Kontrol Exclusive: Vanessa Simmons steps back into the spotlight with a mission to shape the world

Vanessa Simmons is poised. She has a beauty so delicate that it exudes her natural speaking voice. The girl has been working in this business for years. She and her sister, Angela, did something not seen so easily in the African American community. If you really stop to think about it, you’ll see that the Simmons’ girls gave voice to a whole generation. They gave way for millenials everywhere, especially of color, to be social, digital entrepreneurs. I honestly liken an impact like theirs to that of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, ground breaking, unchartered territory.

 

V_LG_9338Confident in her vision, at age 33, Vanessa has found maturity and a mission she’s rooted in fulfilling. There is a certain level of sophistication about her, one such a rarity in celebrities today, reminiscent to her favorite era, classic Hollywood. She is warm, and kind, and gentle. Yet, make no mistake about it, her voice will be heard. In an industry filled with talent Vanessa is not underrated, she’s simply been overlooked, but not any longer.

 I know hard work. I’m very ambitious, even before Run’s House. I’ve always wanted to offer something to add to my family’s legacy. I work. I’m not denying the fact that I’m privileged, I’ll never deny that, but also do not take away the fact that I work. That I went to college and graduated, all of that contributes to who I am as a person and that comes from my family, that work ethic. People get it confused thinking that you’re spoiled and you’re just given stuff, but you can’t be given success.

 It’s unfortunate how easily some people can miss the point. Committed to sharing to motivate and inspire others it can be frustrating to know that some people will just try to get in the way. A huge point of Vanessa’s is the fact that having resources does not always equate success; she’s not immune to hard work.

 A lot of people say that you’re overlooked, but I think for a while I kind of stepped back because of the public eye, some of my relationships being on page 6, and I love what I do, but I don’t know if I love the socialite aspect of it so much, so I personally backed up. I stepped back, so if I’m overlooked anytime I know its because people don’t always see me, but I’m always working and trying to reach my goals.

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 In this past year alone Vanessa has been doing everything. Even contributing to the world of pageantry. It may not be known to all but she’s even competed. A former pageant girl of sorts, herself, she found ways to stay connected and contributed there as well with Miss Teen California.

That is one of my passion projects! I am creative director and owner of Miss Teenage California, which is a scholarship pageant. This is my first year on board and I just wanted to give young women a unique opportunity to kind of excel in life. It awards $25,000 in college scholarships to the winner, and to the top 10, and just an opportunity for young women to have a sisterhood and excel.

Vanessa has also flexed her muscles in front of the camera. We’ve seen her hosting other celebs at the BET Awards this year.

 Oh my God, it was so amazing. I love hosting. I fell in love with it when I started working on Project Runway Threads. It’s really exciting for me, I also got to do the Grammys in February with E!, and I’ve got a couple of more gigs coming, so I really enjoy hosting and its definitely something that I’m really enjoying growing in.

So well spoken, it’s awesome to see her back in front of the camera. Vanessa finds her fit, exactly where she belongs and she has been working to make sure she has her feet planted firmly as she grows her own personal empire.

 I’m loving hosting right now, I’m still venturing out as far as acting, but focusing on hosting right now, aside from the outside gigs I’m taking matters into my own hands with self created content that will debut on my website, that I’ve been working on for two years, vanessajsimmons.com. It’s basically a creative like online magazine that’s geared to women empowerment, with interviews and ideas. Our mission is to promote positive images of women, as well as to empower, educate, and inspire millenials through beauty, and really engage readers with articles designed to uplift women.

 As a people, in general, we’ve all got to find ways to find motivation and stay encouraged, especially in a world filled with naysayers. Inspiration is key and finding that inspiration grants you the ability to work harder.

 100% my biggest inspiration is my daughter, 100%. I want to be able to provide a life for her that is amazing and that is why I work so hard and even with the women empowerment, my mission got so much stronger after having her and bringing another woman into the world I felt like my mission is clear. I want her to have the best example as possible. I wont beat myself up to be perfect, but I want to be the best me I can be, for her, and provide her with an amazing life.

 The strength of a woman is beyond me. I’ve been in the room and seen the birthing process first hand, and that alone has allowed me to see women differently, as a man. So, I could only imagine the ways in which motherhood shapes a woman.

It continues to shape me daily. Especially patience, I always thought I was a patient person, everyone would tell me I’m such a patient person, but when I had a child I found out how impatient I was. She definitely is working with me on my patience. And she just teaches me something new everyday. I honestly feel like I can achieve anything I want after giving birth and having a baby. It’s just all about what you put your mind to, how you focus, and the rest is history. You just really got to stay focused and you can do anything you want. If I could have a child, and I didn’t think I could, watching it before, I was like I cant do that! But if I can do that, if I can bring a life into the world, I can do anything. I was petrified the whole nine months.

She has such an awesome outlook on life, and that’s what she wants her followers to get for themselves, that V_LG_9341you can live and move forward without any regret.

I don’t believe in regrets, I fell like you have to live life to the fullest every day, every single second, live in the moment and try not to have regret. I mean, of course we can all look back and wish there were things we do different, but I try not to live like that. I try to keep it forward moving and if I did miss something I just bring it to my current feelings and keep it moving, no regrets, stay happy.

It is impossible to have a conversation with Vanessa Simmons and not touch on fashion and style. She’s a known beauty girl and model. If you follow her on social media you can always get a glimpse into new finds she’s discovering.

 My fashion is always ever changing, but I like to hold onto one element, and that is chic. I love the old Hollywood era of fashion and my style icon is Victoria Beckham, and Diane Von Furstenberg, because it’s always just so classic. I like to keep it ladylike and classic with just a little bit of edge.

 Glued to the comfort and ease of online shopping, she’s found some amazing off sure brands that keep her fashionable. As for beauty tips, she’s pretty tight lipped for now, but there is so much more to come.

 There’s going to be a lot of stuff coming out I have been working so hard on DIY’s and different things I can contribute to the beauty world. But one good tip that’s good for you and your body is waking up and drinking a room temperature bottle of water with lemon squeeze. That’s the best beauty tip I can give, it will have your skin glowing and tightened, but there will be so much more coming on the site, facials, body masks, bath rituals, lots of beauty hats so stay tuned.

Increased visibility is coming all around with Vanessa. Last year, in its first season, we saw her reunite with Angela on TV with Growing Up Hip Hop. This year it looks like she’s slated to join the cast.

 I will be a little bit more involved with the cast this season. I’ve been filming a lot with Angela with all the exciting stuff that she has going on, and that’s where you’ll get to see the pageant, coming out in the fall. We’re having fun like we did so many years ago with Daddy’s Girls.

It’s amazing to see the pair reunited in television and impactful for young women to see the beauty of pure friendship and sisterhood. As the older sister she’s deeply impacted by Angela’s pregnancy.

 I look at her and think she’s going into the same thing as I did 2 years ago. It’s insane to think about it, like my little sister is pregnant. I’m there for support for Angela. It’s so crazy, who told us to grow up? My daughter always touches her stomach and says that’s my baby cousin, so it’s really exciting.

The two never miss a beat. I think it was only natural to see Vanessa on the show as well even after so many years of reality television, she jumped in headfirst.

I had no expectations. I was just going to have fun with my sister on camera, basically. So it’s been fun, filming this summer. I’m excited to see how everything comes out and for you guys to see it as well.

In a lot of ways one aspect of the family business is television. It would be interesting to see the dynamic she has with longtime boyfriend Mike Wayans on camera and it’s not a farfetched possibility.

 Its definitely a possibility, he’s amazing and any job I’ve ever auditioned for and booked he’s helped me with, because he’s just that amazing. He’s working on a lot of great stuff himself, so we’ll see, but definitely a chance though.

Believe it or not, there are still things Vanessa wants to accomplish. She takes her work as an actress seriously and is finding the time to further develop herself.

 I just want to grow in acting, and it takes time, you know, building your craft. I had the opportunity to work on a silent feature with Darrin Dewitt Henson, in the beginning of the year, and we’re picking a premiere date for it now, so I definitely want to still act, but its about the craft, and continuing to grow.

It’s easy to see how she’s been able to maintain herself in a business as fickle as entertainment. She thinks differently and applying that advice can be the determinant in success or failure

 There’s going to be rejection and you can expect a no but never accept a no. There are so many stories of people having to go through seasons and seasons of no’s, Take the process constructive and apply that to your life and the stuff that is negative, just let that go. Find ways to grow your vision and make it grander. Every single day do something towards your vision, it all counts.

V_LG_9385Who would imagine that Cardi B could be responsible for Vanessa Simmons’ now infamous clapback on Instagram? She’s a musical baby and Cardi helped get her through tons of traffic the night before she had to shut someone down on Instagram. I couldn’t tell if I was more impressed or surprised to hear it, because she is so relatable. Vanessa Simmons is an ambitious girl by nature. She’s a member of the Beehive and when she gets the chance, she can be caught borrowing a book from her fathers’ bookshelf. Her mission is inspiring the women of the world, but inspiration is inspiration. She has the ability to inspire the masses and with the launch of her website we’ll all be watching as she steps back into the spotlight.

Keith Andre Collins

Fashion Writer

a writer/actor who believes that everyday is a little bit like Sunday Afternoon. We've all got the ability to be greater and I podcast all about the journey of a transparent dreamer every Sunday on iTunes. You can follow me everywhere @KEiTH_ANDRE