Kimora Lee Simmons is proud that her daughter Aoki has followed her passion. The mother of five, 47-year-old Kimora Lee Simmons, spoke out to PEOPLE Thursday. She said that it was “absolutely absurd” for people to criticize Aoki, a Harvard student, for modeling despite her Ivy League education.
“I love that she is trying to follow in my footsteps. It’s also a shame because I might not have been able to have the same success as them. Kimora spoke with PEOPLE about the Back to School Giveaway, which she hosted with Baby Phat Family Dollar Dollar Tree, and Crayola. She said, “Mom, you should feel proud.” This is aspirational. People want to do this. Sometimes, you don’t want your children to experience hardships. That’s what any mother would say, I believe.
She said, “If it’s hard and it’s not easy and it’s a bit janky. It’s not hard to see why you would want to do it. We love a clumsy, educated queen. She is an educated, clumsy Queen.”
She is supportive of her daughter’s ability to balance school and modeling.
“We wish Aoki all the best, and she is aware of that. It doesn’t matter if it’s behind the scenes or in front of it, it doesn’t take anything away. She said that she had probably witnessed it with her mom. It doesn’t make one a better businessperson, a better student, a better student of the world, or a better model. It is important to pursue all your passions.
Aoki addressed criticisms earlier this month about her modeling career while she was studying at Harvard.
One of her videos was commented on by a TikTok fan who asked, “You are so articulate and clearly educated.. why did you choose to model?” Aoki raised concerns about the idea that someone couldn’t be both a model and college-educated. She made a video to address it.
“Well, one is that models don’t lack education and are articulate. But two, I think you really mean, “Why am I going to a field that doesn’t necessarily require a degree?” Aoki stated.
She continued, “Well, one because I love it. And I think we should normalize liking things.” “You don’t have to do only what you are naturally good at.”
Aoki, who made her runway debut in 2013 modeling for Pyer Moss Paris Couture, has also posed for Just Fab and her family’s Baby Phat lines. She explained that she started playing volleyball at the age of five and is naturally good at it. However, that didn’t mean she wanted to continue her pursuit of volleyball for the rest of her life.
She said that “You can be great at something but not want to do it forever.”
“I want to see a world where young women don’t have to ask this question. It’s like not being asked, “Why did you choose to follow your creative passion even though it’s smart?” Aoki encouraged her viewers to do what they love in her video.
“I want to change the notion that one can be smart and beautiful or vice versa. I don’t think you can be both. Two types of people can exist in the same person.