After all, filming ended in March, and the amateur chef knew she hadn’t won the $250,000 prize to open her own restaurant. Law school had always been on the local activist and farmer’s mind since she graduated from Harvard in 2018.
It’s literally in her blood. Her father, Philip, is a plaintiff’s attorney, as is her maternal grandfather, Greg Cusimano.
“I grew up working in my dad’s office,” said the 27-year-old from her house in Tuscaloosa. “That’s how I would pay for a new pair of shoes.”
Miles wants to be the same kind of attorney as her father and grandfather because she said she feels like that’s where she can help people the most.
She mentioned one lawsuit her grandfather was involved in where clients won millions from a company that was making people sick by polluting the water.
“You don’t get paid if you don’t win,” she said.
Miles has been helping the Gadsden community since she graduated. She’s been involved in trying to heal the racial divide she sees in her hometown, and she’s joined action groups dealing with a variety of social issues.
Change is hard to make, she said. But as an attorney, she might be in a better position to make more changes.
Miles cast her net wide when looking at law schools. But Alabama offered her a full scholarship and she just couldn’t turn that down.
They brought a little piece of it with them — four chickens and two cats, Rosemary and Dennis the Menace. Her brother is keeping an eye on everything back home. They just pushed “pause” on their efforts at growing and delivering produce to customers.
“We actually broke even,” Miles said of last summer.
But instead of living in a tiny house that was a former stable, the couple is living “high on the hog” in Tuscaloosa, she said with a laugh.
They have indoor plumbing, a washer and dryer and a dishwasher. And a bigger space for Miles to cook, something that has always been a passion.
“We have a cute little house,” she said. It’s close to campus.
So far, Miles loves school. “It’s no cake walk for sure,” she said. “But my brain does still work.”
She said it’s been very humbling. “I think I know the answer to something,” she said, “and I don’t.”
Miles has been trying to keep up with her celebrity status on TV, too, she said. Several other chefs in the Southern group have had watch parties in various places.
Shands drove 12 hours recently to get her back from Texas to be in class on time, she said.
After her three years in Tuscaloosa, Miles said she’ll be coming back home — not to go into practice with family though, she said carefully.
“I’ll get my flaws sorted out first,” she said.
The university doesn’t let law students work their first year, but Miles said she might get a job in a restaurant next year.
Would she still open one of her own?
“Why not?” she said. “Who knows how much we’ll have in 10 years.”