‘She’s Clearly Struggling’: Fans Fear Aoki Lee Simmons’ Bold Exit From ‘Dark AF’ Modeling Industry Is a Cry for Help After Recent Scandals

Aoki Simmons may be finally catching a break from fans on social media. Known for her sassy attitude and dishing it right back to the haters, a series of vulnerable Instagram Story posts published on July 5 about her modeling career have a different tone.

Yet some seem genuinely worried after the Harvard grad alluded to stepping away from the “dark af” modeling industry to work on her mental health.

For someone who typically has her sass meter set at 10, the posts came as a shock — and fans think it was a cry for help following her breakup with 66-year-old restaurateur Vittorio Assaf.

Aoki Lee Simmons Vittorio Assaf
Model Aoki Lee Simmons is going through it following breakup with restaurateur Vittorio Assaf, 64.(Photos: @aokileesimmons / @vittorioserafina / Instagram)

Aoki posted a photo of herself looking sad and frankly dejected, writing, “I know lots, in fact, most models go through so much more, including my own mama, but it’s not for me. I’m a personal person, I take things personally. I’m honest and open and take things hard when I feel I was kind and received genuine cruelty (I don’t just mean not booking a job cause that’s life!) but interpersonal cruelty.”

She continued, “Hate to say it [and] I hope I don’t sound ridiculous, but I will not be going back to any kind of fashion week unless I’m mentally prepared for it and feel loved and supported. The last one ruined my mental health.”

Amid a mosaic of unsmiling photos, the 21-year-old goes on to reference her controversial whirlwind relationship with the man nearly the same age as her father.

Less than two weeks after photos emerged of Aoki and Assaf smooching on vacation in the French West Indies this Spring, she and her gray-haired Romeo broke up — and she quickly learned that privacy is a luxury that doesn’t exist for her at the moment.

“And then from this very dark virtually STARVING place I made a bad decision after being coerced for YEARS and the entire internet (24 million hits, if I recall correctly) dragged me through the mud for it,” she wrote.

Perhaps to head off the inevitable gossip about her thin frame, she let fans take a peek inside her fridge, showing that it’s fully stocked with cheese tortellini from Costco and organic snacks. “The health is fully prioritized and no one is going to make me feel like I need to starve to be loved again.”

Ever since the young model and her mother, Kimora Lee Simmons, accused her dad, Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, of emotional and financial abuse in 2023, the glare of the internet has rendered her private life obsolete.

After publicly slamming Simmons for being “flat broke” and joking about finding a “sugar daddy” if she didn’t get more allowance, Aoki hooked up with Assaf in April — and millions of internet onlookers scratched their heads in confusion.

Meanwhile, her social media was flooded with body-shaming posts about her lithe figure, small bust size, and conjecture that she was on drugs.

Aoki has confidently hit back through the controversies, declaring herself a “Founding member of the itty bitty titty committee, thank you very much,” She also shut down rumors about cocaine use, stating in a video, “I don’t do coke. I just like sugar and I’m a nerd.”

But now, after sharing her feelings so publicly, Aoki has inspired mama bear protectiveness online, and supportive comments are flooding in for the distraught model. “It’s ok sis! We all been through something that tried to break us but the beauty in this very vulnerable moment is that YOU chose YOU so the universe will shift in your favor,” wrote one fan.

Many are advising that she seek professional help, “She’s clearly struggling first the old man the issues with Russ this ! This is a lot ! She needs some therapy to work through it! life is hard.”

One sympathetic comment has almost 30,000 likes: “Give her grace. She’s finding her way like we all had to in our 20s, and she’s doing it with an audience.”

But the skeptics are still out there, with one asking, “So modeling made her stop eating and date an older man?!” However, most are just happy that she’s finally working on herself and has a full fridge.

“The fact she posted her food was liberating for her. The fact she been eating air and she can finally eat whatever she wants must feel great,” an IG user summed up.

Since the chaos with her dad and her 65-year-old ex, Aoki has recently moved into her first apartment in New York as the college graduate continues her modeling career.

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