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Kimora Lee Simmons (born Kimora Lee Perkins; May 4, 1975) is an American fashion model, author, and the president and Creative Director for Phat Fashions. Formerly the Creative Director of Baby Phat, Simmons became CEO of Phat Fashions after ex-husband Russell Simmons stepped down. A 2007 reality television show, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, focuses on her life as a mother and CEO of Phat Fashions. She has appeared in music videos and was a judge on the first season of America's Next Top Model. She will return to the show as a judge starting with cycle 14.

Early life

Simmons was born in St. Louis, Missourimarker and is of Asian and African American descent. Her mother is Joanne Perkins, a Korean-Japanese who was adopted by an American serviceman during the Korean War. She now goes by her own mother's Japanese name, Kyoko. The name Kimora is a play on the Japanese surname Kimura. Her father is African American Vernon Whitlock Jr., who previously worked as a Federal Marshal, a Social Security Administrator, and then a barber in St. Louis.

Growing up in the northern St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Missourimarker, Simmons was the target of schoolyard bullying and teasing, because of her height and Asian ancestry. By the time she was 10 years old, she was 5 feet, 10 inches tall. There was no Asian influence or population in her community. Simmons' mother enrolled her daughter in a modeling class when she was eleven years old. Two years later she was discovered by Marie-Christine Kollock (a representative for seminal Paris Agency Glamour) at a Model Search in St. Louis (organized by Kay Mitchell) and sent to Parismarker. Simmons was awarded an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel and just after her thirteenth birthday, went to work under the tutelage of famed Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.

She quickly gained attention in the fashion world when Lagerfeld closed his haute couture show with Simmons, who strutted down the runway decked out as a child bride. "Everything people thought was weird about me before," Simmons told People Weekly, "was now good". By age 14, she had grown to a height of six feet.

Simmons is a graduate of Lutheran High School North in St. Louis, Missouri.

Fashion business

In 2004 Russell Simmons sold Phat Farm to Kellwood Company for $140 million. When Russell stepped down as CEO of Phat Fashions LLC in September 2007, Kimora — who was already Creative Director of Baby Phat (which was a branch off Phat Farm Industries) — was promoted by Kellwood to President and Creative Director of Phat Fashions. It is Simmons' goal to fashion Baby Phat, launched in 1999, into an "aspirational lifestyle brand." Her couture line, KLS, launched in Fall 2007.

A self-help book written by Simmons, Fabulosity: What It Is and How to Get It, was published by HarperEntertainment in February 2006. The book is set to function as a 'lifestyle manual' on everything from spirituality and finances to fashion and beauty.

In February 2007, Simmons' Barbie doll was launched, created under the direction of Simmons. She has also launched four perfumes for women: Goddess, Golden Goddess, Seductive Goddess and recently, Baby Phat Fabulosity.


Simmons has appeared in small roles in television and films including Beauty Shop along with Queen Latifah and Waist Deep. She has also appeared in music videos for Ginuwine, Usher, and made a brief appearance as one of the several beautiful women surrounding the police chief in the 2000 film, Little Nicky.

In 2003, Simmons signed on as one of the judges on America's Next Top Model, Cycle 1, and it was reported Simmons may return to the judging panel for Cycle 14. She has also been a co-host of Sony Television's syndicated talk show Life & Style.

On August 5, 2007 her reality TV show premiered on Style Network. Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane chronicles her daily life and routine, along with her relationship with her two daughters Ming Lee and Aoki Lee Simmons. It now re-airs on E! Entertainment Television. Season two premiered on the Style network on April 20, 2008.

Personal life

On December 20, 1998, she married Russell Simmons. They have two daughters; Ming Lee (born January 2000) and Aoki Lee (born August 2002). Both Ming Lee and Aoki Lee model for Baby Phat Kids Collection. They live in the town of Saddle River, New Jerseymarker.

Simmons and her husband officially separated in March 2006, saying the couple had split some time before, but still lived together. They would continue to work together on Phat Farm and Baby Phat clothing lines.

By March 2007, Simmons was dating actor and model Djimon Hounsou. In March 2008 she officially filed for divorce from Russell Simmons, which was finalized in January 2009. She gave birth to a baby boy with Hounsou in May 2009, named Kenzo Lee Hounsou.

She established the Kimora Lee Simmons Scholarship Fund at her high school alma mater in St. Louismarker to provide college tuition support for academically successful girls with financial needs and is an active member of youth advocacy organizations including Amfar, The G&P Foundation, Keep a Child Alive, Hetrick-Martin Institute and Rush Philanthropic where she is on the Board of Directors. The mayor of St. Louis presented Simmons the key to the city and named March 18, 2008 "Kimora Day" in St. Louis.


Year Film Role Notes
1993 For Love or Money Model Alternative title: The Concierge
1999 The Big Tease Dick Miyaki's Hair Model
2005 Beauty Shop Denise
Rebound Female Reporter #1
2006 Waist Deep Fencing House Lady
Year Title Role Notes
2001 For Your Love Shamira 1 episode


  1. Russell's hip-hip birthday gift (April 26, 2004) People. Accessed 2008-02-19.
  3. 'Fabulosity,' by Kimora Lee Simmons (review January 22, 2006) Accessed 2007-12-20.
  4. Phoebe Eaton (June 14, 2004) Kimora Lee Simmons, the New Queen of Conspicuous Consumption New York Magazine. Accessed 2007-12-20.
  5. Galina Espinoza (July 1, 2002). Phat Cats. People. Accessed 2009-03-02.
  6. Lee's 'Fabulosity'. (December 2, 2005) ABC News 20/20. Accessed 2009-05-21.
  7. Julee Greenberg (February 1, 2007) The Dressy Side of Kimora (page 10) WWD. Accessed 2009-05-21.
  8. - Welcome to the official Mattel site for Barbie Collector
  9. Stephen M. Silverman with Tiffany McGee (March 31, 2006) Russell, Kimora Lee Simmons Split People. Accessed 2007-12-20.
  10. Russell Simmons Okay with Kimora & Djimon (March 6, 2007) People. Accessed 2008-01-21.
  11. Kimora Lee Simmons files for divorce (March 26, 2008) MSNBC. Accessed 2008-05-17.
  12. Russell, Kimora Lee Simmons settle on child support. (February 27, 2009). USA Today. Accessed 2009-03-02.
  13. Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou Expecting a Baby! (January 16, 2009). Us Magazine. Accessed 2009-01-16.
  14. Sarah Michaud and Missy Ritt (May 31, 2009) Kimora Lee Simmons, Djimon Hounsou Have a Boy People. Accessed 2009-06-28.
  15. Kimora Lee'S Designer Baby (June 3, 2009) New York Post. Accessed 2009-06-28.
  16. Kimora Lee Simmons Helps Launch St Louis Fashion Week. (March 19, 2008) Apparel Search. Accessed 2009-05-05.

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