Kimora Lee Simmons' life is as phat, fab and family-centric as they come.
BY SCOTT HUVER
KIMORA LEE SIMMONS' life is as phat (as in president and creative director of the fashion empire Phat Fashions), fab (as in the star of The Style Network’s reality series Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, which recently launched its fourth season) and family-centric (baby Kenzo joined papa Djimon Hounsou and Simmons’ daughters, Ming, 10, and Aoki, 7, in May 2009) as they come. Just how does this “mogul mom” manage to have it all?
On balancing business and family:
I keep it moving! If we have to travel, we pick up and go. I say, “Everybody, let’s load up the car and do what we have to do!” On the way to a restaurant for lunch I’m doing a conference call, Djimon is driving, and I manage to juggle and sort of do everything. I don’t hit a wall because after being in business for 15 years, I’m a well-oiled machine. I run a fashion empire, and I have kids—I’m a “mogul mom.” My children are my first job and my biggest priority and my business comes next. Successful businesspeople are all about multitasking and running their empires as well as running their families. Your family is your biggest empire.
On keeping her children’s feet on the ground now that they’ve been exposed to the spotlight:
When it’s time to be on camera they know they’re on for a small amount of time, and it’s for a very specific reason and then it’s over. But having said that, my kids kind of love the camera. They’re hams, and they like having their little show, and they love going to work—but it’s because they see me doing it all the time. So if I’m always working, always on the computer—doing graphics, designing—they want to do the same thing. They really like our life, but we have a very strict household. They have straight As in school. I will send you their transcripts! We wouldn’t have it any other way: If you don’t have straight As, you’re definitely not going to be prancing around on TV. That’s just not going to happen.
On supporting her children’s ambitions in fashion and showbiz, after kicking off her own career at age 10:
This life affords them things I hold so dear, like the ability to travel, meet new people and see other cultures. They do love fashion. They’ve been on the runway with me; they’ve been on TV with me. Maybe they do want to be models when they grow up, but I doubt it. That’s not where they’re headed. They’re probably mini moguls in training. They’re also very much performing- arts children. I mean, their dad is a huge producer and a music guy, and their other dad is a Hollywood guy. It’s just in their blood. It’s about how we monitor it and guard the children in whatever things they want to do and always make sure it’s a safe environment they’re playing in. You can’t keep it from them, but you can’t shove it down their throats and force them into the spotlight either.
On the remaining personal goal she’s not sure even she can accomplish:
The one thing I’d love to do that I don’t know if I can pull off is singing. Everyone has tried to do an album: Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Carla Bruni—I’m naming models because that’s the genre I come from, obviously. It would be very tough, but I have a lot of contacts, a lot of friends and a lot of support. That’s the one thing I’d love to do, but I don’t really think that’s my calling.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DON FLOOD
Styling by George Kotsiopoulos for margaretmaldonado.com.
Hair by Marcia Hamilton for margaretmaldonado.com.
Makeup by Christopher Michael.
Manicure by Jenna Hipp for Mistral/celestineagency.com
ON KIMORA: Strapless dress, Jason Wu ($2,510). Neiman Marcus, 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; neimanmarcus.com. Fetilo pumps, Christian Louboutin ($945). 650 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; christianlouboutin.com. South Sea and Diamond Pearl necklace, Chopard ($221,220). 328 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; chopard.com. Right wrist: Landcut Satin crystal bracelet, Swarovski ($360). Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; swarovski.com. Black and white striped diamond bracelet, Martin Katz ($96,000). 9540 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills; martinkatz.com. Left wrist: Landcut Moonlight crystal bracelet, Swarovski ($360). SEE ABOVE. Diamond bracelet, Martin Katz ($159,000). SEE ABOVE.