Model, businesswoman, fashion designer, venture investor, entrepreneur, TV personality, philanthropist, and author Kimora Lee Simmons (born Perkins; May 4, 1975) is an American. When she was a youngster, she was signed by the fashion company CHANEL, where she developed into a model. She has since walked the runway for brands like Fendi and Valentino and has been featured on the pages of Vogue and Elle. She started the international lifestyle company Baby Phat in 1999, which was a big hit all over the world.
She and her family made their reality television debut in 2007 with Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane on the E! Network, which ran for four seasons. In addition to her work in fashion and modeling, Kimora won a Tony in 2003 for her work as a producer on the Broadway production of Def Poetry Jam.
Kimora Lee Simmons Early life
Missouri’s St. Louis is where Kimora Lee Perkins was born. As a child, Simmons experienced bullying at school in the Florissant, Missouri, suburb of St. Louis in the north. Due to her height (5’10” by the time she was ten) and multiracial heritage (she is Japanese-Korean on her mother’s side and African-American on her father’s), Simmons struggled with her confidence and felt, in her own words, “strange.”
Kimora’s mother put her in modeling classes when she was eleven years old in an effort to boost her self-confidence. Two years later, Simmons went to a Kansas City model search event where she was spotted by Marie-Christine Kollock, a representative from the renowned Paris modeling agency Glamour. Kollock then dispatched Simmons to Paris, where she quickly won over the hearts of top designers and started a serious modeling career.
Simmons attended Lutheran North High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from there. Simmons enrolled in classes once more in 2017 and completed her studies at the online Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Entrepreneurial Affairs in 2018.
Kimora Lee Simmons Career
Simmons signed an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel at the age of thirteen and started working under the guidance of the late Karl Lagerfeld, who was Chanel’s then-designer. A multiethnic appearance like Simmons’s was unusual in high-end fashion advertising at the time of Lagerfeld and Simmons’ mentor-muse relationship in fashion history. According to Simmons, “Karl decided to place a mixed-race model on a Parisian runway before anyone else.” By following his lead, I discovered how to be confident in my abilities to stand up, embrace my destiny, and command my desires to come true.
Simmons, who closed the 1989 Chanel haute couture show as “The Bride,” later walked the runways for brands including Fendi, Valentino, Emanuel Ungaro, and Yves Saint Laurent and was featured on the covers and in articles of magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle.
Simmons introduced the international lifestyle company Baby Phat in 1999. The company was established as a womenswear division of Phat Farm, a men’s streetwear brand, and Phat Fashions, a larger fashion brand that Russell Simmons, her then-husband, had started in 1992. Baby Phat was founded to provide customers of color with collections that were true to the culture, much like Phat Farm and other black-owned fashion brands that appeared around the same time. Baby Phat gradually expanded to transcend all barriers of culture and race, attaining mass-marketability and entering the lexicon of both fashion and popular culture, following the trajectory of the hip-hop music and style that inspired it.
At New York Fashion Week, Baby Phat debuted its first fashion show on September 15, 1999. The performance was broadcast live to the Times Square Jumbotron from Radio City Music Hall. Aaliyah, Lil’ Kim (who also walked the Baby Phat catwalk in 2000), Missy Elliot, Mary J. Blige, and Paris Hilton were among the famous faces who frequently attended Baby Phat fashion shows during New York Fashion Week.
Every Baby Phat presentation ended with Simmons strolling the runway with her kids, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee, in tow. Having my babies on the runway with me is still number one for me as a mother, Simmons said to Refinery29 about being a mother and a businesswoman. However, I also adored our front rows. While many in the company and in society at large lacked the vision or the foresight to do so, the celebrity and musician friends who supported the brand also served as its inspiration. These women were very forward-thinking and pushed the world to embrace the urban lifestyle. This was an action. People overlook that.
As one of the first women of color to lead a stable of fashion companies, Simmons was eventually appointed president and creative director of Phat Fashions, which includes Baby Phat, Phat Farm, Baby Phat Girlz, and Phat Farm Boys. Simmons established a whole new category of urban lifestyle clothing and accessories made for women by women while serving as Creative Director of Baby Phat.
Due to Baby Phat’s commercial success (the business was once thought to be worth over $1 billion) and cultural impact, Phat Fashions eventually expanded into a wide range of new product categories, including jewelry, handbags, footwear, swimwear, outerwear, infant accessories, and fragrance, all of which were sold on a global level. Six further perfumes were eventually added to the Baby Phat fragrance line: Goddess, Golden Goddess, Seductive Goddess, Fabulosity, Luv Me, and Dare Me, the last of which was created in collaboration with COTY Fragrances.
Simmons broke up relations with Phat Fashions and its parent firm Kellwood in 2010. Simmons revealed her new role as President and Creative Director of JustFab, a personalized shopping website, the following year. Simmons held this position until 2015.
After leaving JustFab, Simmons started working on the creation of a new fashion brand. KLS by Kimora Lee Simmons unveiled its first collection in the 2015 pre-fall fashion season. The women’s clothing line bearing the same name sells luxury clothing in the American designer segment at entry-level prices. Following development, KLS by Kimora Lee Simmons was promoted for nationwide designer placement in upscale boutiques like Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, and Farfetch.
Reacquisition of Baby Phat
On March 8, 2019, International Women’s Day, Simmons gave the opening remarks at the She Innovates initiative launch organized by UN Women’s Gender Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC). There, Simmons informed Bloomberg News about Kimora Lee Simmons’ repurchase and impending return of Baby Phat. The new Baby Phat would continue the brand’s initial iteration’s commitment to female empowerment by being a woman-owned, woman-led, and, as always, designed for women by women company.
In the summer of 2019, Baby Phat rebooted, and in the following fall, the brand unveiled a new signature line. The relaunch of Baby Phat, according to Simmons in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, would include a mainstream athletic line for millennials that is aimed at mid-tier retail. Over the past few years, we have come to understand that Baby Phat has a strong emotional resonance with people. Young people value messaging that is akin to what Baby Phat represented in its heyday and still can today, and they are hungry for design with a purpose.
Entrepreneurship and investment portfolio
A diversified portfolio of investments in start-up and cutting-edge companies in industries like fashion, skin care, consumer goods, and technology has been amassed by Simmons. Among these investments are Pureform Global, the first producer of all-natural, non-cannabis CBD products, Celsius, a “clean energy” zero calorie drink purchased in 2015, and Codage, a high-tech skin care company with French roots. Simmons co-founded Pellequr, a Beverly Hills spa with a creative spin on the standard Korean spa, in the spring of 2019. Simmons is said to have accumulated a net worth of more than $200 million from her different enterprises and investments.
Advocacy and philanthropy
The history of Simmons’ generosity is extensive. She has long had a position on the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation board.
In support of PETA’s Be an Angel to Dogs campaign, which urged for more humane treatment in the care and keeping of domestic pets, Simmons contributed her name and picture to the group in 2008. Martin Izquierdo, a costume designer best renowned for creating the angel wings worn by models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, created the wings Simmons is wearing in the advertisement. Simmons has joined PETA in protests as well. She also gave $20,000 to the PETA Angel for Animals Project, which builds strong, personalized dog shelters for stray canines.
The mayor of St. Louis honored Simmons’s accomplishments to society by handing her the key to the city and proclaiming March 14 Kimora Day at a homecoming ceremony held at Washington University in St. Louis on March 14, 2008.
With a personal donation of $1,000,000, Simmons started the Kimora Lee Simmons Scholarship Fund at FIT in 2014 to support fashion-minded students from underrepresented groups. Additionally, Simmons actively supports the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Keep a Child Alive, The G&P Foundation, amfAR, and
Along with her daughters, Simmons has devoted a great deal of her time to aiding migrating women, children, and refugees fleeing war, persecution, and natural disasters in their native countries. Simmons has contributed to the funding of the distribution of reusable feminine hygiene products and supplies to communities of migrant and refugee women entering Europe through Greece as the Lead Global Ambassador for the intimate health NGO The Unmentionables. In 2017, Simmons and her family joined The Unmentionables on a relief mission to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s damage.
In order to promote industry-wide change and advance women and girls in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, Simmons spoke in 2018 to The Global Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC), which was founded in collaboration with UN Women. She is currently working to promote gender equality in the workplace as a Global Innovator for Change. In order to help UN Women and GICC launch its She Innovates and Gender Innovation Principles calls to action, Simmons collaborated with them in September 2018.
All net earnings from the sale of the special, limited-edition All Smiles Are Beautiful t-shirt created by Simmons and Baby Phat in collaboration with Smile Train in 2021 will fund Smile Train’s initiatives promoting the mental health of children with cleft palates.
In August 2022, Family Dollar and Crayola joined together with Simmons, Baby Phat, and Phat Farm to offer a back-to-school giveaway that benefited Los Angeles-area families who were struggling financially. The Boys and Girls Club of Carson served as the venue for the event. Baby Phat and Phat Farm gave hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of school supplies, including backpacks, stationery, and art supplies, together with Crayola and Family Dollar. Boys and Girls Clubs in the Southeast Virginia and Atlanta regions also received some of these goods.
Kimora Lee Simmons Personal life
In December 1998, Kimora Perkins wed Russell Simmons. They had two daughters: Ming Lee Simmons (born in January 2000) and Aoki Lee Simmons (born in August 2002) before getting divorced in 2009.
Kenzo Lee Hounsou, the first child Simmons had with actor and model Djimon Hounsou, was born in May 2009. She reportedly wed investment banker Tim Leissner in February 2014, and the pair welcomed their first child together in April 2015, a son they named Wolf Lee Leissner. Simmons added Gary Lee Foster to her family in 2020, giving her a total of five kids. Simmons and Leissner were confirmed to be estranged from one another in February 2022, while it is unclear exactly when the couple broke up.
Kimora Lee Simmons Media and filmography
Simmons has experience in the television industry as a producer, reality star, actress, and host. On the weekly music and pop culture television program One World Music Beat, which ran in syndication from 1998 to 2001, she was one of three hosts. Simmons also contributed to the VH1 programs Party Fabulous and Uncut New York Fashion Week. Tyra Banks and Simmons co-hosted the first season of America’s Next Top Model as judges in 2003.
On the Style Network, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane debuted in 2007. The reality show chronicles Simmons’s day-to-day activities as she balances her responsibilities as a mother and a businesswoman. From 2007 through 2011, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane was broadcast. Simmons produced four episodes of the show’s first season in addition to acting in it, and he executive produced ten episodes from 2009 to 2010.
The Style Network launched Kimora: House of Fab in 2013. This second reality series focuses primarily on Simmons’ professional life as the Creative Director of online fashion firm JustFab, in contrast to Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, which features scenes from both Simmons’ personal and professional lives. Kimora: House of Fab included eight episodes, each of which had Simmons as a star and executive producer. The show ran for one season.
For her role as a producer on the Broadway production of Def Poetry Jam, Simmons won a Tony Award in 2003.
Kimora Lee Simmons Other media
Fabulosity: What It Is & How to Get It, written by Simmons, was released by Harper Entertainment in 2006. The Washington Post and Boston Globe, among other outlets, gave the female empowerment lifestyle guide positive ratings.
Simmons joined the countless athletes, media personalities, and entertainers who have sported milk mustaches for the Got Milk? campaign in 2006.
The Kimora Lee Simmons Barbie Doll was launched by Mattel in February 2008. The doll, which is dressed in a faux chinchilla floor-length coat, bright pink thigh-high boots, a miniskirt, and a peplum top, was designed at Simmons’ request to represent the brand identity she has developed throughout her life’s numerous undertakings.
In movies and television, Simmons has played a variety of characters in Waist Deep, Brown Sugar, and Beauty Shop. She has additionally appeared in the “Nice and Slow” music video by Usher, “Tap Out” by Rich Gang, and “Nice and Slow” by Ginuwine. Simmons has served as a cohost of the dedicated talk show Life & Style on Sony Television.
Kimora Lee Simmons Background
Designer, entrepreneur, and former fashion model Kimora Lee Simmons. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 4, 1975. Although she was adopted by an American family during the Korean War, her mother, who is of Japanese and Korean ancestry, was raised in the United States. Her father, who is of African American origin, held a variety of jobs, including barber, bail bondsman, federal marshal, and investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a result of his drug dealing, he received a prison sentence. Simmons was raised by her mother following the separation of her parents.
Kimora, who was raised in the suburbs of St. Louis, had a challenging time in school because the other students made fun of her for being so tall and for having mixed heritage. She was already 5 feet 10 inches tall when she was 11 years old. Her mother put her in a modeling class the next year to boost her confidence. In St. Louis, she completed her high school education at Lutheran North.
When she participated in a Kansas City-based model search at the age of 13, an agent from Paris Agency Glamour saw her. She signed an exclusive deal with Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld when she was 14 years old. In 1989, she served as his haute couture line’s show finale.
Kimora soon attracted a lot of interest from the fashion world. Additionally, she was given modeling contracts by Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. In a few interviews, she talked about how her height—which was once seen by her classmates as gangly and awkward—was now to her benefit. In Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, Harper’s Bazaar featured her on their monthly covers.
At the 1992 New York City Fashion Week, Kimora was 17 years old when she first met Russell Simmons. At the time, Simmons was 35 years old. The ceremony was performed by Simmons’ brother, a licensed preacher, on a Caribbean island. 1998 saw their marriage and 2006 saw their divorce. Additionally, the couple shared two daughters. Djimon Hounsou, an actor and model, and Simmons first met in March 2007. The couple wed in a customary Benin ceremony in 2008, and a son was born the following year. However, they were never formally wed according to American law. They split up at the conclusion of 2012. She had a son with Tim Leissner, a banker, who was her next husband.
Simmons held the positions of CEO of Phat Fashions LLC and Creative Director of Baby Phat during her first marriage. She started the high-end sportswear brand KLS in 2007. She was fired from that position in 2010, allegedly for exceeding budgets on her projects and paying a very high salary to herself. Since then, she has worked as the Creative Director and President of a shopping website called JustFab and created an affordable clothing line for Macy’s department store. Kimora Lee Simmons has additionally made appearances in a number of films and television programs, including Waist Deep, Cycle 1, Brown Sugar, and America’s Next Top Model.
She has also had her own reality program called “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane” and has appeared in rap music videos. She has published many perfume lines and a self-help book.
Kimora Lee Simmons Trivia
She became one of the top fashion models in the world thanks to Karl Lagerfeld, who disliked her attitude and referred to her as a “$5,000 tote-bag wearing monster.”
After Gianni Versace’s assassination, she acquired most of the decorative items and furniture from his estate.
The godmother of Ming Lee’s daughter is Tyra Banks.
Tyra Banks, a model and actress, is Kimora’s best friend and was Kimora’s maid of honor at her wedding.
Half African American, half Korean, and half Japanese, Kimora is. Mother Joanne Kyoko Perkins is half Korean, half Japanese, and father Vernon Whitlock Jr. is African-American.
Russell Simmons, whom she later married, wooed her by sending floral bouquets to her agency. Two men were needed to move the flowers because they were so big and heavy.
Before she got her driver’s license, she purchased a used BMW drop-top when she was fifteen. She was in a vehicle accident, and her face required 40 stitches.
She had a modeling contract with Coco Chanel at the age of thirteen.
Has 5 children: son Kenzo Lee Hounsou (born May 30, 2009) with ex-fiancé Djimon Hounsou, daughters Ming Lee Simmons (born January 21, 2000) and Aoki Lee Simmons (born August 16, 2002) with ex-husband Russell Simmons, and adoptive sons Gary Lee Leissner (born 2009) and son Wolfe Lee Leissner (born April 14, 2015) with husband Tim Leissner.
She was referred to as one of “the four Karlettes” along with Bernadette Jurkowski, Shoshanna Fitzgerald, and Olga Sobolewska, Karl Lagerfeld’s other three fashion models.
Director of creative for Baby Phat Clothing.
Because of her height and Asian background, she was dubbed “Chinky giraffe” by other kids when she was growing up in St. Louis, Missouri.
In her memoir, “Everything about Me is Fake and I’m Perfect,” Janice Dickinson described a rivalry she had with Kimora while they were both contestants on America’s Next Top Model (2003). Dickinson states that while she did critique Kimora’s false nails and hair, she would have been much nicer if the actress had arrived for filming on time.
went to Missouri’s Lutheran High School North in St. Louis.
daughter of black Vernon Whitlock Jr. and his half-Japanese, half-Korean wife Joanne Perkins.
She names Red Lobster Restaurants as her early favorite restaurant.
Kyoko Perkins, her mother, served as a Social Security administrator in the past.
from June 2008 to November 2012, she was engaged to Djimon Hounsou.
She denies that her daughter Aoki is named after model Devon Aoki, despite the fact that she is friends with the latter and hired her for a Baby Phat advertisement campaign.
Her yearly salary is £9,400,000.
Former sister-in-law of Daniel J. Simmons and Joseph Simmons; former daughter-in-law of Daniel Simmons.
has a reality television series of her own, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, which debuted in 2007 on The E! Channel and Style Network.
Director of Creative for Baby Phat Clothing
worked with Mattel to create the Kimora Lee Simmons Barbie, a Gold Label collector Barbie doll, in 2007. With regard to the doll’s appearance and veteran Barbie doll designer Sharon Zuckerman for Mattel, Simmons was infamously highly picky. With a faux fur chinchilla coat, thigh-high boots, handbag, and a pet dog accessory modeled after her dog Zoe, the doll was outfitted in Baby Phat-inspired attire. Additionally, Simmons was adamant that the doll be given the name Barbie and not just a character doll with the Barbie trademark affixed to it. It continues to be one of the more expensive and elusive collector Barbies, with just 12,500 units being made.
is a patient of celebrity nutritionist Oz Garcia.
after marrying Russell Simmons, she changed her name to Kimora Lee Simmons. Even though they ultimately got divorced, Simmons preserved her name.
due to her Afro-Asian parents, is frequently referred to as a Blasian girl.
Who is Kimora Lee Simmons?
Kimora Lee Simmons, better known by her stage as Kimora Lee Simmons, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 4, 1975. Her ancestors are African Americans, Koreans, and Japanese.
When she was eleven years old, her mother enrolled her in a modeling class after learning that she had been made fun of for being tall (she was roughly 6 feet tall when she was ten). She received a modeling contract from Chanel and received training from famed Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld. Kimora, called the “Face of the 21st Century,” served as an inspiration for Lagerfeld as he pushed for more racial diversity in the fashion industry. She then worked as a model for numerous fashion houses, including Fendi, Valentino, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Kenzo, Anna Sui, and Yves Saint Laurent.
How much does Kimora Lee Simmons make per year?
It is unknown what Lee’s real yearly compensation is. She is thought to be worth roughly $80 million, though.
What investments does Kimora Lee Simmons have?
Kimora is an active participant in real estate investing in addition to her acting profession.
Soon after her divorce from Simmons in 2006, Kimora spent $8.5 million for a 13,000 square foot Beverly Hills home.
Years later, Kimora started renting out her much larger Beverly Hills mansion for up to $55,000 per month after buying it. In July 2023, Kimora sold this house for $16.5 million.
How many Endorsement deals does Kimora Lee Simmons have?
With a few different products and businesses, the well-known actress has endorsement contracts.
Throughout her career, Kimora has collaborated with illustrious modeling agencies like Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.
How many Philanthropy works has Kimora Lee Simmons supported?
Kimora is actively concerned in causes related to animal rights and children’s education.
Similar to this, she has generously given to Africa, especially in the fields of healthcare and education for the underprivileged.
How many businesses does Kimora Lee Simmons own?
Kimora has dabbled in a number of commercial ventures, including a line of cosmetics, perfumes, and even a reality TV program.
In 1998, Russell Simmons, Kimora’s husband at the time, served as the brand’s president. He started the Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons women’s collection, which was sold through Phat Fashions.
Kimora assumed the job of Baby Phat’s fashion designer and created clothing based on her personal preferences. She was appointed the brand’s President and Creative Director in 2000. Baby Phat generated $30 million in gross sales in 2001, and the total income of the Phat Farm and Baby Phat brands reached $265 million in 2002. The Kellwood Company paid $140 million for Phat Fashions in 2004, while Kimora stayed as President and Creative Director.
She handled the brand’s diversification into a variety of goods, such as jeans, jewelry, swimwear, and accessory and accessory lines. She left the company in 2010 after being named President of Phat Fashions in 2006.
Despite leaving the company, she kept ownership of all licensing rights for her line of fragrances and cosmetics. “Baby Phat Goddess” from 2005, “Golden Goddess,” “Seductive Goddess,” “Baby Phat Fabulosity,” “Luv Me,” and “Baby Phat Dare Me” are a few of the scents. Across the country, they were offered for sale in department stores like Sears and Macy’s. She disclosed that she had repurchased Baby Phat in 2019.
The Simmons Jewellery Company, which sold jewelry under the Phat Farm and Baby Phat labels, was also started by Kimora. Additionally, she worked for Sanrio Ltd. She debuted the “Kimora Lee Simmons for Hello Kitty” line in 2006; Neiman Marcus carried it.
Zales Corporation released a new Hello Kitty collection in 2008. In 2006, she also worked with Sephora and Macy’s to create KLS Cosmetics, her own cosmetics line.
She kept up her relationship with Macy’s, launching her KLS fashion line with the retailer in 2010 and the Kouture by Kimora line that was only available at Macy’s. In order to create an anti-aging skincare item for multi-ethnic ladies, Kimora teamed up with the Swiss skincare company Makari deSuisse in 2011.