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Angela Simmons: Full Frontal

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Angela Simmons is in the midst of a makeup meltdown. She’s seated at a vanity station in the makeshift greenroom of a lofty Hell’s Kitchen event space giving her own reflection the screw face. She tosses her newly blond blowout over her shoulder with the panache of a Pantene model and inches toward to the dimly lit mirror to examine herself more closely. Something about the flawless foundation job isn’t sitting well with her.

“It looks muddy,”she complains.

It’s minutes before her AngelaIAMElectric Daze” NYFW presentation and anxieties are running higher than Kid Cudi at 4:20. The cramped room is cluttered with clothes, compacts, and a handful of handlers; Angela is still rocking the Timbs and sweats she wore to the venue and her face is naked except for the light layer of bronzer in question. Her makeup artist Angel, who regularly beautifies the 26-year-old sartorial star, patiently continues to work on her pretty palette. Fortunately, tonight Angela has more on her mind than cosmetics and catwalks—debates over lip lacquer will have to wait.

WORDS: Shanel Odum | PHOTOS: David Joseph Perez

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“Did they turn all the lights blue downstairs like I asked?” she asks. “And did they change the logos to all blue? It's supposed to be Electric Daze and they tried to use pink!”

Her salon stool doubles as a director’s chair as she douses out tiny flames by firing off a series of last-minute concerns and requests. There’s the step-and-repeat that isn’t fit to display: “If it looks ghetto, I'm not putting it up—it’s a bad reflection on me. It's got to be done right or not at all.” And door difficulties: “A lot of close friends I invited got stuck outside, but it happens. Next time we’ll use a bigger venue.” Even the lack of a liquor sponsor is shrugged off with grace: “I’m winging it.” When overwhelming support is your biggest issue, you’re obviously doing something right.

Don’t get it twisted, though—Angela isn’t all about barking orders. In between the hectic hiccups, there’s plenty of giggling and girl talk about mystery men with coded nicknames. When she hears that the goofy GIF photo booth has arrived, she’s so amped she practically squeals, “It’s soooo cool!”

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Several coats of eyeliner and a few waves of her magic mascara wand later and Angel is nearly done with her masterpiece, but before the finishing touches are applied to Angela’s face, she hops out of the chair for more damage control. “I’ll be back in two minutes,” she promises as she rushes downstairs to check out the ‘pink carpet’ and coordinate final presentation particulars. When you’re the boss, sometimes production trumps primping.

The scene below is a cosmic Candyland. Cascades of salt-water taffy overflow from display dishes dotting the wooden bar. Balloons float and bounce above the dance floor like bumper cars. An army of young, eager-to-please interns scurry around juggling trays of fried Twinkies, cake-pops and pastel-colored pastries like Oompa Loompas. (It’s the kind of chocolate factory that would have both Willy Wonka and R Kelly emerald with envy.) Perhaps the confectionary spread is a nod to her now defunct sneaker line…

And the décor isn’t the only impressive thing about the festivities. There’s a hip hop violinist, an art installation, pretty waifs modeling neon glow-in-the-dark body paint and a constellation of stars (Bridget Kelly, Bow Wow, Jermaine Dupri, Juelz Santana, Ashanti and Zendaya Coleman are among the celebs orbiting the room). Amidst the collision of pop-lockers and paparazzi is an army of Amazons rocking Ron Bass frocks and Keva J swimwear. “I’m inspired by art, music, and fashion,” Angela says matter-of-factly. “They go hand-in-hand.”

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Ultimately, Angela is a descendant of rap royalty and may just be hip hop’s most hailed (and hated) heiress. Her family is MTV’s “The Cosby Show” 2.0. “I was spoiled growing up,” she admits, “but I’m not a brat. Brats cry for what they want, they don’t work for it.” Once Rev’s younger daughter captured her own audience, the Daddy’s Girl went from “Run’s House” to running a fashion house of her own. She knows she has pull and privilege, but doesn’t want that to be the only thing to propel her forward.

“I’m used to the comments,” Angela shares, “but at the end of the day I’m not concerned, because I know how hard I work. I can go to my dad and my uncle for advice, but other than that, anything that I have today, I’ve worked for. I pour my heart into it, and I live, sleep, breathe, eat it. I’m not going to sit here and prove to someone that I’m working; you’re going to see for yourself.”

She's been called every b-word in the book. But whether you see the popular princess slash mini mogul as a boss, a brand, a brat, or a bitch, this Simmons sister is most definitely about her biz.

Continue reading to find out what else Angela rapped with us about.

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Angela Simmons on…

HER NYFW PRESENTATION:
I really wanted it to glow in the dark with neon. I wanted it to be interactive. I didn't want it to be something you just come to, look good and walk out. I wanted you to take something from the experience, have a good time and want to stick around for a while, which everyone did. The point of the presentation was to present different up-and-coming designers that I showcase on my website. I was definitely inspired by different artists that I brought in. I think they did a tremendous job with what they did—color therapy. We had so many talented people there. It was an amazing night. It was everything I imagined, from the balloons to the photo booth, to the people who came out and supported me. I was extremely happy with the outcome.

HER BRAND:
AngelaIAM came about because there are so many different elements of me, and I like to share with people who follow me, so I needed a home for all of it, to be able to sell these products. So people could get their hands on the things that I wear or the products that I like. It's kind of like a boutique.

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BEING A BOSS:
Being a boss means really knowing what teamwork is. I don’t believe anyone can get to a vision or goal alone.

RELATABILITY:
I am, who I am; I’m not hiding anything. I go through relationship stuff; I go through rough times—and I’m pretty honest about it. I try to be transparent with the people who are watching me.

CO-HOSTING “106TH & PARK” WITH HER EX:
We're like best friends so that was super fun. I’ve known Bow Wow for nearly ten years so it wasn’t weird, it was normal. We've literally watched each other grow up.

MORE REALITY TV:
That is definitely in the works. If all goes well, hopefully, you guys will see something really soon.

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EXERCISE:
I love fitness. I think it’s fun to work out. It's extremely challenging, but I like to challenge myself. It’s a habit that I picked up once I moved to LA seven years ago. It's just became part of my everyday life. I miss workouts here and there because of work, but if it were up to me I would live in the gym. It just feels good, sweating, working out.

PLASTIC SURGERY:
I'll stick to 'never say never'. If you feel like that’s something you want to do at a certain age, you should be free to do it. I haven’t personally—I’m pretty confident and happy with the way I look.

DIET:
I wanted to be a vegetarian since I was about 11, when my school showed me a pretty horrifying video of animals being slaughtered, but I grew up in a household where meat was the option. Then in LA I got sick from turkey meat and decided to follow my uncle’s advice and walk away from it.

NEW NIECE:
I am super excited. This is the first baby of the family and I am so happy. It’s incredible. So seeing the sister I grew up with have a daughter is amazing. I’m thrilled to eventually have a child of my own when I settle down at some point. For now, I’m just going to spoil my niece.

PERFECT DATE:
I’m a romantic person. So my ideal would be a beach date, going out to eat somewhere tropical, of course, and then a walk on the beach. I don’t need much.

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FAME:
I don’t like when people are so negative and quick to judge the people they feel are on a pedestal. That’s a downside to being in the spotlight. You have to deal with people constantly poking at you or how you look. It’s always something. But that comes with fame. As long as you have thick enough skin, you’re fine. I prefer not to go on blogs, but if they’re commenting on my Instagram, of course I am going to see it. The best thing to do is ignore it.

REBELLION:
My most rebellious moment was going out and doing things on my own without the help of my family. I’m living in that moment now and I don’t know if it’s so rebellious—it’s just being myself and not apologizing for it.

HER LEGACY:
When I leave this earth, I’d like to be known for my philanthropy. Being an activist and getting involved in things that actually matter. Fashion is also a passion, so if you I combine those two: designer and philanthropist, I’m good. Just as long as I can impact the world and be fashionable at the same time.

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Credits

Look 1
Black Bodysuit: Bellenbrand
Black Jacket: Aryn K
Black Multi-Strapped Peeptoe Heels: Carolinna Espinosa
Hot Pink and Gold Bracelet: Forever 21

Look 2
Printed Dress: McGinn Collection
Jeweled Heels: Giuseppe Zanotti
Silver Spiked Rings: Phoenix Keating
Barbed Wired Ear Cuff: Pretty In Punk

 Look 3
White and Black Stripe Cocoon Smock Dress: Aryn K
Floral Peeptoe Heels: Arden Wohl
Headphones: Monster Diamondz
Silver Spiked Rings: Phoenix Keating

Look 4
Silver Bandeau: Marie France Van Damme
Striped Jacket: McGinn Collection
Striped Shorts: McGinn Collection
Strappy Light Up Heels: Jimmy Choo
Silver Earrings: Erickson Beamon
Silver Rings: Erickson Beamon

 

Styling: Eryka Clayton
Makeup:  Angel Cherry
Hair:  Nikk Nelson

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