For weeks, the eldest daughter of hip hop legend Russell Simmons and former model and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons has faced criticisms from trolls online, slamming her decision to pursue a college degree and follow in her mother’s footsteps of becoming a fashion model.
Aoki Lee Simmons has defended herself countless times on social media, addressing the matter with various Tik Tok videos. She even received some encouraging words from her trailblazing mother, who championed the 19-year-old’s decision, telling People in a recent interview, “It’s important to explore all your passions.”
The aspiring model is now calling out professors who claim what she’s doing “is real work” and have a hard time understanding her hectic schedule as she heads to New York Fashion Week, one of the most prominent events in the industry.
In the short video, Aoki uses a running greenscreen effect to appear as if the police are chasing her. The clip features the rap lyrics “it’s cool when they do it, it’s a problem when I do it, f*ck ‘em” from the song “Back End” by Tennessee-based rapper Finese2Tymes.
She captioned the post, “When professors love being accommodating for students with jobs and work opportunities they ‘respect’ but modeling isn’t real work in their opinions.” She added, “Maybe if I had a lacrosse game you’d give me the zoom link?”
Aoki later returned with another post providing further insight into her previous remarks while answering questions from online users.
“I’m not comparing myself to students who have jobs that they’re using to support themselves financially or support their families. I was referring to just students who choose to start work early because they have an opportunity or they have an interest — and professors [are] kind of picking and choosing what kind of ‘dreams’ are appropriate to chase.
She added, “And the ones that are not ‘appropriate’ to chase tend to be creative or feminine — modeling, dancing, acting, creative pursuits — but professors are fine giving you the zoom link or being accommodating if you’re working on a startup that’s making no money and your family is paying for it because a startup is respectable.”
She contuned, “But someone in the creative field, making money, doing well, getting experiences and being Zoom [inaudible], that’s somehow not ok.”
Aoki claimed professors would hear “modeling” and associate the word with “stupid girl,” and “they just write off the career, even if the career — at that point — is more viable than all these startups you’re supporting, that have no proof of concept and have not made any money yet.”
Aoki was accepted into the Ivy League school at 16 years old. According to her LinkedIn she is seeking a degree in computer science.