Dakota Blue Richards, was born at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in South Kensington, London but grew up in Brighton with her mother. She is of Prussian heritage on her Grandmother’s side, and Irish on her father’s. The name Dakota Blue was inspired by her mother’s time spent with Native Americans while studying and traveling in USA. At school, she enjoyed drama, dance and the arts, was an active participant in school plays and attended a local amateur dramatics group in her spare time.
She made her professional acting debut age 12, starring alongside Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig as Lyra Belaqua in the film adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s The Northern Lights (The Golden Compass). Ten thousand girls turned up for open auditions in Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter and Kendal for the role; Richards was awarded the part after the casting directors Lucy Bevan and Fiona Weir took a shine to her at the Cambridge auditions. Richards, who was a fan of the books from an early age and had seen the stage adaptation at The National Theatre, said of her character ‘I feel like I can relate to her. I like to think I’m quite brave. I stand up for myself. And I don’t let other people tell me what to do. Well, unless it’s my mum.’
She has been nominated for two best actress awards for her portrayal of popular character Franky Fitzgerald in E4’s BAFTA-winning drama Skins, and a multitude of awards, including a Saturn award, for her role in The Golden Compass.
Richards took up screenwriting during her time as WPC Shirley Trewlove in ITV’s Endeavour and has since completed a short and a feature length film. She described the experience of writing her first piece as ‘In many ways more personal than acting. It was quite cathartic.’
Richards was photographed by RANKIN as part of Ocean 2012, a campaign to prevent over fishing, alongside the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley, Terry Gilliam and Lily Loveless. In 2013 she modelled for fashion designer SORAPOL’s AW13 campaign ‘Immortal’. She has also been photographed by noted fashion photographer Kate Bellm and was the first woman to appear on the cover of 7th Man magazine.
In her personal life, Richards takes a keen interest in politics and global issues. In 2008, she attended a two-week camp in the Lake District organised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which aimed to bring together teenagers from different backgrounds to discuss discrimination. Since 2010, she has supported Action for Children, a charity in the United Kingdom helping vulnerable young people overcome injustice and deprivation. In 2011, she fronted an advertising campaign to promote the charity’s new project. She is a long time supporter of Good Gifts. Richards is also a vegan.
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