Angela and Vanessa Simmons, the daughters of Joseph Simmons better known as the legendary New York DJ Rev Run, have broken away from the shadow of their father and built brands around motherhood, their love of fashion and beauty and reality television.
“I think people have a lot of misconceptions about people that grow up privileged,” said Vanessa Simmons. “Everything is not spoon fed to us, we have to work for our name and that’s just the truth.”
Rev Run was a member of Run DMC, one of the most influential hip-hop groups in musical history. In 2005, he and his family were first introduced to reality television on MTV’s “Run’s House.” Since first appearing on “Run’s House,” the sisters leveraged the success of that show with a spinoff show called “Daddy’s Girls.” The Simmons sisters have been no stranger to the limelight.
These days the Simmons sisters are back in the forefront as cast members of “Growing Up Hip-Hop” on WeTV along with their younger brother JoJo Simmons.
“You’ll get to see the chemistry and all three of us as parents now and how we’ve matured over the years which will be interesting for the viewers,” Vanessa remarked.
“It’s natural chemistry because we’re siblings, so it definitely makes us feel like we’re back on “Run’s House,” kind of just all grown up,” Angela added. “Times definitely passed, but it definitely feels like old times.”
GUHH is predicated on highlighting the lives of successful young adults who all happened to be raised by hip-hop legends. Angela was one of the original creators of the show that is now in its fourth season. The cast also includes Romeo Miller, Damon Dash, and Kristinia DeBarge.
With much of their lives in the public eye, the Simmons sisters have learned how to keep some aspects of their personal lives private.
“I think it’s as public as you make it,” said Angela. “Behind the scenes is what’s really going on and what you show to the public is what you show to the public.”
As a young mother, Angela has leaned on her experiences watching how her older sister Vanessa navigates through wearing so many different hats.
“It’s been an adjustment, a good adjustment though,” Angela commented on motherhood. The greatest takeaway in her first year and a half of motherhood, “Balance is key.”
“Sometimes as a mother, you can lose yourself in just taking care of your kid, but you are just as important,” Vanessa added.
It has not been an easy feat for either Angela or Vanessa to achieve balance as both are business owners, brand ambassadors, and active philanthropists.
Angela’s latest venture is her fitness program, “Built Not Bought.”
“It’s all about building your mind, body, and soul,” said Angela, who has become an icon on social media for her viral fitness posts. “I’m not even discouraging or body shaming people who have gotten work done.”
Simmons’ fitness routine includes working out at five to six times a week.
“I definitely feel like working for what you get is a bigger reward at the end,” she stated.
One thing that has been very important to both Angela and Vanessa is how they are represented on television. The two are heavily invested in sending positive messages to young girls on acceptance and confidence.
“I think women and girls should know it’s nothing wrong with being natural,” Simmons emphasized. “You don’t have to have the perfect legs with no cellulite and you don’t have to have the perfect stomach and boobs. You are perfect how you are and building the inside first because if your inside is ugly, you’re ugly.”
Vanessa has created an entire platform as co-owner and director of Miss Teenage California, a scholarship pageant for young girls ages 14-19.
“It’s exciting for me to work with young girls and give them the opportunities that I had growing up and hopefully I will make that a national platform,” said Vanessa.
“Growing Up Hip Hop” airs every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on WeTV.