Vanessa Simmons: Triple threat, and there’s more where that came from!

Most of us may know Vanessa Simmons as the eldest daughter of the legendary Hip Hop pioneer Rev Run (of Run DMC), niece of rap mogul, Russell Simmons, and MTV reality star from Run’s House, but Vanessa proves herself to be more than just the daughter of an icon. Don’t be fooled, this gorgeous 24 year old from Saddle River, New Jersey, has worked independently and with design partner, sister, Angela Simmons, to form her own identity as half owner of Pastry, a Ford model, and an actress staring in upcoming play The Actor’s Rap!. I got a chance to talk to Vanessa herself as she was getting her hair and make-up done and she proved to be the sweet and intelligent woman viewers have grown to know and love on Run’s House.

Singersroom: From Run’s House, I know you’ve been working on breaking into the modeling and acting field, do you think the show has been a stepping stone in furthering your career as an actress?

Vanessa Simmons: Being on the show (Run’s House) has definitely been a stepping-stone in my career. But, I’ve been working towards this since I was 15-16 years old. At 16 I started acting so it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I would have put my all into it earlier but my parents insisted I finish school first.

Singersroom: Staring in a comedy, did you find it difficult to come into character?

Vanessa Simmons: The play is a comedy and I play a rapper, Little T. Obviously you know from Run’s House that I don’t act in such a way so I had to take inspiration from a lot of different characters and implement a little of me. A play is a play; it’s fun to be on stage, have a good time and just act – because it’s what I love to do. Also being on stage is a great way to expand and be taken more seriously as an actress. It is also very hard to do, learning the script lines and implementing T’s character into me and letting myself come through – either way, it’s a lot of fun.

Singersroom: You’re pretty much what the industry would call a “triple threat,” do you think you’d like to focus your time on one path (modeling, acting, or design) or do it all?

Vanessa Simmons: Oh, I love everything I do! I’ve learned to put my all into one thing at a time and make it work; just give all my undivided attention to one aspect and keep working. I’d love to continue doing everything!

Singersroom: Speaking of the design aspect, what is in the future for the Pastry brand?

Vanessa Simmons: Well we (myself and Angela) have the sneaker brand, clothing line coming out late January, handbags which are available now, and we’re working on a jewelry line as well. We’re working on amazing things and Angela and myself are putting much attention on he Pastry brand and it’s growing. We’re actually coming out with a new line of sneakers called Glam Pie. [How cute?]

Singersroom: Who are your favorite designers and acting inspirations?

Vanessa Simmons: First my favorite designers, I’d have to say Angela and myself, Marc Jacobs, Gwen Stefani for LAMB, Marciano, Christian Louboutin shoes, Betsey Johnson, and Dolce and Gabbana. I particularly love Betsey Johnson and Marc Jacobs because of their uniqueness in design; it’s something you don’t see out there. Some of my favorite actresses are Marilyn Monroe because she was able to be sexy and taken seriously as an actress at the same time, Rachael McAdams because she plays a different person in every movie she makes, the range is incredible, and Halle Berry. I love love love Halle Berry.

Singersroom: Being in a family of entrepreneurs, do you feel that you have to work extra hard to stand out and what are you doing to achieve that?

Vanessa Simmons: I feel that I definitely have to work extra hard, Angela as well. People automatically assume that we come from such a family we have everything handed to us, but it’s not like that. Angela and I work night and day in the studio, creating and working on the whole decision process by ourselves. Everyday is a learning process and I definitely take inspiration and advice from my family members (my dad, uncle, and Kimmora as well) -they are the ones who’ve been there and know what to expect, so of course I take as much advice from them as possible and follow by example.

Singersroom: Define yourself; who is Vanessa Simmons?

Vanessa Simmons: I am confident, loyal, trustworthy; an actress, an entrepreneur. I share the same goals of success like everyone else. Don’t confuse me as a socialite; I am the owner of Pastry, a co-worker, and I work hard for what I want.

The Actor’s Rap! play premieres Friday, February 8th at Engelman Recital Hall @ the Baruch College Performing Arts Center.

Show times: Thursday-Saturday @ 8 pm Saturdays: 3pm & 8 pm
Visit for more info. —— By: Anna Dabrowska


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