Meet Kimora Lee Simmons' Stunning Daughter Ming Lee

When your mother is a superstar fashion designer and your father a record executive, there's a good chance you're familiar with the spotlight to some degree. Ming Lee Simmons, the eldest child of Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons, certainly is no stranger to the public eye. Ming was born on January 21, 2000, and she has four younger siblings, including sister Aoki Lee Simmons. Ming not only started modeling at a young age, but she became a reality star when she was still in grade school. 

Looking back on their family's E! series "Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane" in a 2023 chat with ET, Ming, Kimora, and Aoki said that they aren't exactly clamoring to get back into the reality TV world. For one thing, they are reluctant to put their personal lives back under that microscope. On top of that, social media and its connection to reality television is a totally different beast nowadays. "Having your life in the spotlight is probably a lot," Kimora noted. "I can say that 'cause I did that as youngster growing up, and you guys obviously were born into that. I think it's tough." That said, they aren't totally opposed to the idea. As Ming joked, "Not not interested."

However, if the family does decide to reboot their reality show one day, don't expect to see Ming running errands in a pair of Crocs. As she once told Galore, she wouldn't be caught dead in the foam clogs. Here's what else you need to know about Kimora Lee Simmons' eldest daughter.

Ming Lee Simmons has been modeling since she was a kid

Ming Lee Simmons' career path has pretty much been laid out for her since she was in diapers. After all, her mother, Kimora Lee Simmons, is a prominent name in the fashion industry — not just for her designs, but for her modeling work as well. And yes, Ming is a model daughter who followed in her mom's footsteps. "I grew up on the runway, walking with my mom and sister at the end of every Baby Phat show during fashion week in New York," Ming told W Magazine. "I've been in ads with my mom and sister since I was two years old. I'm only now realizing how uncommon that is and I'm deeply appreciative of those experiences."

While she was in high school, Ming managed to ace her AP classes while also squeezing in some modeling work on the side. She was determined to both enjoy her school years and find time to work with her mom. In addition to wearing her mom's designs, she told Teen Vogue that she's always been encouraged to be honest about her mom's work. "For as long as I could speak, I've definitely shared my opinions with my mom," Ming said. "I did it back when I was younger on Baby Phat and Baby Phat Girlz. I do it now with her Kimora Lee Simmons line, too. I'm always pushing her to add a little more edge."

Kimora Lee Simmons is her role model

Ming Lee Simmons has long looked up to her mom, Kimora Lee Simmons. As Ming told W Magazine, "Where she's at in life, I want to be there at some point in the future. ... I like to go back and look at my mom's portfolio or old clips of her on the runway." She also said that if she ever pursues fashion design as a full-time career, Kimora would be the one she turns to for advice. "I think she's really developed and changed her style, and every time she changes she inspires the world in a different way," Ming explained.

Understandably, Ming admires the legacy Kimora created with Baby Phat. "It was a brand that made you feel good about yourself. It was for the girls," she said in Refinery29. In a separate chat with Byrdie, Ming noted she admires Kimora's 360-degree approach to the fashion industry. "Something we learned from our mom is that you have to know everything to have a successful business," she said. 

On the modeling side of things, Kimora's always been in Ming's corner, even attending castings while she was still in high school. "Maybe it helps, maybe it hurts, we don't know," Kimora said in W. What's more, Kimora has shown her daughter how to age gracefully in an industry that isn't always kind to women of a certain age. When asked if she had any fears about getting older, Ming told Interview, "No, have you seen my mom?" Point taken. 

Ming Lee Simmons' mom designed her prom dress

Having a style icon and renowned designer for a parent sure can come in handy when it comes time to find your dream prom dress. In 2017, Ming Lee Simmons took full advantage of her mother's talents when her junior high school prom came up. 

It might be safe to say that Ming's mom, Kimora Lee Simmons, was even more excited about the prom than her daughter was. Kimora took to Instagram on prom night to reveal that she designed her daughter's gorgeous dress. "OMG!! My baby's going to junior PROM!! I've been emotional and crying all week and alllll day!!" Kimora captioned the post, adding, "Oh, and mama made this dress! And I made that beauty that's wearing it!"

Designing Ming's prom dress inspired Kimora to create more gowns just like it. She named the line "Ming Ming," which was, of course, a nod to her daughter's name. In another Instagram post featuring Ming in the gorgeous dress, she teased that more pieces like it would be available to the public soon.

Ming Lee Simmons sometimes collaborates on projects with her mom

Kimora Lee Simmons and Ming Lee Simmons have joined creative forces on more than one occasion. In 2018, Ming walked in her mom's Spring/Summer show for New York Fashion Week, and she's been allowed to have some input in some of Kimora's designs. "It's always nice working with my mom... I think that it's always good when my mom lets me have a little bit of creative direction, and she listens to me," Ming told Teen Vogue in 2017. She added that watching her mom work inspires her.

While many celebs have very strict rules when it comes to their kids, Kimora allowed her eldest daughters to venture into her industry at a young age. Ming said that she and Kimora usually gravitated toward projects that seemed fun and included people they wanted to work with. For example, Ming and Aoki Lee Simmons not only helped shape Baby Phat's collaboration with Forever 21, but the sisters were featured in the campaign. 

Joining forces with an icon like Kimora Lee Simmons may sound intimidating to most people, but it's a different story for her daughters. As Ming told Byrdie, "[S]he's not the Kimora Lee Simmons to us. She's our mom. There's not a lot of anxiety around bringing her things because she treats them like anything else in our life."

She has a complicated relationship with her dad

While Ming Lee Simmons is besties with her mom, it appears the same can not be said of her dad, Russell Simmons. On Father's Day 2023, Ming took to Instagram Stories (via Us Weekly) and posted a photo of herself as a toddler walking down a runway with Kimora Lee Simmons. Alongside the picture, she wrote, "Happy Father's Day." Ming's dad did not take too kindly to the shade and headed to Instagram Stories to blame Kimora for his fractured relationship with Ming. "Stop telling fathers they should have fought harder to see their children and start asking mothers why he had to fight at all," the post read. While he didn't name Kimora, it was pretty clear who he was pointing the finger at.

Ming's sister Aoki Lee Simmons also jumped into the fray. Aoki stated that Russell used to be a great parent to her and her sister, but that was no longer the case. She also said she started having panic attacks in the wake of their strained relationship. Additionally, she posted a muted screen recording in which her father appeared to be yelling at her. Kimora also chimed in on Instagram Stories, telling Russell to leave their kids out of this. "Your threats and lies and intimidation maneuvers and tactics are sad. Stop it please," she said. "Your own flesh and blood? Enough is enough." Russell subsequently offered an apology to his daughters in an Instagram post, but it's unclear if there was any resolution.

Ming Lee Simmons is very close to her sister Aoki Lee Simmons

While chatting with Galore in 2018, Ming Lee Simmons decided to give Aoki Lee Simmons a call so she could be a part of the conversation, too. The impromptu joint interview gave fans a sweet look at the sisters' special relationship. At one point, Aoki shared how she loves using her Instagram account to connect with people instead of trying to appear perfect. "For me, my Instagram page is a way to connect, not project," she said. Ming immediately told her sister how much she admired her, and Aoki returned the love. "Thanks, I'm proud of you, too, miss cover girl!" she said.

Aoki and Ming also share similar goals and values; the Lee-Simmons girls ultimately want to do some good in the world. "We want to be strong, confident, and pursue our abilities," Ming said. Aoki agreed, adding, "And carry on our family's legacy of charitable giving." While the sisters have a lot in common, they also have their differences, which Aoki said are pretty obvious. "I love reading the classics. I'm fascinated by the Greeks and Romans and their contributions to society. I read a lot. I love volleyball and track and hiking." Ming, on the other hand, is focused on all things business and fashion. "I'm into creating strong visuals and storytelling via brands and lifestyle imagery," she said.

Ming Lee Simmons has dealt with various medical issues

In a 2023 video feature for Vogue, Ming Lee Simmons shared that she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis during the pandemic. "I was breaking out from cystic acne so badly that I didn't wanna leave my house," Kimora Lee Simmons' daughter said. "I had to learn how to do my makeup to cover them, but I also had to learn to not do makeup and just be okay with it because nobody has perfect skin." 

PCOS is a condition that is linked to abnormal hormone production, and endometriosis is when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. Both disorders have a number of unpleasant symptoms and can lead to serious reproductive complications. Some signs of PCOS include having a puffy face, experiencing difficulty gaining or losing weight, enduring irregular menstrual periods, and having sleep issues. Endometriosis is also hard on the body. The symptoms include painful periods, fatigue, and bathroom discomfort. Endometriosis and PCOS can cause cystic acne, which can be tremendously painful and, as Ming said, can take a major toll on a person's self-esteem. 

Ming was also diagnosed with scoliosis when she was a kid and underwent a spinal fusion at age 15. As she said in the Observer in 2024, "I was born with it, but it affects major aspects of my life. The pain still comes in waves, and it is something I have learned to live with."

She dreamed of becoming a designer and a lawyer

When she was 17, Ming Lee Simmons told W Magazine that she pretty much aspired to have a career just like her mom, with one small deviation — she also dreamed of going to law school. "I definitely want to try designing, because I think that I might be good at it. I take after my parents, so the ideal modeling job is for a brand or business that you own," she said at the time. She told Teen Vogue in 2017 that she was torn between the two coasts. "I'm looking in California and New York City and that's IT," she said. Spoiler alert: Ming ultimately decided to go to New York University.

In a 2018 interview with Galore in 2018, Ming acknowledged that choosing one side of the country over the other wasn't easy because she loved growing up in both states. "They're both great places with different vibes. I feel lucky to be going to school in NYC since it's a hub for fashion and beauty," she said. In 2023, she told Refinery29 that she'd ended up obtaining a degree fashion business and consumer behavior at NYU. And now that she's done with undergrad, she hopes to take the LSATs at some point down the road and start her law school journey. 

Ming Lee Simmons' mom helps her stay grounded

Though she was raised in the limelight and found success early on, Ming Lee Simmons has mom Kimora Lee Simmons to thank for keeping her feet firmly on the ground. "It's going to sound cliché, but my mom really does keep me grounded," Ming told Hypebae. "She's always hammered the value of a dollar into all of us and she's done an amazing job of supporting us while also doing her best to make us aware of our privilege." In a separate conversation with Byrdie, Ming said that her parents encouraged their kids to not only be aware of how fortunate they are, but pay it forward. "Growing up, they always told us if god gives you something, you have to give back," she said. "Recognize what you have in life and recognize that it makes you responsible for helping people other than yourself."

Ming is under no illusion that having famous parents guarantee her future success. "I know that I need to work hard and prove myself to be able to stand on my own," she said in Hypebae. Having graduated from NYU in 2023, Ming admitted that she was still figuring out her next chapter, but she had some ideas in the works. "I'm excited to put more time into my personal brand and sharing things that I love with my community. Maybe some things I'm not ready to speak about yet," she said.

Ming Lee Simmons visited Japan with her mom and siblings

In 2023, Kimora Lee Simmons, whose mother is of Japanese and Korean descent, decided that it was about time her kids explore their Asian roots. So, she took all five of her kids on a trip to Japan. As she dished to People, she let her children know it would not be a purely recreational excursion. "Before we flew there, I was clear from the jumpstart: 'This is not a vacation! This is a cultural trip! It's educational. We're not lounging and shopping. We're broadening our experiences and taking in a culture," she said. The visit came right on time: As Ming Lee Simmons dished to Hypebae, now that she's done with college, she hopes to travel the world a bit more. 

Kimora, Ming, Aoki Lee Simmons, Kenzo Lee Hounsou, Wolf Lee Leissner, and Gary Lee Foster all headed to Japan in the summer of 2023. Clearly, the family adventure did not disappoint. As Ming told Refinery29 after the trip, "That is a part of my history and heritage and I got to see a lot of places where my grandma grew up," she said.

Kimora couldn't emphasize enough how amazing their time in Japan was. "Watching them absorb their surroundings — the art, the food, the language, the fashion — was beyond rewarding," she gushed to People. "They're already asking when we can go back!"