Already have an account?
Get back to the

Aoki Lee Simmons on Modeling, Advice From Mom Kimora and How to ‘Focus on the Moment’ (Exclusive)

Aoki Lee Simmons Talks Modeling Career, More
Courtesy of BCBG

Aoki Lee Simmons is definitely ready for her closeup. 

The 21-year-old daughter of supermodel Kimora Lee Simmons and music executive Russell Simmons has her focus set on fashion. (Kimora and Russell, who divorced in 2009 after 11 years of marriage, also share 24-year-old daughter Ming Lee Simmons. ) 

After graduating from Harvard last year and rocking the Sergio Hudson runway during New York Fashion Week in February 2023, Aoki is further solidifying her modeling and fashion career by starring in BCBG New York’s spring 2024 collection visuals. 

Aoki fiercely shows off the high-end brand’s lively offerings, including a sunny yellow slip dress, a pink and red color block frock, a crisp white two-piece, bold cobalt trousers and more. 

Aoki Lee Simmons Talks Modeling Career, More
Courtesy of BCBG

“Embodying BCBG New York’s essence of modern femininity and the harmony of day-to-night style showcases the captivating duality of her lifestyle of fashion and post-graduate life,” a rep for BCBG said in a statement. 

Aoki exclusively told Us Weekly that the feeling is mutual. “I have been a fan forever. I grew up stealing my mom’s BCBG looks for everything you can think of. BCBG has always been a staple in our house. Always a go-to.” 

Style File 2024

Related: Style File: This Week in Looks

An affinity for BCBG isn’t the only thing Aoki has inherited from Kimora. 48. Aoki shared that she’s attained “helpful” modeling advice from the former runway star. 

“My mom was literally trying to coach me while I walked down the runway during the Sergio Hudson show,” Aoki told Us. “I walked by and she yelled, ‘SHOULDERS!’ Since I started my career, my mom has given me a lot of helpful advice, but I also appreciate the amount of space she has given me to make my own way. She’s allowing me to figure it out.” 

Surprisingly owning the catwalk wasn’t always a priority for Aoki. 

Aoki Lee Simmons Talks Modeling Career, More
Courtesy of BCBG

“I’m not sure I really understood what all was happening when I was so young and walking down the runway for the finale during Baby Phat shows,” Aoki shared, recalling when she’d close out shows as a kid with Ming and Kimora in the early 2000s. (Much of Aoki and Ming’s childhood was documented on Kimora’s reality TV series Life in the Fab Lane, which aired from 2007 to 2011.) 

Kimora launched the lifestyle label in 1999 as an off-shoot of the men’s streetwear line, Phat Pharm, which then-husband Russell founded in 1992. Baby Phat ceased operations in 2010 but Kimora revived the brand in 2019.

“At the time it just seems natural and fun, but I’m also into nerdy stuff. I love school and learning, so getting an education was natural too,” Aoki continued. The young star made history when she graduated from Harvard at just 20, becoming the youngest Black woman to do so. She was only 16 when she was accepted. 

Since getting her cap and gown, however, Aoki told Us she wants to prioritize modeling. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to work as a full-time model. I like to be constantly surrounded by so many creative people and to have the opportunity to collaborate on this level is not something I take for granted,” Aoki shared.

Best Celeb Street Style of 2024

Related: The Best Celebrity Street Style Moments of 2024

As she hones in on modeling, Aoki said she’s trying her best to “focus on the moment.”

“There is so much to learn in this business, so I’m staying flexible and enjoying the surprise of what comes,” she added.

Aoki’s appearance in the BCBG visuals comes amid her headline-making romance with restaurateur Vittorio Assaf. She and the 65-year-old were seen packing on the PDA during a trip to St Barts earlier this month.

A source confirmed their relationship to People on Friday, April 5, saying they’re “enjoying each others’ company.”

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!