Vanessa And Angela Simmons Talk 'Growing Up Hip Hop,' Family And Individual Brands
Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III

Vanessa And Angela Simmons Talk 'Growing Up Hip Hop,' Family And Individual Brands

Vanessa and Angela Simmons have grown up right before our eyes. Now in their 30s, the daughters of Run DMC’s Rev Run have booming careers, all while balancing motherhood. Much of their lives have been chronicled on We TV’s popular reality series, Growing Up Hip Hop, where Angela serves as an executive producer.

The show is in its sixth season. This season, viewers are introduced to Angela’s new beau, boxer Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs. It’s the first love interest she’s introduced on the show publicly since her ex-fiance, Sutton Tennyson. Angela typically keeps her private life out of the spotlight but felt such a strong connection with Jacobs that she wanted to incorporate him fully into her life, even meeting her 4-year-old son SJ.

“Introducing your kid to someone you date can be difficult but I don’t think there’s a special recipe to it – I think it’s about when you feel it’s right in your heart,” she says. “This is the first time I really introduced someone into my whole TV world because I feel like if I’m going to be with someone then I feel like ‘Why not?’”

There are rumors that Angela and Jacobs are no longer together, but she says fans will have to tune into the show to see everything play out throughout the course of the season. Still, she doesn’t regret having him involved in the show.

Vanessa is also not one to publicly display her love life. She’s reportedly been dating Michael Wayans since 2005 and the two have one daughter, Ava. Vanessa says it’s out of respect for her partner that she reveals minimal about her intimate family life.

“It takes two people to make a decision regarding whether your significant other wants to be a part of that world and I kind of came into reality TV already in this relationship,” Vanessa explains. “He’s just a lot more private and I have to respect that and it’s an interesting balance for me being as though I’ve always been on reality TV while keeping my family life separate. You do get to see bits and pieces of Ava throughout the season but I typically keep my family life personal because I have to respect my partner.”

Their brother JoJo is also in the season. This is the third reality project that the eldest three siblings have been part of. Vanessa and Angela are open to the idea of a possible spinoff with just the siblings, equating it to an adult version of Run’s House.

While they are typically grouped together as the Simmons sisters and have a shared mission of women empowerment, Vanessa and Angela are thriving independently. 

Vanessa has always had a passion for acting. Run’s House fans watched as she got her start with a guest spot on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light. She’s currently on BET’s Games People Play and ALLBLK’s Monogamy. The former is heading into its second season and the latter is entering its third season.

“Being an actress has always been a lifelong dream of mine, it’s why I moved to LA all those years ago you guys say on [our other reality show] Daddy’s Girls,” she gushes. “To finally be hitting a point where I can do it professionally is like the ultimate goal for me.”

For Angela, she’s a fitness enthusiast. Her campaign “Built Not Bought” is all about body positivity and the correlation between mental health and overall wellness.

“I’m not necessarily telling people don’t buy their body…my body is natural right now but that’s not to say that I’ll never do anything,” she says. “My whole thing is like building up your mind, your body and soul all at once. I think you have to have your mind there too and be mentally ready as well before you make the decision to go and get surgery. I developed it because when I was younger I had a lot of self-esteem issues with my own body weight and I decided to do something about it.”

Overall, Vanessa and Angela’s goal, regardless of being on reality television, is to stay as humble as possible and not feed into the negative stereotypes associated with Black women on reality television. Basically, you won’t ever see either of them throwing drinks or hands at anyone.

“I’m always the peacemaker, we’re both cool with everyone,” Vanessa says. “I’m always trying to promote that we have a peaceful cast and friend group.”

Growing Up Hip Hop airs every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. Watch the full interview below:

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