Aoki Lee Simmons Addresses Backlash For Pursuing a Modeling Career While Attending Harvard

Aoki Lee Simmons
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The Ivy League student and model responded to backlash of her dual interests on TikTok.

Aoki Lee Simmons is defending her life choices. The 19-year-old Harvard student, who's the daughter of Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons, recently responded to a fan on TikTok who asked why someone "so articulate and obviously educated" would choose to be a model.

Simmons began her video by clarifying that "models aren't uneducated and inarticulate," before sharing why she entertains her dual interests.

"Why am I going into a field that doesn't necessarily require a degree, or require a whole lot of book smarts, when I have a lot of education?" she questioned. "One, because I love it. I think we should normalize you liking something. You don't have to do what you're immediately good at."

As an example, Simmons pointed to how she was a "great volleyball player" because of her height, but didn't want to pursue the sport as a career.

"You can be good at something and not want to do it forever. You can be bad at something and still pursue it," she said. "Hard work will beat talent when talent doesn't work hard. You don't have to be immediately talented to go into a field, and you may end up the best one through hard work."

After discussing why she enjoyed being both a model and an Ivy League student, Simmons said "I really want us to move toward a future where young women are not being asked this question."

"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 a creative/beauty/fashion-based career," she said. "One, that requires plenty of smarts. Two, you can be two kinds of people in one person. That's really who I am."

Simmons, who got accepted to Harvard when she was just 16 and made her runway debut last year, ended her video by encouraging her followers to go after their passions, whatever they may be.

"Do whatever you want. Get a degree, don't use it. Get a degree, use it later. Don't get a degree, never use it. Get a degree later. Do whatever you want to do," she said. "Nothing is a waste of your talent... if you are enjoying it, and you're happy, and you're living your life, then whatever path took you there was the right one and nothing was wasted."