The daughter of fashion designer Kimora Lee and music mega-executive Russell Simmons, Aoki Lee Simmons, is supportive of her decision to pursue a modeling career while attending Harvard University. The 19-year-old came across a comment under her TikTok video from a fan who said she was too vocal to be a model. “You are so articulate and obviously educated,” the user wrote. “How did you choose modeling?
Aoki responded in an Instagram video, debunking the idea that models aren’t smart or educated. “Well, one, role models aren’t uneducated and don’t speak out,” she said. “But secondly, I think what you really mean is ‘Why am I going into a field that doesn’t necessarily require a degree or requires a lot of reading knowledge when I have a lot of ‘education ?'”
She went on to add that modeling is something she is also passionate about outside of studying at the prestigious Ivy League school. “You don’t have to do what you’re immediately good at,” she said. “You can be good at something and not want to do it forever, and you can be bad at something and still pursue it.”
“I really want us to move towards a future where young women are not asked this question. Like, not being asked, ‘Why did you follow your most creative passion even though you’re smart?’ ” Simmons ranted in the video while encouraging his followers to follow their dreams and their hearts. “I would like to change the idea that you can’t be smart and pretty, or you can’t be smart and enjoy your looks or enjoy creativity, beauty [and] fashion-based career,” she added. “You can be two kinds of people in one person.”
She emphasized the idea that getting a degree shouldn’t define someone and it’s not the end of the world. “Do whatever you want. Get a degree, don’t use it,” she added. what you want to do! And nothing wastes your talent.
At 16, Aoki was accepted to Harvard University in 2019, and her proud parents gushed about the news.
“Yaaaayyyyy @aokileesimmons!! She’s on her way to #Harvard!! We are so proud of you!! Such hard work and only 16! Baby Phat founder and designer Kimora Lee captioned her Instagram post. “You did it! It took years of super dedication and lots of tears! But YOU’RE HERE!!! GO GIRL!!!”