Young Birmingham lawyer Monica Kapur has been named the face of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The youth charity picked Miss Kapur, an insolvency lawyer at Shoosmiths, to head up a rebranding.
Miss Kapur, a former Duke of Edinburgh graduate, applied to become the face of the scheme after being sent a letter by the organisation looking for models. And the 27-year-old lawyer from Harborne was chosen to head the brand relaunch.
“When I read the letter I wasn’t quite sure whether to apply or not,” said Miss Kapur. “But after some consideration I decided to throw caution to the wind and just went for it, not expecting to hear anything else. They informed me I’d been selected and I couldn’t believe it.
"Shoosmiths were very supportive and gave me the day off so I could have my photo taken. It’s good if it’s for a good cause, it was good to represent something I have been involved in.
“The idea was to have people who have done the awards rather than proper models – real people with proper backgrounds.”
Shoosmiths partner Joel Kordan, the head of the Birmingham office, said: “We are incredibly proud of Monica and what she’s achieved. She’s a real asset to the firm, her team and now the DofE, and we will continue to support her excellent efforts in any way we can.”
The Duke of Edinburgh award was established in 1956 and is dedicated to community and personal improvement by young people from all backgrounds.
It involves branches dedicated to volunteering and community work, as well as fitness, skills and a wilderness expedition.
Miss Kapur – selected to represent the residential care side of operations – had a photo shoot with an elderly woman in a nursing home, and then another in the centre of Cheltenham. She said she found herself a reluctant model, adding: “Apparently I have a caring face. Later on in Cheltenham I was there with virtually nothing on – I was freezing! There were so many people there.”
The lawyer – part of a buzzing insolvency team at Shoosmiths since the credit crunch started to take hold – did her own set of DofE awards as a teenager at Hillcrest School in Bartley Green and Swansea University.
She had to go on a survivalist expedition across the Lake District as part of the final Gold award.
“I’ve been involved with the DofE for the last seven years and over that time, have achieved my Bronze, Silver and Gold, which has opened up so many windows of opportunity,” she said.
“I don’t think I would have got where I was without it. You do develop a lot of skills with it which I am now using at work.
“Completing my DofE proved to me that any dream or goal is possible, regardless of your culture, gender, race or religion,”