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Kimora Lee Simmons

Real name: Kimora Perkins
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single

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Kimora Lee Simmons (born Kimora Perkins on May 4, 1975 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a retired model, the head of design for Baby Phat, KLS and an occasional actress.

Simmons is the daughter of a half Korean half Japanese mother who was named Joanne Perkins by the American family who adopted her (she now calls herself by the Japanese name "Kyoko"); and an African American father named Vernon Whitlock Jr., a former federal marshal who is now a barber in St. Louis .

Growing up in the middle class St. Louis suburb of Florissant, she was very self-conscious about being a geek. Other children called her "Chinky giraffe" because of her height and Asian ancestry. By the time she was 10 years old, she was 5-foot, 8-inches tall, and she became the target of schoolyard taunts and teasing. With no Asian population in her community, she also had difficulty fitting in with other African-American students who shunned her because of her Asian ancestry. Hoping to boost her confidence, Simmons's mother enrolled her daughter in a modeling class when she was eleven years old. Two years later, at the age of thirteen, Simmons was awarded an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel, and just after her fourteenth birthday, she left for Paris 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, and became a self-professed muse for Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld. She and three other Lagerfeld models (Bernadette Jurkowski, Shoshanna Fitzgerald and Olga Sobolewska) were dubbed "the four Karlettes".

On July 29, 2004, Simmons was arrested outside her estate in Saddle River, NJ and charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams, eluding police, careless and imprudent driving, and driving with a broken brake light. The arrest was made after a two-mile chase that began near the Saddle River Police Station.

On December 20, 1998, she married hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons (of Phat Farm Fame.) The Simmons' have two daughters named Ming Lee Simmons (born January 21, 2000) and Aoki Lee Simmons (born August 16, 2002). Both Ming Lee and Aoki Lee model for Baby Phat Kids Collection. Russell Simmons filed for divorce in March 2006 , saying the couple had split some time before. It is unknown whether or not the divorce has been finalized. Kimora and Russell Simmons ended their marriage but still work together on Phat Farm and Baby Phat clothing lines. As of September 2007, Russell stepped down as CEO of Phat Fashions, LLC and Kimora is now active President and Creative Director of Baby Phat and the new Creative Director of Phat Fashions, LLC; a Kellwood Company.

As of May 2007, Simmons has officially been dating actor Djimon Hounsou. They are often spotted together as a family with her two young children.


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