Kimora Lee Simmons is an international fashion mogul, mother, model and wife whose life story is widely known. She broke into the world of modeling in the early 1990s when there were little or no models of color working the runway. After blazing a trail in the modeling world for numerous fashion houses, including Chanel when she was just 13, she took to the fashion world in a creative way by launching her own lines and eclipsed her runway career's success.
On the latest season of Life in the Fab Lane, Kimora Lee Simmons is launching her new fashion line, KLS -- further expanding her clothing empire.
Simmons sat down with us for an exclusive chat about her Life in the Fab Lane and what it takes for her to stay on top.
SheKnows: First of all, congratulations on the fourth season and just curious, how is it going so far for you and the family?
Kimora Lee Simmons: It's going great. I wrapped the season over the holidays and we just got back from vacation with the family and we're all ready for the New Year. So we're very excited and happy.
SheKnows: It's the fifth season. I would think it would be a little odd with the cameras being around all the time, does it get easier as the years go by?
Kimora Lee Simmons: I think the thing you need to know about my show is that it's not rigged up in your house 24 hours a day like if you remember when The Osbournes first came out and they were doing this kind of first. It's not that. It's not like that I Spy kind of thing where the bathroom is rigged up. My show is based on the fashion business. The whole premise behind it is model mogul mom. I was a model and then I turned into a businesswoman in fashion. Then, obviously, being a mother is my number one priority -- but it's not like there's cameras around you all the time. It's more a controlled environment.
SheKnows: Is it safe to say you're enjoying the run so far?
Kimora Lee Simmons: It's kind of tough. A lot, actually. It's not an easy job. People ask me that all the time because I've done it so long and people always what to know how that is. It's definitely not easy. It definitely will test your patience or your temper, but I think that certainly in my case, we have a great show with a great network. It's a lot of fun [laughs]. I'm really proud of our show. A lot of families tell me that they watch my show with their kids or their parents. In that sense I'm very proud of what we're offering. It's fun. It's fashion and hopefully it's a little educational.
SheKnows: I'm sure there are people who have looked up to you in your career in fashion and of course your work as a businesswoman. Seeing that the show is based around your fashion career, have you come across people who have said you are an inspiration?
Kimora Lee Simmons: I think that's the number one premise of the show is that it is hopefully inspirational. I definitely hope that I've inspired people by opening up the world to go out and do it for yourself. That's the whole point. The whole point is not seeing me do it. There's always a takeaway on our show that will educate you to be able to do something yourself. Hopefully it inspires people to follow a dream or create a business or become an entrepreneur. I have a lot of moms who wanted to get back to work or pursue their dreams, so I hope I have inspired people to do that.
Kimora Lee Simmons: I always tell moms or women, or people in general, you don't have to be the hero. I think in Hollywood a lot of people have hero's syndrome. It's like, I just had a baby, now I have six kids at home, I just won an Oscar, my book's a bestseller and I'm a size zero. I'm not really that. I'm far from a size zero. I have a lot of kids. I'm on my second husband and I have a lot of successful businesses and a great show. I try to juggle things around my family and my kids first. Obviously my family is my first priority. I have help. I have the support of family members and neighbors and friends. I think it's important that you also take time for yourself -- to take a little moment and take a little breather. You have to have a balance because if you don't recharge your batteries, you won't be worth much to the people around you that you love.
SheKnows: You don't strike me as someone who has resisted being the center of attention…
Kimora Lee Simmons: No, I'm kind of like my daughters [laughs]. They're really outgoing, big personalities. I feel like I've always had a sunshiny attitude about life. I feel I've come through a lot of adversity with my ethnic background, growing up and being taller and looking different than everybody else. I've come through a lot that I've had to understand how to take life by the horns and make the best of not such a great situation. I write about that in my book. If you go in a room and look timid and scared, that's okay. But, if you look it and act it, then people are going to think you're a bitch. On the opposite side, if you're loud and crack too many jokes, you're a bitch too. You just can't escape being a bitch. But I'm not going to be a bitch because I'm timid and sucked in. I'm very outgoing and an exuberant personality and I feel like it's been with me all the time.
SheKnows: Coming up in the fashion world -- did you have any fashion icons that you looked up to, either models or designers? There weren't a lot of ethnic models when you or I were growing up.
Kimora Lee Simmons: Yeah, there weren't a lot. Totally. I think when I was coming up, at about 13, Karl Lagerfeld was big. I learned a lot about him, just about life, culture and people. I was raised by a single mom, a working mom and so I looked up to her a lot. I looked up to people like Diana Ross, my Barbie doll [laughs], people that had a bigger than life persona. There weren't a lot of icons of color when I was coming up.
SheKnows: So do you take the fact that people look up to you very seriously because of that?
Kimora Lee Simmons: Yeah, I think it's crazy. I sometimes search my name online and you hear people are talking about you, that they learned so much from you. There are a lot of people out there who really look up to me and there are a lot of kids named Kimora [laughs]. I think that's a cool thing. They have this list of celebrity names that have become baby names -- my name's on that list! Hopefully in some way I can inspire other people to come outside of their shell and do great things for themselves. I'm living proof that they can.
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