AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Tell us how you got interested in modeling.
Vanessa Simmons: I got interested in modeling in high school. I used to watch Tyra Banks, and I interned with my aunt, Kimora Lee Simmons. Seeing both of them made me wonder if I could do it. But, I consider myself to be much more of an actress than I do a model. Modeling is something I do as a past-time. It was something my dad let me get involved with after I graduated from high school. I did do things in high school a little bit here and there, but the key was to always do our work. Not to run off to Paris although that was my dream in high school. It wasnt like Oh, I wanna go to Paris! It was just something I got to do once I got to college. Im definitely getting more into acting now and enjoying that.
AHHA: How far has your acting career gone?
Vanessa: I just had a Verizon commercial - it was for the Motorola razor. I recently had an audition for Guiding Light. Ive met with some really great casting directors out in L.A. Its really great time for new actresses such as myself. Im really excited about 2007.
AHHA: So youre living out in L.A. now?
Vanessa: Ah, my father really doesnt want me to say. Im trying for it!
AHHA: Basically, your dad didnt want you to leave New York?
Vanessa: Yeah. Im the first child, so I know it will be a lot easier when it gets down to my brothers and sisters. There are so many things that took me such a longer time to do than them. I watch my brothers do a lot of things that my parents were hesitant to let me do growing up, but I guess since they got to see me do it and things turned out ok, they are more willing to let my sister and my brothers do certain things.
AHHA: We hear you want to be a Victorias Secret Angel. Is that true?
Vanessa: Yes, I do want to be a Victorias Secret Angel! I actually went in and met with them recently so well have to see what happens, but that will be the ultimate thing.
AHHA: That would be great for you. Youre a gorgeous young lady, and you have the physique for it
Vanessa: Im in the gym, every night, forty minutes. Once I get in my cardio, Im good.
AHHA: What does your dad think about it?
Vanessa: I remember when I told him because I didnt ask him and I just told him on camera. We were talking about Maxim Magazine. And I was like, Yeah, you know I want to do Victorias Secret and he was like What?! He was like, Thats just not what I want to see! Justine was sitting there and she was like, Well Joe, its not like shes not old enough to make her own decisions it doesnt necessarily mean anything bad if shes a Victorias Secret model. And he was like, Ok, Tyra Banks does stuff and shes still very positive. Shes not all about just showing her body.
My dad never wanted me to become where my beauty and physique is at the top of my list. I have a lot more to offer. He just always wanted me to know that I have talent in other things that made me great, and not just my looks or my body.
AHHA: Would you ever do Playboy or anything like that?
Vanessa: Oh no! Youll never see me in anything like Playboy.
AHHA: Not even a million dollars would motivate you?
Vanessa: Nope! It has to be fully clothed! I dont think my dad would go for that.
AHHA: You attend St. Johns University, correct?
Vanessa: Yes, and Im actually slated for Fall 07 graduation. I only have six credits left. Im taking online classes now and then Ill be done. Communications is my major.
AHHA: What do you want to do with that degree in communications?
Vanessa: Well, communications is always a good thing to for the field that I am in and with the things that I do. I am always making use of the things that I have learned with my degree. Me and one of my friends just finished working on a pilot episode that we wrote, and I used some of the things Ive learned in class. I have a very personal script that I am going to shop around.
AHHA: So youre a screen writer?
AHHA: Acting, modeling, and screen writing. Youre all over the place!
Vanessa: Yes, there are a lot of things flowing around in my head. I get on my computer late at night while Im chilling and voila!
AHHA: How did you feel about Runs House initially?
Vanessa: When we first got the opportunity, I was totally for it. I thought it was a really great opportunity for us to get to do something together as a family. It was kind of fun, for MTV, it makes you popular so why not? I like doing the show, but since I am in acting there are some cons that go along with it. People judging you and speaking about things they dont necessarily know about. Thats the worst part about it. I had to stay away because a lot of people just dont understand stuff and they are haters and they hate. You just have to brush that stuff to the side.
On this show, Im portrayed one way not necessarily a bad way. Im at home with the family that kind of lifestyle. But people always assume like they dont know I went to school, Im about to graduate. Sometimes it just looks like I just spend money, sit around and do nothing. When they dont know the entire half of what Im doing. Id like to think Im a very intelligent girl and I have very good people around me. I have my dad, Uncle Russell, my aunt Kimora. I have people right there that I can look at their business Im not no fool just spending money. It kind of bothers me sometimes.
AHHA: We asked your sister Angela if she felt like she was being betrayed fairly on the show and she said yes. But we can see how you would feel like your not being fairly portrayed. On the show the cameras do make it seems like you sit around and dont do much.
Vanessa: Yeah, it seems that way because they can only show so much. Its a family style show they want to get a little bit of everyone as individuals, but they want to show us at home like a family. The fun stuff that people want to see at what point do people get tired of seeing people doing business? We give America what they want. Overall I dont argue with my portrayal they just portray us at home. Besides, Im a really good kid. But I really just need people to know that there is a whole another side to Vanessa that you may not know. Ive been to school and Im very passionate about my work and my talent and my ambitions just about life. Nobody really knows that. Im sure you dont get to hear me talk like this on the show.
AHHA: The show makes it seem like you might be shy and laid back.
Vanessa: Im easily on chill. I really have a lot to say. Im a thinker and Im always thinking the next move. What can I do next? Ive learned recently that Im very creative. My friends and I have tons of ideas for movies I have so many outlets and things I want to do. Even with Pastry. We are thinking about creating a lifestyle brand. We have a sneaker that comes with a gym bag. I want to do a clothing line like an athletic brand make-up, and actually create a store. I have so many ideas in my head. Youre going to see enough of me very soon.
AHHA: Have you ever see something on TV that you wish they could have left out?
Vanessa: Sometimes when you say little stupid remarks, I look back and say, I wish I hadnt said that. Then there are times when me and Angela would get into an argument, but most of the time they dont use it - but then there are times when you want to go curl up in your bed youre and say, Oh my God! I wish they would get out. And then they come knocking and youre like, No, no, no! Go away! For the most part its fun.
AHHA: Being the oldest child, how did it affect you when your sister passed away.
Vanessa: When I very first heard the news I just didnt get it. That was my very first reaction. But chilling with my dad, my step-mom, and my sister and seeing how strong they were and my dad has tremendous faith you know you have to look up to that. I gathered my strength and have accepted it. I understand that God works in all different types of ways for all different types of reasons no matter how tough or how hard the situation maybe. Weve just accepted it and are trying to move on. I look up to my dad and my step-mom who carried her for so long. Theyre so strong. I just hate to talk about it.
AHHA: You and your step-mom Justine seem to get along well. Has it always been that way?
Vanessa: Yes, its always been a good relationship. We were really young when my parents got divorced and sometimes divorce can be very messy. Especially between parents when children are involved. We kind of just flowed with it and said, Okay, we have four parents. We accepted her very quickly and she accepted us. I get my moms opinion and I get her opinion. Shes always there for us. Shes the bomb!
AHHA: Are you single?
Vanessa: [sighs] Relationships are so difficult. Especially within this industry. I do have someone special in my life though.
AHHA: How would you say your life has changed since this show?
Vanessa: We have tons of recognition now. I am so much more creative and I am able to think more outside of the box and what the industry has to offer. I find myself being able to offer the industry more. People come to me for advice now.
AHHA: Did you ever expect that you would get all of the things that have materialized up to this point?
Vanessa: We are going into our third season and a lot of things are coming as a result of being part of the show, way more than I expected. And right now, Im working on building my own empire. Im working on a project for clothes. Were getting an opportunity that I never thought was possible. Never in a million years did I ever think we would be doing sneakers! Weve actually been in the factory working with fabrics and looking at how we want it to be sewn this project is something that I think I would actually love doing.
We recently did a photo shoot for our sneakers, and I sat back looking at the shoes like, Wow! I did that? I just hope its well received by the public, because its something we truly put our hearts into We werent just given something with our names on it. We shopped it, went to the designer lab, made up a name, concepts for the photo shoot everything. We worked every aspect of the sneaker. Its very exciting and very fun.
AHHA: Anyone whos a fan of Runs House is definitely looking forward to the new season. Can you let us know when its set to air?
Vanessa: The new season is set to air in April.