Joanne Perkins: Who Is Kimora Lee Simmons’ Mother?

Joanne Perkins

Joanne Perkins is the mother of Kimora Lee Simmons. Joanne’s daughter born Kimora Lee Perkins is a renowned American model, businesswoman, fashion designer, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, TV personality, philanthropist, and author. She has worked in television as a host, actress, reality star, and producer. She has made a name for herself in the fashion and media industry. She is no doubt one of Hollywood’s finest, a woman of many talents.

Joanne Perkins: Bio Summary

Name Joanne Perkins
Gender Female
Famous asmother of Kimora Lee Simmons
Date of birth N/A
Parents N/A
Spouse Vernon Whitlock Jr.
Children Kimora Lee Simmons
Occupation Former Social Security Administrator

Who Is Kimora Lee Simmons’ Mother, Joanne?

Joanne Perkins is in the spotlight thanks to her famous daughter Kimora Lee Simmons. She is the woman who gave birth to Kimora and raised her to be who she is today. Joanne is a half-Korean, half-Japanese woman. She is also known as Kyoko Perkins or Joanne Kyoko Perkins. There isn’t an in-depth information on the internet regarding her life as a child.

However, Joanne Perkins was born into the chaos of the Korean War. Her mother who is said to have fled Japan for Korea during World War II, married a U.S. serviceman. Per Famechain, she was ‘adopted by an American serviceman during the Korean War.’ Joanne was adopted by the American serviceman who had reportedly spotted her mother filling sandbags in Inchon.

Details of Joanne Perkins’ siblings, other relatives, and family background are not available. She had relocated to the United States in the aftermath of the Korean War. Nothing is known about her education. Joanne was an administrator for Social Security. She met and fell in love with Vernon Whitlock Jr. who is black.

It is unknown if Joanne and Vernon were married or not. Vernon has worked as a bail bondsman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigator, and barber. On May 4, 1975, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., they gave birth to a girl child, Kimora Lee Perkins. Vernon Whitlock Jr. was into flashy cars, clothes, and jewelry (diamond-chip rings).

ALSO READ: Vernon Whitlock Jr.: Everything About The Life Of Kimora Lee Simmons’ Father

Vernon was someone who constantly brags, trading bonds for jewelry or sex with inmates’ girlfriends, court papers alleged, and dealing cocaine and synthetic heroin. He was targeted by several law enforcement agencies. He was arrested by an undercover policeman.

Vernon was the kind of guy that women waggled for if they saw him—flamboyant, outspoken, fun, and funny,” remembers Guinn Kelly, the undercover cop who brought him down. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison, 3 of which he served. At the time he was sentenced, his daughter Kimora Lee Simmons was reportedly in grade school.

Joanne Perkins raised her daughter Kimora Lee Simmons alone. Kimora grew up in the northern St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Missouri. Due to Joanne and Vernon’s multiethnic background, their daughter Kimora was frequently bullied at school. She was often teased for being so tall and for her mixed ancestry.

Because of Kimora’s height and her father Vernon being African-American and her mother Joanne being Japanese-Korean, she struggled to find confidence and felt “different”, in her own words. Kimora said: “It was tough for me at school… trying to blend in and get along with other kids. I was an oddity and kids are scared of things they don’t understand.”

Joanne Perkins enrolled her daughter into modeling classes when she was eleven years old, to help give her daughter confidence. Eventually, Joanne’s daughter Kimora who attended a model search event in Kansas City was discovered by the event’s organizer, Marie-Christine Kollock, an agent from the prominent Paris modeling agency, Glamour.

ALSO READ: Shelley Stevens: Who Is Natalie Portman’s Mother?

Kimora later secured an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel. She started to work under the tutelage of the late German fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s then designer. Today, Kimora Lee has established herself as one of the most successful and popular personalities in the fashion and media world.

Kimora legally changed her name from Kimora Lee Perkins to Kimora Lee Simmons after she married American entrepreneur, writer, and record executive Russell Simmons. She is divorced from Russell but still maintains her name as such.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right and needs corrections, Kindly contact us!

Ruth Kai Botchway

Ruth Kai Botchway is a Senior Editor at She is a graduate of All Stars Media College (2021) with a Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies. With more than two years experience in Journalism, she has served as an intern at Accra FM and worked with Green TV and Ashiaman TV. She worked as a Maritime Journalist/ influencer, producing Port and Maritime agenda initially aired on Ashiaman TV. You can reach her via email:

Leave a Reply