Model and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons talks about her friend Tyra Banks, advice for models and why she can be 'intimidating'
Model-turned fashion mogul Kimora Lee Simmons is no shrinking violet, and the reality TV star admits that people can be daunted when their meet her. "I think it probably can be a bit intimidating," she tells HELLO! Online. "But once they’ve got past that, they realise that I have the same issues as everyone else. I’m a hardworking mum."
Her new TV show Kimora: House of Fab focuses on the stylish staff at online fashion service JustFab, where Kimora is President and Creative Director. It’s the latest venture for the mother of three, who started her career aged 13 when she was whisked to Paris to sign an exclusive modeling career with Chanel.
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Kimora has walked the catwalks for Christian Dior, Roberto Cavalli and Yves Saint Laurent, while Karl Lagerfield called her his "muse" and the "face of the 21st century". She has since become a successful businesswoman and reality TV star.
The star, who recently split from actor and model Djimon Hounsou, chats to HELLO! Online.
You and Tyra Banks modeled together and she is godmother to your daughter Ming Lee, 13. Did you always think you’d both succeed?
"Absolutely. I think there was always something about Tyra and I think she saw that in me, too. She came along later than me – I was the youngest girl to model in the history of Chanel I believe. I've gone more in the direction of designing and creating brands, and she did more TV and TV production from the modeling side."
Your split with Djimon was widely reported on. How do you deal with rumours about your relationship?
"Nothing really bothers me when it comes to things like that. I mean I think it's fair game and probably I do have a thicker skin. Sometimes it's so crazy what's being said, so I try to ignore it as much as I can and keep You have your own business to be worried about, not someone else misreporting things or saying things about you. I think we can all rise above it as it’s all sport and fun and for somebody to make a buck. If you try and take it in stride I think it'll be ok. It comes with the territory."
Your children featured on your previous show, Life in the Fab Lane, do they enjoy being in the spotlight?
"The paparazzi attention can make them a little nervous. They love photoshoots and modeling – they don’t mind that part. But they haven’t done that for a year or more."
You started out at 13 and your daughter Ming is the same age…
"I’ve managed to keep her away from it for a little longer. I had better resources than my mum did, but all three of my children [including daughter Aoki, ten, and son Kenzo, three] already done a lot. The girls especially have been on runways, created their own capsule collection, have been on TV and in photoshoots and their whole family, including their dad and stepdad, is an entertainment family."
How do you find time to keep fit?
"I do the best I can. I don’t eat too much. I don’t have a lot of time but I can get in a little treadmill. I eat healthily just because it’s good for me, and running after my three kids takes a lot of energy."
Have you got any advice for young models?
"I would say there are definitely pitfalls and you have to be careful, and keep your head on your shoulders. But the business is a lot of fun, that’s for sure."
What sort of boss are you?
"I feel like I’m a good motivator, I’m very determined. I have a great team and we work very well together."
How do you feel when you watch your TV shows back?
2It makes me nervous. It’s always pretty funny and interesting to see how the programmes are put together. I find myself saying, ‘Oh gosh, I didn’t say it like that, did I?’. I think you have to have a sense of humour and take it all in your stride. I think that viewers will get to understand the industry and what goes on behind the scenes and I think they appreciate that. And it’s funny, it’s good TV."
Kimora: House Of Fab is on Thursdays at 9pm on Style. Visit justfab.co.uk