Kimora Lee Simmons (nee Perkins; born May 4, 1975) is an American fashion model, and former president and Creative Director for Phat Fashions. Simmons was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Joanne Perkins, is Korean-born Japanese who later worked as a Social Security Administrator. Her mother was adopted by an American serviceman during the Korean War and she now goes by her own mother's Japanese name, Kyoko. Kimora's father, Vernon Whitlock Jr., is African American, has worked as a Federal Marshal, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigator, a bail bondsman, and is currently a barber in St. Louis. Growing up in the northern St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Missouri, Kimora was the target of schoolyard bullying and teasing, because of her height (she was 5 feet, 10inches tall by the time she was 10 years old) and mixed ancestry. To help her, Simmons's mother enrolled her in a modeling class when she was eleven years old.
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