It’s been quite the summer for Aoki Lee Simmons. She graduated Harvard with a dual degree in classics and political science, celebrated her 21st birthday, and became Teen Vogue’s September cover star, all within just a few months.
It’s similarly been a busy week in New York City, with the VMAs, U.S. Open, and NYFW falling at the same time. However, models, designers, and politicians alike all took time out of their busy schedules to come together at the SoHo Grand's Club Room and celebrate Aoki.
Last night in SoHo, Aoki’s mother Kimora Lee Simmons, her big sister Ming Lee Simmons, and Teen Vogue all joined forces to host a birthday party for the young model. The swanky venue was decorated with pictures from Aoki’s cover shoot on everything from posters and canvases to cookies and a cake. (Aoki would later explain that her mother has an affinity for desserts with photos of her beloved daughters, but more on that to come.)
As the DJ mixed late ‘90s, early ‘00s, and today’s trending hits, the members of the Simmons family arrived at the party one by one. First, there was Kimora, sporting her signature smokey eye, long sleek black hair, and a fitting black halter dress. Ming followed behind her with a similar hair style, a trendy cut-out dress, and matching lace-up heels. The birthday girl, Aoki entered last in a glittering Andrew Kwon gown with a long, voluminous tiered tulle train and her curly hair tied in a half-up, half-down look. The trio looked stunning in their matching black outfits.
After greeting her guests, Aoki slipped away for a moment and returned with an outfit change! She wore another Andrew Kwon look, a jacquard mini dress with a draped tulle neckline in a gleaming gold hue, fitting for the star of the night and just in time for the toasts.
First, Teen Vogue Executive Editor Danielle Kwateng gave a speech about working with Aoki. She expressed that choosing Aoki as the cover “just made sense” due to her impressive academic and modeling background. She also attested to Aoki’s professionalism, intelligence and bright future. She dutifully noted that this is Aoki’s very first cover but said she expects this to be just one of many.
By then, Kimora was, in her own words, “ugly crying” — though in reality, she still looked stunning, of course. After taking a moment, she went on to share stories of Aoki’s drive and success, like being eager to walk the runway since she was a child and graduating Harvard at such a young age.
While Kimora pointed to her daughter’s prodigal ways to highlight her recent success, when Aoki herself took the mic, she had another moment in mind. She revealed that Kimora had actually gotten a cake with a mock-up Teen Vogue cover of her for her 20th birthday last year. In between laughs, she said her mother manifested this moment.
The family thanked the guests, who they likened to members of their own family, for attending the party. They then lit the candles and cut the cake. As the night came to an end, everyone took time to say goodbye, snap a few more pictures with the birthday girl and take a cookie version of Teen Vogue’s cover to go.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue
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