Kimora Lee Simmons is opening up about life after her split with Djimon and her “fabulous” life…
In an interview with Daily Mail Kimora runs her mouth about pretty much everything. Peep the quotes:
On Her Big Personality And Career:
Kimora Lee Simmons could never be described as a woman who does things by halves. Big hair, big heels, big attitude: as she herself says, ‘I have a really big mouth, I have a lot of opinions and I will be heard.’
It’s a tactic which has propelled her from being the only child of a single mother growing up in St Louis, Missouri, to becoming a Chanel runway model at 13, girlfriend (and subsequent wife) of hip hop mogul Russell Simmons at 17 and now president and creative director of the online fashion website, JustFab.
As she herself explains: ‘I’m very determined, honest, open and definitely very energetic. I expect a lot as a boss and I’m very demanding, but I ask that of myself too.’
‘After Life in the Fab Lane [Kimora's previous show] which had sprinklings of my family life in it, I really wanted to show the workings of an office and how a team works together to build a brand,’ she says, altogether softer and more quiet than her on-screen persona. ‘It’s like The Office,’ she says, referring to the Ricky Gervais-inspired series, ‘but a lot more organized.’
On Her Weight:
Part of her appeal to women lies in her self-confidence and her positive body image (admittedly not difficult to muster when you’re as striking as she is), ‘but I’ve faced rejection time and time again and I’ve been lots of different sizes,’ she says.
‘I’ve had times when I’ve been much bigger and much smaller so that you could see my ribs and I look back at some pictures and it was awful to me. But it’s all OK because I’m comfortable with myself now. It’s about being healthy and active and having a crazy schedule and running after my three kids, so I probably eat very sporadically – lots of smaller meals and snacks. It’s just about having an active lifestyle.’
It has spawned books (Fabulosity: What It Is and How to Get It) and perfumes (Baby Phat Fabulosity) and, says Kimora, ‘I came up with that phrase many years ago and people just seem to love it. It’s about knowing that we come with so much that is already fabulous but knowing also that we can always improve and be better.
‘It’s not about how skinny you are or how much money or how many diamonds you have – that’s the fluff that people sometimes look at as being the main thing. It’s about understanding that the things that make you fabulous are all inside of you.’
On Her Childhood:
Growing up an only child in Missouri, Kimora was still a young girl when her parents separated, leaving her mother, Joanne Perkins, to raise her alone. ‘A lot of my ideals come from my mom,’ she says, ‘and seeing what she sacrificed for me and how hard she worked definitely shaped me.’
Did her mother constantly tell her she was fabulous? ‘Well, I think people used different words for it back then!’ Kimora laughs. ‘But she was definitely the prototype of strong womanhood for me and it’s where I get a lot of my determination from.’
Her exotic ancestry (Kimora is of Korean, Japanese and African-American descent) meant that growing up in the Midwest in the mid-Seventies and Eighties presented its own particular set of problems. ‘I was bullied and picked on because I was so different to everyone else,’ she says, ‘and I definitely didn’t believe or even know I was fabulous back then. But those hard times made me everything I am today. It’s all water under the bridge now, but being bullied and going through adversity definitely made me stronger.’
To improve Kimora’s confidence, her mother enrolled her in a modelling class when she was ten years old and after embarking on her modelling career at the age of 13, Kimora was chosen by Karl Lagerfeld to model for Chanel, where she went on to walk the runways of Paris, Milan and New York.
‘That was a real turning point for me,’ admits Kimora, ‘because everything that people considered weird about me before, well, suddenly Karl Lagerfeld said it was OK. He’s one of the biggest names in fashion, so all of a sudden it gave me a validity and introduced me to a whole other world.’
On Her Relationships:
By the time she had turned 17, Kimora had already caught the eye of Russell Simmons, co-founder of the Def Jam label as well as creator of the Phat Farm clothing line (Kimora is former creative director and co-founder of its subsidiary, Baby Phat). She married him at 23 and though the couple separated in 2006, Simmons occasionally pops up in Kimora’s various TV shows with their two daughters Ming, now 13, and Aoki, ten.
Kimora subsequently went on to marry actor Djimon Hounsou (best known for his roles in Blood Diamond and Amistad) and although they have a three-year-old son Kenzo, the couple separated at the end of last year. She deftly sidesteps the reasons as to why her five-year union with Hounsou didn’t last, but says: ‘Relationships do change throughout the course of your life and I always think in terms of relationships changing and evolving rather than starting and stopping.
‘Kids never go away from your life and if you’ve been married, that person probably never goes away either. You never get rid of anyone and,’ she laughs, ‘they never really get rid of you!’
Although she says she is on friendly terms with her ex-husbands, she admits: ‘Gosh, it’s not always so easy, but I try to do everything from the viewpoint of what’s best for my kids. I have three kids and two great dads and it’s not always easy, but you have to try to be a little selfless and we manage just fine.’
Though Kimora was recently linked with heavyweight boxer Malik ‘King’ Scott, she says now: ‘I’m not with anyone at the moment – it’s just my kids and their two dads I guess’ and one wonders whether all that rampant fabulosity might not be a touch intimidating for some men.
‘Well, I think they are sometimes [intimidated],’ she admits, ‘but men are intimidated by a lot of things, you know, such as jobs and bit of determination. They have a lot of insecurities about who we are, what we have, what we look like, what we’ve accomplished and what we’re capable of because we’re fabulous and capable of doing so much and juggling so much every day.
‘People might be mad I’m saying this, but [men] do have a lot of hang-ups. But that shouldn’t deter you ladies from being great! You don’t have to dumb down – you just have to find a clever, good, secure man. I’ve found a couple – I’ve been lucky – but it’s probably hard for everybody to find that true love of a good man.’
On Growing Up Too Fast:
‘Oh my gosh, I did,’ she exclaims. ‘I was modelling at ten, I married very young and I’ve done everything pretty early. I always joke that I’ve had several midlife crises already! I’ve definitely made mistakes along the way,’ she admits, ‘but I’ve got a good head on my shoulders and,’ she adds in a rare moment of understated fabulosity, ‘things have turned out pretty well so far.’
Have you been watching Kimora’s newest show? Who do you think she’ll get with next? We have a feeling that this Djimon business still ain’t really OVER.