Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons’ daughter, Aoki Lee Simmons, has responded to a fan’s confusion that she worked as a model while attending Harvard

Aoki Lee Simmons clapped back at critics for pursuing a career in modeling while attending Harvard University. The daughter of Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons’ was accepted into the Ivy League school at the young age of 16. Now, at 19, she’s in the books and on the runways in New York.

Fashion and beauty are staples of her family background, so it’s no surprise when Aoki started walking runways like her supermodel mom. Aoki made her runway debut at the Pyer Moss Couture Show as part of Paris Couture Fashion Week in July 2021.

Aoki Lee Simmons posed with her favorite book by Madeline Miller. (Photo: aokileesimmons/Instagram.)

The college student and model defended her career choice in a video response to a TikTok fan, who asked, “You’re so articulate and obviously literate… how come you chose modeling?”

Aoki replied, “First of all, models are not uneducated and inarticulate. Second, I think you’re really saying why I’m going into a field that doesn’t necessarily require a degree or a whole lot of book knowledge when I have a lot of education, right is the question?

“Well because I love it and I think she should normalize you if you like something,” she continued. “You don’t have to do what you were good at straight away. Growing up I was a great volleyball player because I was tall. I didn’t have to play volleyball forever because I was good at it from a young age.”

According to her Instagram bio, Simmons is also a “poet-in-training.” Pointing out that “you can be good at something and you don’t want to do it forever,” she shared her second reason for calling herself “the Harvard model.”

“I really want us to move to a future where young women aren’t asked that question. I want to change the idea that you can’t be smart and pretty, be smart and enjoy your looks, or enjoy a beauty-fashion based career,” she explained. “First, that requires a lot of intelligence, and second, it’s okay to be two kinds of people in one.”

Simmons ended her video by encouraging her followers to always follow their dreams and passion, whether it requires a degree or not.

“Do what you will. Graduate, don’t use it, graduate, use it later. Don’t graduate, never use it. Graduate later… do what you want,” she said. “Nothing is a waste of your talent or a waste of your this. If you enjoy it and you are happy and living your life, then the path that led you there is the right one. Nothing was wasted.”

Since her fashion show debut, Aoki has appeared in various editorial ads, including her mother’s Baby Phat brand with her sister. Ming Lee Simmons. In September 2021, she released her first brand partnership with Just Fab Shoes, titled Reboot Collection. Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons’ daughter, Aoki Lee Simmons, has responded to a fan’s confusion that she worked as a model while attending Harvard

James Brien

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