Friday, June 24, 2011
SIMONE SMITH WIFE OF L.L. COOL J.
Simone Smith is the epitome of elegance and class. As the mother of four children and beautiful wife to one of music and television’s hottest and successful men, Simone has turned her aspirations into more than just floating hopes. Combining her love for accessories and design with an entrepreneur’s spirit, LL Cool J’s leading lady has turned her ”hoop dreams” into reality with the Simone I. Smith Collection. In this exclusive OliveCocoMag interview with the dedicated designer, Simone opens up about the passion behind her SIS Collection, how she and hubby LL keep their marriage smokin’ hot, and her two-year fight of learning to walk again after an unexpected diagnosis. Dare to live–and wear–Simone’s dream.
OC: As the gorgeous wife to one of hip-hop’s hottest and most successful stars, how do you remain comfortable in your own skin and maintain a positive self image?
SS: Well, I’m definitely not an insecure person. I know who I am. I’m spiritually grounded and I’m very comfortable in my own skin.
OC: We see you a lot on the red carpet and you seem to have a quiet, yet strong, demeanor. How do you balance being a mom, business woman, and a wife?
SS: First of all, I’m definitely not quiet! [laughs] My marriage and my kids definitely come first, you know? I make time for my kids…I do the regular things that moms do. I run my house, I drive my kids to school, and I have a great support system. It’s definitely important for me and my husband to have ‘Mommy-Daddy time.’ We do the movies, we go to dinner, but we also do family things with the kids as well.
OC: We commend you for remaining humble and doing your own thing. How important do you think it is for a women to have their separate life away from everything else?
SS: I think it’s important for women to have their girl-time with their girlfriends. I think it’s important for women to maintain their individuality. Alot of times women tend to lose themselves in relationships. I definitely do dinner with my girlfriends…we have get togethers frequently. I make time for me, but I also make sure Todd [LL Cool J] and the kids are always straight at home.
OC: Let’s talk about your jewelry line. I had the chance to view some of your pieces and they’re stunning! How did you get started with jewelry design?
SS: Well, Todd actually brought the opportunity to me. He presented the opportunity to me, and being that I think I’m a hoop-connoisseur [laughs], I jumped right on it! I love earrings and I love to mix high end pieces with costume jewelry. I love accessories, and this is just a lifestyle brand that all the ladies will love…God willing!
OC: What types of pieces does your line feature and to whom are you catering?
SS: It’s definitely for ALL women. I’ve actually launched with big earrings first, so we have amazing cuffs, and then we also have a lot of the earrings designed that are offered in several sizes. I definitely encourage women to have the confidence to really go out and put on that big hoop earring, but the majority of the earring styles come in different sizes for those who aren’t so daring.
OC: So in other words, you have jewelry that you can kind of lounge around the house in or do a little yard work, and then you have the jewelry that if you want to step out for a night on the town with your girls, you can make a statement? It’s a lot of variety!
SS: Exactly! We also have diamond pieces. You know, a lot of the pieces that don’t have diamonds on it are just really beautiful designs. Dress them up or you can dress them down.
OC: What about jewelry do you think makes women feel so sexy?
SS: I just think when you get up and you get dressed and when you have a great pair of earrings to put on and a great cuff and a great ring and necklace, it just makes you feel good. It makes your outfit complete. It completes your outfit! Jewelry just completes me. Like once I get dressed, if I leave out of the house without a pair of earrings on, I just feel like ‘Oh God, it’s all wrong.’ [laughs]
OC: You see a lot of stuff in the media with couples and all their business in the news. How have you managed to not fall “prey” to the Hollywood lifestyle?
SS: I would definitely have to say I’m a real person, I have real friends. I’m not caught up in the celebrity of who’s who. My friends are my friends because of who they are as a person versus who they are. I do have celebrity girlfriends like Mary J. Blige and Regina King, but they’re my girls because of who they are on the inside. I still have my girlfriends from my childhood, and I definitely maintain all of my relationships with my bestfriends, and a lot of people can’t say that! I just really love genuine people.
OC: When you’re not creating your own projects, what do you do to relax and have time for yourself?
SS: Girl, you know, I love going shopping! [laughs] I go to the spa, get massages…I love a great foot massage. I get my nails done, you know, just do the whole pamper me, just for myself. I like to do the same things everyone else does.
OC: It’s so wonderful to see that you’re a woman with curves and a ‘real’ body. How much pressure–if any–have you felt to change your image from being in the spotlight?
SS: I don’t feel pressured at all. I’ve had four kids…I think I look damn good after that! I like my curves, my husband likes my curves, and that’s what really matters. I do workout abut 4 days a week and I eat pretty healthy most of the time.
OC: Relationships are full of ups and downs and added with fame it can be a little more tricky. How do you and LL Cool J keep your relationship fresh and spicy?
SS: I would have to say that we’re definitely friends first. Secondly, we don’t take each other for granted. And lastly, I don’t think nobody can do my hubby like I can! [laughs]
OC: Love and romance is something all of us women can relate to. As a grown married woman, how important is it for women to romance their men?
SS: It’s very important! I think that’s probably one of the reasons I’m still happily married. I know when to light a candle, I know when to run a lavender scented bath. I’m attentive and observant when it comes to my husband.
OC: With so many couples getting divorced, we know everyday isn’t a walk in the park. What is some relationship advice you can give to young women?
SS: I would have to say that you definitely have to compromise. Communication is very important. I tell all my girlfriends, whether they’re married or not, you should read this book by Stormie Omartain called The Power of the Praying Wife. And you know, you’ve got to maintain some give and take, but always be true to yourself.
OC: What are the 3 most important things in your life in which you cannot place a monetary value?
SS: My faith, my family, and my health.
OC: What the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words—
1. New York - My home, stomping grounds, no place like it
2. Todd - Smith
3. Feminine - Simone I. Smith Jewelry
OC: What’s one thing you wish people knew about you?
SS: When faced with adversity and difficult times, I am a fighter and survivor.
OC: Are there any difficulties–or maybe on thing in particular–that sticks out in your mind that you’ve had to overcome?
SS: Absolutely. I have a piece of jewelry, that when it’s purchased, proceeds go towards the American Cancer Society. The reason why I did that is because back in 2004, I had a very invasive surgery done because they found a Chondrosarcoma tumor in my tibia bone. So I had an invasive surgery called microvasuclar reconstructive surgery, and they had to remove my whole tibia bone and replace it with my fibular bone from my left leg. It took me almost 2 1/2 years to learn how to walk again. I fought through it, so I was a little depressed for like about…two weeks…but my grandmother called me up and told me, ‘you better not be depressed and get prayed up for those doctors who are doing this surgery on you and you’re gonna beat this.’ So I prayed to God and since then my test results have been great. In another 3 years, I’m waiting for my doctor to tell me that I’m cancer free!
OC: Many OC readers share the same dreams, fears, love lives, and insecurities, but in the end we are all tough! What do you think of OliveCoco’s mission? And what makes you a strong OliveCoco woman?
SS: I think OliveCoco’s mission is an amazing foundation for women to tell their stories. I think I’m a strong OliveCoco woman because I’m a wife, a mom, a God-fearing woman, a sister, a friend, and an entrepreneur. And the fact that I’m living out my dream! I hope my story inspires someone else.
OC: Speaking of your dream, how has that transition been from coming from behind the scenes to now working in the industry?
SS: It’s been great! It’s really, really been great and it’s been a true blessing, and the response I’m getting from women who say they put the earrings on and they see the earrings…I mean it just makes me feel so good because it’s something that I definitely love doing. About ten years ago, I was doing the bandannas with crystals on it and it was successful for the time that it was out there, but my youngest was only a year old, so I really needed to just kind of lay back and watch her grow. Now it’s just perfect because she’s not a baby anymore. The response that I get from the women that have purchased the earrings is just great and I’m so thankful.
OC: As an entrepreneur, what advice would you give–to women especially–who are trying to create their own thing like a jewelry collection or any kind of business?
SS: You have to surround yourself with the right team of people and just don’t give up. It’s important that you surround yourself with the right people.
OC: What kind of values do you instill in your house full of daughters to make sure they grow up to be the epitome of their mother?
SS: Well first and foremost, we go to church. I encourage my daughters to say their prayers, read their Bibles, and believe in yourself and that you’ve got to trust God.
OC: How do you want women to be affected by your jewelry collection?
SS: I just want my jewelry to really inspire women to go out there, put on a big hoop earring. Whether it’s with a gown or with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, go outside the box. Be a little daring!