebs

Sofia Richie is young, pretty, and rich, meaning she could probably date almost anybody she wanted. And for a long while, she was in a relationship with the guy millions in her generation also coveted: teen dream Justin Bieber. According to E! News, Bieber took Richie on a romantic getaway to Mexico in celebration of her eighteenth birthday, and for months, the young lovebirds were inseparable.

"We have a special relationship," Richie coyly said of her relationship with the Canadian "Baby" boy to Billboard. "Justin is very easy to talk to, and that's hard to find with people in Los Angeles." Bieber returned the verbal affection, as it were, writing "Ur so pretty" on one of her Instagram posts (per Teen Vogue).

Despite the stars aligning, this potentially great romance fizzled. Mere weeks after their romantic Mexican vacation, it was all over. "It was super-hot and heavy, and because Justin doesn't want a relationship right now, he wanted to cool things down," an insider told E! News, adding that things simply fell apart on their own.

Sofia Richie later moved on to Scott Disick

While things didn't work out with Justin Bieber, Sofia Richie found love again, with the much older Scott Disick. E! News reported in May 2017 that the pair were spotted together in Cannes, France, but Richie sought to quell any rumors she'd coupled up with Kourtney Kardashian's baby daddy, tweeting, "Just so everyone can get their panties out of their a**es, Scott and I are just homies. #Relax." Talk of a Richie-Disick romance ramped up a month later when the two were spotted having dinner together at Malibu sushi hotspot Nobu. Still, Richie maintained that the relationship was platonic. "The last time I'm gonna say it. Scott and I are just friends. I'm single and focused on friends, family and work. #againrelax," Richie tweeted (via E! News).

Prepare to be shocked — Richie and Disick really were dating all that time. According to E! News, the pair dated for just over three years, ultimately breaking off their romance in May 2020. "There wasn't a fight or anything bad that happened between them," an inside source claimed. "Sofia thinks Scott has a lot on his plate right now and thinks it's best for them to be apart so he can focus on himself. She is only looking out for him and his best interest and it was primarily her decision for them to split." Richie reportedly got her stuff out of Disick's place, and he sought treatment for mental health issues.

Sofia Richie, but make it fashion

Lionel Richie isn't the only super famous relative of Sofia Richie — her older sister, Nicole Richie, is quite well-known, too. Alongside Paris Hilton, she starred in one of the earliest reality TV show hits, Fox's The Simple Life. Nicole has long since left behind the frivolity of reality TV in favor of fashion, creating the House of Harlow 1960 brand. 

Taking after Nicole in that regard, Sofia has her own line of jeans under the Rolla's. As their website proclaims, Rolla's x Sofia Richie products are "inspired by classic, iconic denim looks." In addition to jeans, Richie has also waded into beach and pool wear. In 2019, she launched her first swimwear line, creating a 10-item collection in cooperation with Frankies Bikinis. In 2020, she had plans for her own, separate bikini brand, under her own name. After that, she wants to market hair and beauty products.

Although Nicole's quite fashionable in her own right, Sofia has always been "super interested" in fashion design, so Nicole feels no need to share fashion tips with her younger sister, who is 17 years her junior. "I'm very particular about my clothes," Nicole told People when discussing her affinity for fashion and Sofia's choice in style. "We have different styles."

Sofia Richie's a model individual

At just 16 years old, Sofia Richie landed a contract with Select Model Management, according to E! News. She steadily made a name for herself in the world of attractive people wearing clothes, making her New York Fashion Week runway debut (for Yeezy Season 4) in January 2017. "Runway is really fun," Richie told InStyle. "For Yeezy, I didn't expect to walk at all — I got a call and was on the plane the next day, and it was the most amazing experience."

Before long, she was walking the runway for Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana and appearing in a national campaign for DL1961. A lot of that came as a surprise for Richie, because at 5'6", she's not your typical beanpole model. "I got really good feedback from Chanel, which I didn't expect, because I'm shorter, and shorter models get a lot of hate," Richie explained. "So I was happy to see that I didn't."

Sofia Richie's not afraid to talk about the big issues

While Sofia Richie's main business is wearing expensive clothes and silently looking nice, she isn't shy about speaking her mind when she needs to, even on potentially controversial topics like race. "I'm very light, so some people don't really know that I'm black," Richie told Complex in 2016. "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 makes for some awkward moments, but Richie will not back down, adding that she's of the opinion that people who say ugly things "better get [their] s**t together" lest they "get slapped out of here."

When not conversing with ignorant fools, Richie also has to face other frustrating individuals: the paparazzi. "Sometimes you just want to walk out of your house and look ugly and get a coffee and wear your sweatpants all day," she explained. "Honestly, I might've thrown [her outfit] together in 30 seconds. I might've slept in that. And s**t, someone's going to photograph me, and everyone's going to say I'm a mess or I look depressed, when really I'm just not wearing mascara."

Sofia Richie's squad is #squadgoals

The saying "birds of a feather flock together" is certainly true when it comes to Sofia Richie and her ever-growing friends circle. In 2016, when her profile was on the rise, she started sharing pictures with all sorts of gal pals, serving as an announcement that she'd been accepted into the A-list of social media stars. In February of that year, Richie posted a black-and-white snap with Kylie Jenner, Jordyn Woods, and others — as everyone knows, Jenner is the "it" girl of our time, and being seen next to her will only increase fame and attention. 

By the end of that year, Richie had shared an incredible selfie with actor Terrence Jenkins and model Rita Ora. And by early 2020, Richie's status as a generational and cultural influencer was fully established: she'd amassed more than six million Instagram followers on the strength of fewer than 1,000 posts.

When it comes to close friends, she's touted Paris Hilton, of all people, as a sisterly figure. "She gives the best advice and she wants the best for me and she sees how my path is going," Richie told Wonderland magazine. "She's really rooting for me and giving me the best tips, how to avoid certain things and how to be the best version of myself that I can be." (Being yourself? Now that's hot!)

Sofia Richie's a real daredevil

Sofia Richie has a taste for danger. If her Instagram account is any indication, the model and budding designer doesn't seem to have much fear inside of her. When she's not hanging out with famous dudes or her more famous dad, Richie can be seen participating in high-speed recreational activities. 

In 2015, she popped up on a motorbike, dressed in a red jacket, black pants, and white boots. Months later, Richie surfaced in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, where she rode a dune buggy up and down the picturesque sand dunes of the desert, then completed a round of skydiving and lived to post the picture. "So I went skydiving today," Richie captioned the snap, humorously and succinctly. And then there was that time in 2018 when Richie and then-beau Scott Disick braved a bungee-based ride with a tremendous drop during a trip to a Six Flags amusement park. Such is the thrilling life of Sofia Richie.