7 ways Kimora Lee Simmons ruled the 2000s

Chances are, when you think girl boss, you think Sophia Amoruso, or Kim Kardashian, or Paris Hilton.

And these ladies are all worthy of your praise, there’s no doubt about it – but you’re forgetting someone.

Does this photo ring any bells? Because it should.


That woman in the pink plaid jacket posing as a first lady of sorts is our lord and savior Kimora Lee Simmons, queen of Baby Phat in the early 2000s. And yes, we wish she was actually our first lady, but that’s another story.

One of our fave Twitter accounts, @aVeryRichBish tweeted an amazing #tbt about Kimora and it reminded us not only how amazing Kimora is, but also taught us some new facts.

Feeling inspired, we decided to dedicate a post to Kimora’s fashion lewks, boss behavior, and overall savagery. Here are a few reasons why she should be your new role model.

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1. She landed an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel at 14

Most 14-year-olds can only dream of a Chanel bag, and that’s if they can even pronounce Chanel properly. Meanwhile, Kimora was not only signing an exclusive modeling contract, but went on to be Karl Lagerfeld’s muse, which was a pretty big deal for anyone, especially a woman of color.

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2. She was best frenemies with Tyra Banks

Kimora was BFFs with former model turned boss Tyra Banks back in the 2000s. Tyra was even one of her bridesmaids at her first wedding.

But, from the looks of it, their relationship was a bit of a frenemy type deal. In fact, Kimora’s first husband actually pursued Tyra first.

When Kimora received giant flowers from Russell Simmons (who was 36; she was 16), she called Tyra to brag.

“I can imagine what they look like,” said Tyra, “because he sent me some, too,” according to NY Mag.

From The Observer:

“Kimora requested Tyra Banks as her roommate in one model apartment. ‘She always had the new Prada bag and would laugh at me because mine was from Wal-Mart,’ says Banks.”

The shade!

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3. She was appointed as president and creative director of Baby Phat and made it the shit 

So Baby Phat was originally created in 1999 by Kimora’s husband Russell Simmons as an extension of his men’s brand, Phat Farm. Before Kimora took over, it was basically just logo tees that were given out as party favors to models (the influencers of the time).

Kimora wanted to make more flattering clothing for women, and she was named president and creative director of the line in 2000.

By 2001, Baby Phat had grossed $30 million! That’s after making like nothing two years before. Damn.

4. She never let a man – or multiple kids – get in the way of her thriving

Kimora never let herself fall into stereotypes. She was the business woman, the bombshell, the savage and — starting in 2000 — the mother. She went through three husbands (she’s now married to billionaire Tim Leissner) and has four kids, but never seemed to slow down her life in the fab lane.

Check out this fun little feminist headline about Kimora and her husband! Yep, he doesn’t have a name, he’s just “Kimora’s husband.”

5. Or a little police chase

Just because she got married and had kids relatively young doesn’t mean that she was done partying and turning up. She got arrested four years after having her first kid when she fled from police who were trying to pull her over, probably because she had weed in the car. Whoops!


6. She brought urban style to the catwalk without appropriating

Baby Phat was incredibly iconic for its time because it took Kimora’s love for streetwear and hip-hop style into high (but affordable) fashion for women. And, unlike so many designers today, Kimora didn’t just hire two black models and call it a day — she is a woman of color herself, running the company. Take notes ya’ll.

7. She was always independent af

The classic butt hurt dude may look at Kimora and say, “well she married three rich dudes, of course she’s rich and famous,” but Kimora always made sure everyone knew she was financing herself. Whether it was her modeling endeavors, Baby Phat, or her multiple successful ventures since, she’s got her own money. Nothing wrong with finding a man who’s on your level.

“My husband don’t buy me diamonds. I buy my own diamonds!” Kimora said in her Vanity Fair profile from 2005 (which you should absolutely read).

I hope you’re obsessed with Kimora Lee Simmons by now, because I sure am. Maybe you should buy her self-help book from 2006?

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