Kimora Lee Simmons Responds To Critics Of Aoki’s Modeling Career
Kimora Lee Simmons is putting her parental support to the forefront.
During an interview with PEOPLE, the 47-year-old mother of five declared that it’s “absolutely absurd” that people are criticizing her daughter Aoki, a 20-year-old Harvard student, for wanting to model despite receiving 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," she told the magazine at a Back to School Giveaway event, which she hosted. "Whereas she says, 'Mom, you should be proud.' It's like aspirational, this is what people want to do also. And I just feel like sometimes you don't want your kids to face hardships. I think that's what any mom would say, right?"
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Simmons added: "If I've done it and I know it's tough and I know it's a little janky. Why would you want to do it? But we love an educated clumsy queen. She is an educated, clumsy queen."
The fashion entrepreneur says her daughter is able to balance both school and her modeling career.
"We wish Aoki the best and she knows that. 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," she explained. "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. It's important to explore all your passions.”
Aoki herself responded to criticism earlier this month of her pursuing a modeling career during her studies. On TikTok, a fan commented on one of her videos, questioning, "You're so articulate and obviously educated .. how come u chose modeling?"
"Well, one, models aren't uneducated and not articulate, but two, I think what you're really getting at is, 'Why am I going into a field that doesn't necessarily require a degree or require a whole lot of book smarts when I have a lot of education?'" Aoki replied, taking issue with the inference that someone can't be both college-educated and a model.
"Well, one, because I love it, and I think we should normalize liking something," she continued. "You don't have to do what you're immediately good at."
Aoki made her runway debut last year while modeling for Pyer Moss Paris Couture and has posed for other lines and fashion houses.