Kimora Lee Simmons

Yu Shing Ting photo

Many words can be used to describe fashion firecracker Kimora Lee Simmons. She’s eccentric, bold, stunning, beautiful …and after 20 years in the beauty and fashion industry, she’s exceptionally knowledgeable.

Raised in the American heartland of St. Louis, Mo., Simmons early maturity and sound ethics helped propel her career early on as she got her start in her mid- to late teen years. After her initial discovery in modeling school, Simmons, at 14, moved to Paris to work and learn under world-renowned Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.

She abstained from many of the pitfalls to which many aspiring models succumb. She kept to her studies, listened to her mentors and began to find her own identity. Yes, she may have started on runways throughout the world with the likes of Tyra Banks, but there’s more to her and her career than that.

While married to hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons she extended her projects to fashion design as creative director and president of Baby Phat, an offshoot of Russell’s Phat Farm clothing line. Kimora also has expanded into jewelry and fragrance sales, as well as reality TV, continuing since 2007 to star with her daughters Ming, Aoki and son Kenzou in the Style Network show, Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane.

“With my life, I say that fashion and beauty go hand-in-hand. I think that everything I do whether it is fashion, design or creating a product, fragrance or even a TV show is an offering to people, and hopefully it will help enhance their lives,” says Simmons, who at 6 feet tall walks with a presence of grace and gleaming confidence.

In 2011, she created KLS Design Group, a creative and progressive outlet for her and her team to hone and collaborate their continuing fashion and beauty ideas. Visiting Honolulu recently at Nordstrom’s annual Cosmetic Trend Show, Simmons introduced her new performance skincare line, Shinto Clinical, designed to enhance and invigorate the complexion regardless of skin tone or age.

“Shinto Clinical is clinically proven to increase hydration by 400 percent. This is all about anti-aging, which is caused by dehydration and inflammation,” says Simmons, who was featured on MidWeek’s cover Aug. 4, 2010. “It is East meets West – the East being the botanicals that come from our diets and the ocean like wakame kelp. The West is the science, it is the delivery, the efficacy of these ingredients, how effective they are, how they are delivered, how your skin, body and face absorb it and use it to fight wrinkles and keep you toned. That makes it superior.”

It looks promising that the firefly mother, businesswoman and mogul will continue to help the public look and feel good about themselves, something she takes great pride in.

“Anytime someone says something I put out, whether it’s a product or book or TV show, has made it a little better than they knew before, then it makes me feel good.”