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‘Doesn’t Make You Any More or Less…of a Student’: Kimora Lee Simmons Defends Daughter’s Decision to Pursue Modeling While at Harvard, Calls Backlash ‘Absurd’


Kimora Lee Simmons believes her daughter Aoki Lee Simmons  can do it all, including following in her mother’s footsteps as a model and pursuing a degree at Harvard University. 

The iconic fashion designer opened up about the criticisms in a new interview with People, during which she said it was “absolutely absurd” that people questioned the 20-year-old’s decision to enter the industry amid getting an Ivy League education.

“I love it that she’s trying to follow in my footsteps. But also, I think it’s a pain because if I had had some of what they have, maybe I wouldn’t have been a model. But I think it’s just looking at different sides of a coin,” Kimora told reporters at a recent  Back to School Giveaway event, which she hosted in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Baby Phat, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and Crayola.

The Baby Phat founder wishes her daughter “the best,” noting that her child “knows that.” She continued, “So whether it’s in front of the camera or behind the scenes, it doesn’t take away anymore. And I think she’s probably seen that with her mom.”

“It doesn’t make you any more or less of a business person or any more or less of a student or a student of the world or any more or less than a model,” The successful businesswoman noted. “It’s important to explore all your passions.”

Kimora’s remarks come just days after her daughter confronted a TikTok user who wrote, “You’re so articulate and obviously educated .. how come u chose modeling?” 

The burgeoning model mildly reproved the individual, stating, “Well, one, because I love it, and I think we should normalize liking something. You don’t have to do what you’re immediately good at.”

She added, “I would like to change the idea that you can’t be smart and pretty, or you can’t be smart and enjoy your looks or enjoy a creative, beauty- [and] fashion-based career. You can be two kinds of people in one person.”

Aoki made her runway debut walking in the Pyer Moss Couture Show as part of Paris Couture Fashion Week in July 2021.

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