Kimora Lee Simmons Shares Concerns About Daughter Aoki's Modeling Career In ‘Cutthroat Industry’
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Kimora Lee Simmons Shares Concerns About Daughter Aoki's Modeling Career In ‘Cutthroat Industry’

Kimora Lee Simmons has been ripping the runway and defining streetwear culture for decades, and with her daughter, Aoki Lee Simmons, blazing a trail of her own, the supermodel is imparting a few gems to guide her along the way.

During this year’s Teen Vogue Summit 2023, Kimora joined her daughter Aoki in a conversation about navigating the modeling industry and fostering her children’s dreams.

Kimora shares how she’s been able to joyfully watch as her daughter achieves her greatest goals over the years, including becoming Teen Vogue’s September 2023 cover star. In doing so, the runway star reflects on the natural instinct of mothers to desire success for their children but expresses her commitment to letting her daughters make mistakes while providing support.

"It's a mom's natural instinct to want to impose your expectations on your kids. But I'm learning to let my kids make their mistakes and serve as their support,” Kimora shared. “As a mom, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. I just try my best and make sure that the wisdom I pass down comes from a good source."

The Baby Phat founder went on to express concerns about her daughter Aoki's modeling career, fearing she may encounter the “cutthroat” nature of the industry that can cause those within it to feel like they’re not “enough.”

With this in mind, she often reminds Aoki, “to understand that in life you will face rejection because this industry can be so cutthroat. For some, you won't be cool enough, tall enough, or petite enough. I've definitely had my ugly duckling days."

(L-R) Ming Lee Simmons, Aoki Lee Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons attend the Prabal Gurung show during New York Fashion Week: The Show.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Although the fashion mogul has managed to balance being in the public eye since she began her modeling career at the age of 13, along with motherhood and running an era-shaping clothing brand, it’s apparent that Kimora understands the importance of staying grounded. “Truly, who even cares?! Easier said than done. I never want her to have to deal with that part of the industry but all I can do is prepare her,” she says.

When you’ve been in the fashion game long enough to set the trends and see them come full circle, it’s natural to desire a level of evolution within the space — from the clothes to the culture. And while Kimora has seen how far the industry has come, she hopes for greater inclusion and support within the industry; especially for women of color.

“Fashion is an ever-changing industry with the same pitfalls. For women of color specifically, it's changed so much but we still have so far to go,” she says. “These brands claim to always have been so inclusive but that doesn't always pan out to be true. I wish people would practice what they preach.”

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Featured image by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Teen Vogue


Nicole Walters has always been known for two things: her ambition and her ability to recognize when life’s challenges can also double as an inspiring, lucrative brand.

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