“Marriage Is Something I Want To Do, Eventually” Vanessa Simmons Talks Motherhood, Marriage, And New Webseries
We watched Vanessa Simmons grow up on her family’s MTV reality show Run’s House and branch out as a business woman along with her sister Angela as they launched their own fashion line. Carefully modeling their father and uncle, Russel Simmons’, models of success, the two became household names with their Pastry sneaker brand.
While pushing forward with her career as a fashion designer, Vanessa is also building her acting resume. Growing up as Hip-Hop royalty prepared Simmons for her new role as Samantha Hoffman, the protagonist of an upcoming webseries, Mixed, who is an uptight, biracial conservative woman who grew up with extremely liberal parents. Sounds like a recipe for a hot mess right? We thought so too, which is why we reached out to Simmons to see what this new show is all about. We also asked her how new motherhood is treating her and if we’ll be hearing wedding bells anytime soon. Check out the Q&A:
What is Mixed about?
“Mixed is a comedy series based on a conservative girl who grows up in a liberal world. Its main character, Samantha Hoffman (who is played by moi), is a biracial conservative who moves back home after graduating to live with very liberal parents. They get involved in her life at ever angle — especially her sex life (or lack thereof), and her career. Basically, her parents are like children and she is the parent. Also, the spin on the title takes heed from her being biracial but also focuses on the mixed ideologies and personalities in the show.”
Has the show changed the way you view or debate politics?
“It hasn’t but it has made me look at things with a more well rounded perspective when it comes to my political stance. Mixed makes fun of everyone’s political views, though. Participating in the show allowed the actors and actresses to let go of a topic that is taken so seriously.”
Is it different filming for a webseries as opposed to a television show?
“I think it is the same when you film for both webseries and television shows. The only difference is the episodes are more condense for a webseries because they are seven minutes long. Our ultimate goal is for the show to become a half-hour series on a network cable channel. While filming the webseries, I treated it as though I was filming for a television show. I tried not to over compensate too much but I wanted it to be as relatable as possible.”
Was it a challenge filming while pregnant?
“I found out I was pregnant the night before the first day of production. I thought it was the flu and didn’t know what was up with me. And da di da da, I’m pregnant [laughs]! I had to go through the whole production while I had morning sickness. I would take ginger tea to settle my stomach and wanted special food on the site; it was a challenge but a challenge in a good way, for myself.”
What similarities do you have with your character, Samantha?
“I would say I am similar to Samantha based on the way I grew up and people judging who I am — especially in college. I lived on campus and when I would walk to class people would not approach me but automatically think I had an attitude. When people actually got a chance to meet me, they would tell me “Wow, you are really cool!” I would respond saying, “Thanks for prejudging me! [laughs]”
Would you be Samantha’s friend in real life?
“I think Samantha is cool, I would maybe try to get her to loosen up just a little bit. I feel like she is too much in her head but I had so much fun playing her as a character.”
What is it like being a working mother?
“Being a working mom has inspired me a lot more than before when I was just working because I was just supporting myself. After I gave birth, I felt like I was Super Woman. I said to myself if I could get through pregnancy and labor, I can get through anything. It really boosted my confidence. I want my daughter to ultimately grow up and be proud of her mother. I want my daughter to know: if she puts in the work, has faith, and pursues her dreams, she can make anything happen.”
Why do you take the “less is more” approach towards posting photos of your daughter, Ava Marie, on social media?
“I understand mothers who take photos all the time! When you look at your child, you say to yourself ‘Oh my god, you were in my stomach and you have my eyes!’ For me, I want to take the time to bond with my daughter. So many people were inquiring (which my family and I were so grateful for their love and support). But I wanted to take time before I put her picture out there. No judgement to mothers who post photos all the time because my phone right now is at the capacity of pictures!”
How is Angela as an aunt?
“She’s been fantastic! Angela spends as much time with her as possible and she always tells Ava,’you’re gonna be a little fashionista! And we are going to go shopping!’So Angela is waiting for the time when she and Ava can have Aunty-Niece outings. All my siblings have been very welcoming to Ava. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Is marriage in the future for you?
“Marriage is something I want to do, eventually. Everything in its due time. I understand people had a lot of things to say about me becoming pregnant before I got married. It was not my plan but it did happen and I don’t regret anything. I want things to take its natural course and happen as it should. You should allow things to evolve, beautifully.”
Check out the first episode of Mixed, below! What do you think?