Kimora Lee Simmons is one busy lady. She has three kids—including a one-year-old—and a new husband, actor Djimon Hounsou. She’s broken from Baby Phat and now is launching her own fashion empire—including two labels (KLS and Kouture by Kimora), a perfume, and a skincare line. Not to mention that the fourth season of her show “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane” is currently airing Sunday nights on The Style Network.
After the jump, Kimora talks to The Frisky about what beauty products she’d need on a stranded island and what it was like finding love again after getting divorced.If you could only keep one makeup item from your bag, what would it be?
Only one? I have a few. I need a new lip gloss. But if you’re gonna take it from me on an island, I will find it again with a little oil from a coconut or something. I need something for my lips—a little pretty shine. I need a little pop of blush. But again, if I were stranded, I could use a little flower ink or a little berry juice to get a little flush of the cheek. And waterproof mascara. I don’t know if I could find that, so let’s go with that. Oh wait! I left off my SPF. Gotta have that.
If you could only buy one new piece of clothing for the fall, what would it be?
A great handbag, though I’m not sure which one.
I love all your children’s names—Ming, Kenzo, and Aoki. How do you pick names that are unique and not, say, Bronx Mowgli?
I don’t know—I think they’re probably pretty far out there! But they’re names that are traditionally found in Asian heritage. I like things all Asian-inspired because I like to celebrate that side of myself and not forget it. Aoki is Japanese, Ming is Chinese, and Kenzo is again Japanese—so it doesn’t matter to me what exact part it came from. I like that my family name is Lee and we all have that and then an exotic, different first name. Growing up, Kimora wasn’t really a normal name. It’s a Japanese name and there’s lots of people in Japan named Kimora—but that was not normal in St. Louis, Missouri. Yet, I’ve overcome my obstacles and gone on. Kimora was just fine. I think it teaches my children a bit more about who they are and where they’re from in a world that’s not always going to tell you that.
How do you eek out privacy while you’re filming the show?
The point of my show is that it’s about what is fabulous to me, which is my family and my business. The show isn’t constantly filming—the house isn’t rigged like the first season of “The Osbournes.” We look at my schedule and I know what I’m doing—whatever meeting, whatever fashion shows. It goes with the schedule of my life. It’s not like you go to the bathroom with me—you’re not on the toilet with me. I’m not doing anything crazy. It’s a family show. It does stop—the cameras go home. And then I put my kids to bed or have dinner with them, like everyone else. So it’s not 24-hour invasiveness.
Tell me the story of how you met Djimon?
I met my husband four years ago on Oscars night. He was nominated for “Blood Diamond.” I met him later that night, after the show.
What was the moment you knew he was “the one,” as they say?
I feel like all my life, I wanted a happy family. I was a single child raised by a single mom, so I always wanted a nice family and to have a great guy who supports me. I feel like I have that with Djimon. He shows me in so many ways every day—I feel like I live that moment over and over. When I see him taking care of our son or with my daughters and see what a great parent he is to all three of our kids. When my pets have died, he’s been there. When we’ve gotten tangled in Christmas tree lights, we’ve been there together. When the car has broke down in traffic, we’ve been there together. At the movie premiere with the lights and the cameras and the big flashy red carpet, we’ve been there together. He’s a good example of a very strong, honorable man. He understands my life because he lives it too, but he’s removed enough from that life. He’s not from this country—he’s from West Africa. There’s enough differences with him to be removed from the cliche of the machine. We have enough of a balance. It’s like the best of both worlds.
What advice do you have for women who are dating after getting divorced?
It’s tricky. I didn’t like it and didn’t do it for very long. If you have children, I think you have to be very careful how you navigate your kids and the new person because you don’t want your kids to feel misplaced, displaced, or out of place. That’s very important. My kids never met anyone I was dating. I think you should treat meeting your kids like you’re taking someone home to mama. It should have a little more weight, take a little more time. Even if you don’t have kids, be safe. I think if you’ve been married and then you’re single, it’s like you’re changing gears. So take your time and get yourself reacquainted with life. You’re in a different lane—not that it’s not a fab lane, but it is a different one. Remember you’ve been there before. Believe in yourself. But don’t make a fool of yourself either. I have a lot of friends who were in a relationship for years and they broke up, and the girl ran around all over the place like a wild woman with everybody. These are famous people and you see them doing this in the public eye. That could be dangerous for a lot of reasons. So I say be careful.
What’s the key to having a good relationship with your ex?
For me, the key is just doing the best you can to make it work. I definitely have had ups and downs with Russell [Simmons]. We have a great relationship, but I had to whip him into shape. It was not easy. We had some issues and some fights and I had to stand up for what I believe in, and he had to say, “You’re being a little too pushy.” And I said, “I don’t care—it’s my kids!” When it comes to parenting with the ex, you have to be respectful and try to be considerate and you always have to think of the children first. I’ve gone through my moments with Russell, but now we have a great relationship. We continue to be partners in other businesses. We’re friends and we hang out together—he was in my house this weekend—but it’s taken some doing. But if you love someone… As a society—and I’m just posing a question—I think we should think about how easily we love and then it goes to hate. Maybe we should watch how that works, especially when children are involved. We’re mature adults—it’s about can we get our emotions in check, and talk about things and think about the bigger picture here? I always say, “Husbands come and go. Friends come and go. Things come and go. But kids—they don’t come and go.” One thing is for sure, and having kids if a huge responsibility. Sometimes you have to live on a higher note for them. Sometimes you have to give up the battle to win the war. You have to be strategic. It’s not always worth the fuel.
I saw an interview where Tyra said you taught her how to use a tampon. What’s something Tyra taught you?
Why would she say that? Hmmm, I don’t know. I’ve known her since we were very young and we’ve been through a lot together, so a lot of things. But what specifically? She does great makeup and she’s tried to teach me. Though I’m not such an excellent student.
I saw that there is a Kimora Lee Simmons Day in St. Louis. How would you like people to celebrate?
I want them to be happy! I’d say no work and no school—but I think work is happy, too. I want them to be doing things for themselves and with their families and looking fashionable. I want them to celebrate in the spirit of fabulosity.