Hello! And welcome back to this week’s Famous Friday!

Today we will highlight Kimora Lee Simmons, a businesswoman,  American model, entrepreneur, fashion designer, actor, author, and philanthropist.

She was born in St. Louis Missouri to her African American father and her Japanese-Korean mother. Growing up because of her identifiable height at 5’10” and because of her multiracial background she openly discussed how she was a target for bullies and always felt different from those around her. In an effort to boost her confidence at age 11, Kimora’s mother enrolled her in modeling classes. Two years later at 13, she went to Kansas City for a modeling search conference and was discovered by  Marie-Christine Kollock, an agent from a Paris modeling agency. She quickly took Kimora under her wing as she went to Paris to begin her modeling career.

She ended up returning to school, graduating from  Lutheran North High School in St. Louis, Missouri. She also attended the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business and received a  Bachelor of Arts in Business and Entrepreneurial Affairs.

At the age of 13, Kimora signed a modeling contract with Chanel and worked under Chanell’s designer at the time, Karl Lagerfeld. She recalls that he would always put a multiracial model on the runway first which allowed her to gain self-confidence being the star of the show, teaching her to stand tall and claim her lifelong dream, ultimately commanding her dreams into reality

Some of her accomplishments include creating her own business in 1999 called Baby Phat which was an offshoot of the men’s streetwear line Phat Farm, both under the umbrella of Phat Fashion. Along with this, she has a long history of philanthropy. One of her many partnerships has been establishing the Kimora Lee Simmons Scholarship fund at the Fashion Institute of Technology with a personal donation of 1 million dollars to aid students in underserved communities. Another one of her philanthropy works has been in being one of the Lead Global Ambassadors for the intimate health nonprofit “The Unmentionables” where she financially supported the distribution of female hygienic products and supplies to communities of migrant and refugee women throughout the world.

Photo Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimora_Lee_Simmons

By: Anna Garrison, Co-Vice President of Project Race Teens