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Meet the Miss Cambridge beauty queen forging a career in legal academia

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PhD student sheds light on why there are so many law students competing in pageants

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Sophia Amelia Richards is moving full steam ahead towards a career in legal academia.

At just 23-years-old, she’s already got a law degree from Anglia Ruskin University and completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) with an LLM from the University of Law. She’s about to start her PhD in family law at the University of Leicester, which will be completed part-time over six years. She’s hopeful she’ll have many opportunities to teach during her studies, which will help her kick off a flourishing career in legal academia.

sophia

But it’s not just graduate photos and certificates on display over at the Richards residence; the former legal adviser also has a shiny beauty pageant trophy to her name.

Locals may best know Richards as the reigning Miss Cambridge. Having dabbled in beauty competitions since she was a child, when Richards was invited to compete in Miss Cambridge by her modelling agency, she thought it sounded “like a great idea”. She went on to compete in Miss Great Britain last month, reaching the top 20 (but losing out on the top spot to Miss Aberdeen). Next March, she’ll be competing in national pageant Miss Galaxy — representing east London — with a view to compete in Galaxy International if all goes to plan.

sophia-richard

Readers may remember this isn’t the first time Legal Cheek has delved into the weird and wonderful world of law student beauty queens.

Back in June, we ran a piece about Olivia Green, Vicky Marriott, Ashleigh Wild, Kyarna Weed and Stephanie Wyatt — all law students or aspiring law students who were known on the pageant circuit.

Since then, a number of others have caught our eye.

There’s Hayley Milner, a Miss Cheshire finalist who studies law at the University of Oxford. Then there’s 25-year-old Arabella Curtis, a transgender law student hoping to be crowned Miss Inspiration UK.

With law student beauty queens popping up here, there and everywhere, we thought we’d ask former sales associate Richards whether she’s noticed a lawyer domination at the pageants she’s competed in. Her response:

Pageants are very diverse. I wouldn’t say they were dominated by law students, but I see why law students would want to get involved. It’s a very empowering thing to do; the girls really empower each other. It’s also good publicity, but I don’t do it for that — I do it because I like the idea behind it.

Richards — who says she’s particularly attracted to the charity fundraising element that comes with beauty competitions — also notes the distinct similarities between the seemingly unconnected worlds of pageants and academia:

My real talents lie in academia, an important part of which is research. You have to do a lot of research in pageants too. We are given the name of a charity we have to fundraise for, but it’s up to us to decide how to raise the money. Then we go and do the work ourselves. I fundraised for a children’s charity called Global’s Make Some Noise. I also do a lot of work for Mind.

Though Richards, who has modelled since she was a child, speaks highly of her pageant experience, when pressed she does say she understands why some people may assume it would act as a hindrance to her dream legal career.

However, she thinks the experience has only helped her:

Competing in pageants is something different. It separates you out from the rest of the crowd. Everyone’s very clever and very good nowadays, but competing opens up a lot of questions because it’s so different. Interviewers ask me ‘oh, what is that?’, maybe seeming a bit shocked at first, but ultimately when you explain what it entails it’s looked upon favourably.

A big part of being a pageant girl, Richards tells us, is being a role model and helping your community. And when it comes to beauty pageants’ characteristic bikini rounds, Richards — who has completed a vac scheme at Chelmsford-based firm Stella Maris — has this to say:

My body is a source of achievement. It took a lot of dedication and hours in the gym to achieve; it’s something that I’m proud of.

Though not everyone will enjoy — or even condone — the beauty pageant world, Richards is clearly doing something right. Legal Cheek wishes her every success with her PhD and the Miss Galaxy competition.

61 Comments

Bumblebee

You had me until I got to “My real talents lie in academia, an important part of which is research. You have to do a lot of research in pageants too.”

(43)(1)

@CRProudman

Kill! Kill! Kill!!!!!

(2)(2)

Jones Day partner

Anglia Ruskin? Isn’t that an apple?

Anyway there’s a TC waiting for you… With that Family shite you can help me ditch wife no. 4 too.

(27)(1)

Anon....

Can I do an LLM at the University of Law too ?

(2)(0)

ULaw admissions

Do you have access to funds to pay the fee? If yes than you can. We don’t need any other information.

(21)(0)

Anonymous

Good banter!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

3,000 word essay tacked onto the LPC. I wish I was joking.

(4)(0)

Douglas

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I think I love her.

(2)(0)

Ringo

She’ll only disappoint you in the end, and you’ll be frustrated.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Anglia Ruskin and Uni of Leicester. Lols.

(16)(5)

Bumblebee

Given the choice, I’d rather be a pretty female student who attended ARU than an ugly female student who attended the University of Cambridge.

I concede this might not reflect well on my character. It certainly doesn’t reflect well on the society in which we live.

However, objectively, I think I’d be happier. However unpolitically correct that might sound, I consider it to be true.

People value brains over beauty because they fallaciously reason that the former is a reflection of one’s character. ‘Those at Oxford and Cambridge worked hard to get there’. But actually, many people are not blessed with the same innate talent, and the truth is that these people might have worked equally hard to get into ARU.

Further, whilst one’s looks are undoubtedly largely determined by pure luck, as Ms Richards herself makes clear, people can and do work hard to look the way they do.

It is quite extraordinary just how successfully some jealous, bitter and misinformed women have managed to denigrate and belittle the good fortune of others, all in the name of ’empowerment’.

I’d also like to apologise to Ms Richards for my earlier comment. Sometimes I’m a bit of a twat.

(15)(25)

Anonymous

Wtf are you on about mate?

Some people have too much time on their hands…

(14)(1)

Anonymous

@Bumblebee: Plastic surgery can fix even the most unfortunate of mugs (google “Nita Kuzmina before and after”). Unfortunately’s there’s no fix for stupidity or mediocre intelligence.

(4)(1)

Barry Chuckle

Can you even do a PhD at the University of Leicester?

(6)(6)

The professor

What a stupid question! is it supposed to be funny?

(3)(2)

Anonymous

A professor eh?

(0)(0)

Boh Dear LLB (Hons)

I have serious concerns about anyone who adds ‘LLB (Hons)’ after their name.

(19)(1)

Anonymous

Why? If she has those letters, she has those letters!

(0)(6)

Big Bird

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(5)(0)

Jones Day Partner

I for one think this lady has a lot of talent, and I look forward to working with her.

(34)(2)

Pron King

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Stunning profile picture.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Crumpetkrieg

Phwoarrrr!!!!

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Being beautiful must be amazing, and make life so much easier.

(0)(1)

Quiet but beautiful (so I'm told)

Not if you just want a night out unmolested.

Sometimes being objectively attractive can be a curse, not a blessing.

(5)(0)

Barry

Too right mate

(1)(3)

True story

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(11)(1)

Pepe the Alt Right God

Feminist banfest is happening!

(1)(2)

Angeltits

Am I the only one who feels that the haters, the mysogynists and the feminists are all nutters?

(3)(1)

*Angelitis

Oops! Freudian slip!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(1)

Jones Day Managing Director

Savage bants mate. Your equity partnership invitation letter is in the mailbox, we need more banterers like you.

(8)(1)

Scouser of Counsel

You need professional help, mate!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

It’s a meme, bro.

(0)(4)

Anonymous

I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture !!! You would win the prize for the most stunning Legal Cheek picture I have ever seen ….

(4)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(1)

Onanizer

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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Comments are closed.