Kimora Lee & Russell Simmons’ 16-year-old daughter Aoki got into Harvard

Celebs attend Russell Simmons Art for Life benefit

Lord, I did not want to cover this story. It’s not that I didn’t want to talk about the 16-year-old daughter of celebrities getting into Harvard, it’s that this child’s father is Russell Simmons. Russell Simmons is a rapist. It’s not Aoki Lee Simmons’ fault, and she shouldn’t have to pay for her father’s crimes. But that’s why I didn’t even want to talk about this story, because the whole thing is Russell Simmons-adjacent. Anyway, in the wake of Operation Varsity Blues and a renewed interest in how the rich and powerful get their children into college, there are some seemingly nice stories. This is one of those stories – a bright young woman got into Harvard. On her own merit, says mom Kimora Lee.

Kimora Lee Simmons‘ daughter is going to Harvard! At only 16, Aoki Lee — who Kimora, 43, parents with ex-husband Russell Simmons — has been accepted into the illustrious institution.

Kimora announced the exciting news on Instagram, sharing a video of her son Kenzo Lee reading Aoki’s admissions letter out loud.

“Yaaaayyyyy @aokileesimmons!! She’s on her way to #Harvard!! We are so proud of YOU!! Such hard work and only 16! You did it! It took years of super dedication and lots of tears! But HERE YOU ARE!!! GO GIRL!!!” Kimora captioned the clip, which shows Aoki flashing a wide smile as she takes in the news. “Enjoy the journey! We are excited to see the great things you will do! Sorry I’m one of those SUPERLOUD MAMAS! She also got into Dartmouth, Vassar, Barnard etc! Woooo!”

“I’m still crying and beaming,” Kimora says in another video before turning the camera to show Aoki, who can be seen jumping for joy. “You don’t understand this has been a ride for me. I’m two out of two kids in college. I have two boys left, I don’t know if I can do it… Quite honestly she really did it on her own merit and we’re so really proud.”

“Yoki can’t row or anything like that. There was really no hope for us in that area. I’m just so proud that you did it on your own… Praise the Lord,” Kimora says in the video, taking a jab at the recent college admissions scandal allegedly involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

[From People]

Aoki got into Harvard, Vassar, Dartmouth and Barnard? Damn. She must be smart as hell. That being said, of course Harvard, Vassar, Dartmouth and Barnard looked at her name and her parents’ names and knew that A) Aoki would be able to pay tuition upfront, with no financial aid and B) her family would also donate heavily throughout her college career and beyond. She didn’t get into college because of her parents’ legal or criminal behavior, but let’s be real – the reality of Aoki’s parentage definitely affected the colleges’ decisions.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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115 Responses to “Kimora Lee & Russell Simmons’ 16-year-old daughter Aoki got into Harvard”

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  1. Esmom says:

    Um, Loughlin’s kids couldn’t row, either. Lol. I think her joke didn’t really work.

    It’s easy to be cynical about college admissions, that’s for sure. But I’m going to assume Aoki put in a lot of work to get there, even with her family’s fortune to back her.

    • Char says:

      Even if they looked at her aplication thinking about her parents money, it’s really bad to think Aoki didn’t deserved her spot there. If she did her part and worked hard, it’s her victory to celebrate.

  2. Original Jenns says:

    And I’m fine with that because paying her full tuition and her parents donations will allow other students to receive financial aide. She seems like she earned the right to attend, the wealthy will always get second looks. At least this way the spot is deserved and will benefit others.

    And I agree, I hope Russell Simmons keeps his mouth shut and stays away, so her good news can shine on it’s own without his nasty shadow.

  3. Desolee says:

    Very nice message from mom!
    Lovely to hear about a privileged girl who chose to work so hard.
    My favourite part is the “can’t row or anything” LOL is that called shade?

  4. perplexed says:

    Well, at least she likes studying it seems.

  5. Lizzie says:

    i’m sure she’s smart but why would you want your 16 year old to go to college?

    • Peg says:

      It could be early admission and she will start in 2020, or she skipped a couple of grades in high school.
      Some 16 yr olds are 16 going on 2, while other are 16 going 40.

    • M.A.F. says:

      I have had students in my classes who have either skipped just one grade or multiple grades. So yes, it’s possible for a 16 year old to be going to college. There have been several news reports of 11 and 13 years old going to college.

      • perplexed says:

        A lot of younger kids go to college. But very rarely do I hear of a 16 year old going to Harvard….although I would venture a guess it happens.

    • Lizzie says:

      i know it is possible. i was asking, rhetorically, why you would want your 16 year old to go into an environment that is just as much about socialization than it is about education when they will have no peers to socialize with. or – they find older people to socialize with, totally unsupervised. some kids are 16 going on 40 but why put that burden on a child? what advantage does it serve other than bragging rights?

      • Harryg says:

        I agree with you Lizzie. I feel kids are pushed and pushed and pushed endlessly. Even if you really want to go to college at 16, is it really the best idea, that young? Even if you are a science genius or something, you might be really behind with some other areas.

      • ByTheSea says:

        This is Harvard, so yeah, I’d want my kid–any any age–going there. That being said, Harvard is probably not like a typical school. It’s Harvard for a reason.

      • PleaseAndThankYou says:

        Harvard is just like every other college, it’s just an Ivy. It’s no different than other institutions, and no, a 16-year-old shouldn’t be going there. Except for the Extension School’s summer program.

      • Esmom says:

        Kids who have gone to college young have reported those very concerns. But it doesn’t seem to hinder some, like Ronan Farrow. I know another boy who started university this year at 16 and has loved it. He was just ready to go and found a non-partying niche that’s right for him.

        I once read a story about a boy in Chicago who started college at age 10! The social divide was much, much harder for him to navigate than if he’d been a few years older, I think.

      • BorderMollie says:

        I also agree, Lizzie. Even if she’s a genius, she’s still a child. She deserves a couple more years to enjoy being young and carefree before she’s thrown into our soul draining capitalist rat race. If anything, childhood should be extended, not constricted.

      • pyritedigger says:

        I think you can get an absolutely great education at state schools or schools that aren’t “ivy league.” But it’s also not true that Harvard or elite academic institutions are the same as those which are not in the same category. I went to a state school and transferred to an Ivy. The Ivy league school was much, much harder and the competition for grades and academic achievement was extreme. The access to professors and research, especially in the hard sciences, is unparalleled.

        It’s one of the reasons that it’s even more unfortunate that students who aren’t equipped with either grades, resolve, or interest get into these schools– they are taking the place of a student who would not only do better, but gain more from the experience.

      • Nikki says:

        I agree with you Lizzie.

      • jwoolman says:

        She’ll be 17 if she starts next Fall. There isn’t a huge difference between 17 and 18, particularly for girls who are already deep into academic subjects. Senior year in high school was kind of a bore for me.

    • Maddie says:

      16 isn’t too young to go to college. Most kids are 17-18. She most likely skipped a grade.

      My freshman roommate was 16 when we started school. A couple of my cousins were also 16 when they entered college.

      • me says:

        I’m guessing she’s turning 17 soon, so no big deal. We let 16 year olds drive cars for God’s sake so going to college a year early is not something she won’t be able to handle.

    • Veronica S. says:

      She likely skipped a grade from the sound of it, else she would’ve been 17 like a lot of us with late year birthdays when she started. My larger concern would be whether she had the maturity to handle that workload yet, but at least she has the money to pay it without loans should she stumble a bit. That’s more my reason for being against teenagers going straight into college – the sheer up front cost these days.

    • Moneypenny says:

      I got accepted to Yale when I was 16. I skipped a grade, so I was always younger than everyone else my year. If she’s always been younger than everyone else, college won’t be any more of a shock for her than for everyone else.

    • lucy2 says:

      I went to college at 17, and I was pretty mature for my age, but at 16 it would have been hard.

      I’m sure her parents’ names/money didn’t hurt, but for all those schools to accept a 16 year old, she must be very, very smart, hard working, and dedicated. Best of luck to her, hope she does something great with her education.

    • Lulu says:

      @Lizzie why not? I stated university at 17, my brothers at 16 and 17, dad at 15… it was great. Lots of students are younger and older than whats expected. Thats what counselors and dorm moms are for…

    • Hoot says:

      It says that she got into college at “only 16,” but this does not mean she will be actually attending Harvard at age 16. High school kids go through the application process well before they will be attending college. She could be about to turn 17 right now, or just turning 18 before she actually goes away to school. No matter. Big congrats to Aoki. It sounds like she achieved this on her own. Believe me, you DO need the grades (achieved through AP or IB classes) get into an Ivy.

    • Kebbie says:

      If she’s going in the fall, she’ll be 17. Her birthday is in August. She’s got a late birthday and probably skipped one grade.

    • Jane says:

      I understand the concerns, but if she is done with height school, what would you have her do? Nothing for 2 years? She is too young for a gap tu ear, a wolf tour or anything like that. College can be a supervised experience.

    • Vidya says:


      I was 16 when i started college. A month in i turned 17 in October my freshman year. I skipped 3rd grade. I was the youngest in my class but i wasnt any less mature not capable of handling college. I had been socialized and prepared enough through out my high school to handle college at that age. No much a of difference between a 17 year old freshman or 18 year old freshman.

    • Dazed and confused says:

      It happens – even at Harvard. A kid in my graduating class went to Harvard and he was 16. He’d already taken all the math classes on offer at KU while still in high school, so he majored in The Classics. Went on to Harvard Law and did a year at Oxford, too. He’s doing very well. To my knowledge, he did not have money or connections. His parents were professors at the University of Kansas.

      • Hoot says:

        She will be 17 when she arrives at Harvard. All freshman are housed in dorms contained in Harvard Yard, where the buildings are in a circular area that is separate from the rest of the students. It is a very safe area with grass in the center and outdoor chairs/benches for students to study or socialize. It’s very freshman-friendly, quiet during the weekdays (even weekends), and very conducive to studying.

    • lboogi says:

      My Mom went to college at 16. Some people go because they’ve done all they can at their high school, and they’re ready to move on.

  6. Nicole says:

    In addition, the family has the resources that they can be in the best prep schools and were likely groomed from birth. That said, I think the girl worked hard, and I think she may still have to fight once she gets there. She’s still a woman of color, those perceptions will be wafting through whatever school she goes to. Bottom line, no matter how you get there, you still have to demonstrate why you get to stay. She doesn’t strike me as a “Gentleman’s C” type of kid.

  7. Enny says:

    And tomorrow we’ll hear that Russell Simmons just “funded” a new music program at Harvard…

    Honest question: can the children of celebs ever get into college on “merit” alone unless the admissions process is identity-blind?

    Redact the kid’s name and identifying info during the decision-making process…ok, I’ll buy it. Otherwise…?

    • Hmmm says:

      Hi Enny, I went to one of these schools and you are absolutely right. If your parent has a certain level of fame, and you have good ( or even just goodish grades), you almost certainly will get in, while others with the same and better academic qualifications will not.

    • notthisagain says:

      IMO, this is truly the exception, this kid is super smart (think her SAT scores were in the high 1500) high GPA , focused on her school work, there is no posing on SM for her just school work + achievements
      Notably her parents wealth don’t shield her from racism one of her latest SM posts was about a white boy continuously calling her the nword all through School and how she had to carry the load when he + other kids ( presumably rich + white ) bail on group assignments

    • Khy says:

      Your insult wasn’t necessary, if you knew anything about her you would know she’s the smart one in her family she recently went on a rant about her lab partner who was slacking off and she basically did all the work. She wouldn’t have gotten into all those colleges at 16 because her parent’s paid someone, just because a few did it doesn’t mean everyone does it.

      • wtf says:

        I don’t think Enny meant that as an insult. That is a legitimate question. No one is doubting that Aoki is smart and hard working. The question is how much of a role did her parents’ fame factor into her admission? There are a lot of smart hard working kids out there with excellent grades etc, and they don’t get into ivy league schools at 16.
        I don’t think we should pretend that her parents’ name didn’t have anything to do with it. And not just her – all the kids of celebrities and the uber rich. This school scandal just exposed that our so-called meritocracy isn’t a reality. If you think about it, the preference actually hurts kids like Aoki. It is entirely possible she could’ve gotten there on her own, but now we will never know.

      • jwoolman says:

        She also wanted to go to Harvard since she was quite young. I don’t think it was parental pressure either, she just decided she wanted to go and worked at it. The fact that she was also accepted at several other highly rated schools at such a young age makes it clear that she was accepted on merit. The children of the scandal were struggling to qualify, hence the cheating and bribery.

        It will be interesting to see where she goes from Harvard and beyond.

    • jay says:

      Why aren’t admissions applications reviewed blindly? That’s a really good point. It’s almost like institutions don’t want to eliminate gender bias, racial bias, “fame” bias etc, etc, etc et fucking cetera…

  8. Bewp says:

    It’s really wrong to comment on an underaged kid if you won’t even Google. Aoki has been known to be extremely studious, into coding and science, a participant in highly competitive programs, for YEARS now.

    • Enny says:

      As have thousands of children whose names don’t show up on Google because they don’t have famous parents. Does Google tell you whether she was truly THE MOST qualified? Or just that she was studious – because that’s the narrative her parents chose for her, because they were rich and powerful enough to choose her narrative? Not every student has that kind of luxury – being Google-able already means you’re playing from a different deck.

      My point still stands: until admissions is identity-blind, we can never be sure any decision is merit-based. And that’s not fair to Aoki – it sounds like she is a good student. At the very least, this admission – and going to college – means something to her. She’s no Olivia Jade. But unfortunately for her, people will always wonder which part of the application – the Aoki or the Lee Simmons – really got the committee’s attention. 🤷🏼‍♀️

      • Bewp says:

        Mmmm. You don’t have a point.

      • Aang says:

        Enny I see your point and agree.

      • Jane says:

        And are all those just-as-good-as-she-is not admitted?
        Maybe they do not have rich parents, but neither do they have to prove to the world that they are good, hardworking and deserving despite their parents money and fame.

      • me says:

        They shouldn’t allow the students name on applications…just give them a number. That way it would a bit more fair. I mean they also ask for financial records don’t they? They want to make sure the tuition will be paid. But I’m guessing since she’s so smart wouldn’t she have gotten a scholarship? Are they leaving that part out because we know they are rich and their kid doesn’t even need a scholarship?

      • Hoot says:

        Are you speaking about private colleges/universities, or are you speaking about state schools? Whether the application review process is fair or not does not matter to private institutions – they make their own rules since they are not publicly funded. Schools that are publicly funded should be fair in their selections, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way every time.

      • Paleokifaru says:

        @Me the Ivy’s do not give merit based scholarships for undergraduates. The only assistance offered is for financial need and that does not include scholarship assistance for middle class families who may have to funnel everything into the tuition. They don’t care. You or your parents, or a combo, take out loans and sometimes a 2nd mortgage. Some kids can do work study programs to cover some room and board costs.

        I went to an Ivy for grad school and that’s a different ballgame. You are fully funded (or very close to it) because they only offer the number of spots they can cover. It’s very selective compared to some of the other programs that are still money makers for their institutions.

      • jwoolman says:

        I rather doubt that she was groomed for Harvard by her parents… They move in different worlds and both are creative types. Most likely they encouraged all their kids to be serious about education (unlike the cheaters and bribers, who let their kids slide). But I doubt that they pushed her to a specific school. I also doubt that they needed to push – she sounds like a self-driven kid from way back.

    • Veronica S. says:

      She has the advantage of rich, well-connected parents, simple as that. It doesn’t necessarily mean she didn’t work hard to accomplish the admissions on merits of her own (certainly, she wouldn’t be going at sixteen if she hadn’t), but she has that privilege. It’s not a terrible thing unless it’s abused like the college scandal did, but it does need acknowledged in fairness to many thousands who do not. It’s not a crime to have a way to get ahead in the world. We just need to stop pretending that money isn’t one.

      • BorderMollie says:

        Yes, its annoying when people ignore the connection between privilege and accomplishments. Having rich parents gives you time and takes away stress, creating ideal conditions to accomplish a goal, to say nothing of connections wealthy people have at the ready. I’m sure this girl is very smart and works hard, but there are lots of smart kids born into poverty who are held back from achieving their full potential because of stress and lack of community resources/support.

    • ADS says:

      I think Enny has an entrenched view of this young lady – and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it it’s because Aoki is a young woman of colour who does not fit the stereotype (shallow and not bright) that some people are much more comfortable with. You’re wasting your time with them.

  9. FH says:

    i actually this kid really worked hard to get into harvard plus she wants to study archeology- how many applicants do you have in such a niche field?! plus upon having a closer look at her IG profile she’s definitely got an interesting CV- she’s attended an elite boarding school in switzerland, her parents have afforded her multiple excavation trips to all these interesting sites, she plays volleyball and runs track PLUS her instagram is mostly focussed on school related activities

    • Joy says:

      Too many in And the.chances of finding employment in archeology are very very slim.

      • runcmc says:

        Fair, but for a child of two incredibly wealthy people employment might not be her biggest concern. Like…she’ll never want for money. But she’s choosing to go into a niche science for the joy of learning, which I think is commendable.

    • A.Key says:

      As an archaeologist I can tell you it’s not as exciting as it initially sounds, lol.
      But she’s really rich and can afford to volunteer half of her career which is what being an archaeologist is all about so she’ll be fine.
      It’s poor kids who study archaeology that I’m worried about.
      Also, as an archaeologist I can tell you you don’t need to be super intelligent for this line of work, just diligent really.
      I know parents are all proud of their kids even if their kid burps but really, unless you get a scholarship for a PhD in physics I don’t see the point of bragging.

  10. Daisyfly says:

    If you follow Aoki on Instagram, you’ll see that this girl has always been focused on school and playing volleyball. She’s also snarky as hell when it comes to her big sister and I am here for it.

  11. Jb says:

    Hopefully this girl will acknowledge her privilege and instead of deny it, accept and try to pay it forward. You cannot help being born into privilege but you can help others climb up to the top you were born into. I can’t hate rich kids for being rich but I can hate if they continue to use their privilege against those who didn’t have the same opportunities. We need allies and not enemies.

  12. Wisca says:

    The best article I’ve read on this is by Masha Gessen at the New Yorker. Russell Simmons is a college graduate who put his resources and he and his wife’s cultural capital into ensuring this outcome. Of course she got into Harvard. Our educational system is not a meritocracy. What shocks me is when wealthy children, with all of their resources, can’t get into an elite school.

    • Maddie says:

      Right. Like how despite going to Spence, goop couldn’t get into UCSB without that call from Michael Douglas.

    • A.Key says:

      Fantastic article, a great read.

    • Malalal says:

      Thanks for linking to article. Seems to me that what we are seeing here is a class v. race debate. If you’re in the class camp, well, then it diminishes her achievements; if you’re in the race camp, then it doesn’t. Rich people send their rich daughter to Harvard doesn’t sound so good, but black first-generation wealthy family sends their daughter to Harvard sounds a lot better. Especially if you still believe in the American dream. I guess it stops people from taking to the streets in protest if they believe that they too can be as successful as XYZ if they work as hard etc. Signed, a Canadian.

  13. Rivkah says:

    Congrats to her, I live in a Central American country and archaeologists are in a very high demand right now here.

  14. Originaltessa says:

    Ok, I’m sure Aoki is qualified as I’ve heard she’s brilliant, but why brag and rub it in? Isn’t that sort of what led to this whole scandal in the first place? Parents using their kids’ accomplishments to boost their own egos and stick it to the rest of us?

    • Nichole says:

      YES. Thank you; I was having a hard time articulating that myself.

    • eto says:

      I don’t think they’re rubbing it in – just celebrating at this point.

    • Erinn says:

      I have mixed feelings. If it weren’t for the admissions scandal I wouldn’t bat an eye at it. But I think if it were me, a good part of me would be keeping it quiet for at least a little while.

      But… at the same time – they’re SO proud. And they should be. That girls is so pumped to have gotten accepted, and clearly wants to focus on getting the best education she can and has put the work in. So I don’t actually blame them for wanting to shout it from the rooftops.

    • boz says:

      It starts to become sick when a child’s only function is to be a mirror for the parent. I don’t think the Simmons mom crossed that line with her brag, although she does toe it.
      The Loughlin / Olivia Jade situation, however, is a whole other beast. That was purely about the parents’ egos. And I think Olivia Jade understood that from the beginning, even alluding to it when she said that she was only going to college for her parents. Sick and sad.

    • Swack says:

      Also thank you. While they have a right to be proud and cheer her on, as others do also, the timing is wrong. They knew before the scandal she was accepted. Why not put it out there when it first happened?

    • Reef says:

      I get that Varsity Blues is making it cute to question every child’s accomplishment who comes from wealth but please relax. Why wouldn’t a parent be happy that all their investment in their kid academically has paid off? I would not give 1 oz of a care about none of y’alls feelings if I knew my baby worked hard and accomplished her goals. Imagine letting strangers dictate the pride I have in my child, when, and how I express it. Prove she didn’t earn her spot if you’re mad.

    • ADS says:

      This is a young black woman who got into Harvard EARLY. We live in an increasingly right wing and populist world (in the West) where it is considered legitimate to openly posit that people of African descent are less intelligent than other racial groups (see Sam Harris et al). Every black parent should trumpet their childrens intellectual and/or academic achievements if they choose to. It only helps to underline the inaccuracy of the stereotypes and lies we face as people of colour. And to act like it is the same as when rich white people do it is disingenuous.

      • Tiff says:

        This! The same pipelines aren’t even available to Kimora and Russel as wealthy people of color. Yes they had more privileges than most but they are only first generation money and their access is more limited than white people with a quarter than their wealth. Education and access to education is a big deal in families of color (I say this as a WoC with multiple degrees and six figure student loans) and they had the opportunity to help even the playing field for their daughter so that HER hard work could get her into the school she wanted and study what she wants. I love that she is studying archeology. I actually wanted to study that but that was not a major that would have made money so I went to law school instead. I didn’t feel it would be responsible for me to go with I wanted so I went with what was expected. I will not knock Aoki for doing something I wished I could do just because I couldn’t. I fully support and am happy for her in her school and choice of major. I’m glad she had the privileges she did to even the playing field with her peers. I’ll just say this one more time, “even the playing field with her peers.”

  15. noway says:

    Here’s the problem with this, it’s okay to be proud of your daughter, but now is not the time for rich people to brag on them getting into good colleges. You don’t need to instagram, tweet, facebook post etc. Cause there is going to be a portion of people side-eying you and your kid with this scandal so prevalent now. Now she seems like a great student, and I’m sure she will do well, but if they don’t think their ability to pay full price and donate didn’t have a part in it they are crazy. I just wish these rich people would get a clue and stop screaming my kid didn’t cheat. It’s kind of stupid, and people are going to make their assumptions anyway.

  16. Honeybadger says:

    Give the girl a break. She’s 16 and she was admitted into some of the finest colleges in the country. Those universities have billion-dollar endowments; they don’t need Russell’s money or his shame. She did it on her own.

    • Nat says:

      Someone above said she went to an elite private school in Switzerland and her parents financed her projects for several archeological digs all over the world. That is hardly “doing it on your own”, can we be real?
      There was a good essay a while ago about how we keep perpetuating the cycle by valuing posh unique experiences over “unremarkable” real-life experiences in college applications, and how it serves as yet another discrimination mechanism. Instead of being in awe of a wealthy kid who used her parents’ wealth more judiciously than others by doing digs in Peru, how about being in awe of a kid who had to start working at 15 at his local Target to help his single Mom?

      • ADS says:

        Yeah someone above said it so it must be true. Jesus.

      • Nat says:

        They said it based on her Instagram, so yeah…

      • ADS says:

        “They said it based on her Instagram”.

        Seriously? Have YOU looked at her Instagram? Do you really think for one second her IG says “my parents financed my projects for several archeological digs all over the world”? I honestly don’t get why people are bending over backwards to detract from this young lady of colours achievements. It’s gross.

  17. S says:

    Anyone who refuses to acknowledge the role their own wealth and fame, of whatever level it may be, is at least part of why they got a coveted and highly sought after role/position/placement is in deep, deep denial, and suffering from great insecurity.

    It doesn’t mean Aoki isn’t very smart, and didn’t work very hard. You can be all those things and more and STILL acknowledge that having extremely famous, extremely wealthy parents who could provide outstanding educational opportunities and contacts almost certainly played a role in admission to a place where only 5% of applicants are selected.

    Also, there’s never a situation in which a celebrity bragging about their offspring being “self made” or “earning it all on their own” is gonna be a good, or even vaguely honest, take.

    There are no “self-made” children of billionaires.

  18. CES says:

    Good for her, but she had rich parents to make sure she went to the best private schools, best teachers, and likely private tutors. She still had a huge advantage compared to the average American high school student who could work their butt off, but still not get accepted into an Ivy League. In fact, the valedictorian of my high school was a good friend of mine. She was really smart and was involved in many social clubs at school, but she didn’t get accepted into Duke or Harvard. Must have been her middle class status

    • me says:

      That is very true. Some people are just lucky to have an advantage in life. Some take that advantage and run with it, while others don’t.

    • Mary says:

      This. Middle class kids often work part time jobs after school. Nobody bought me a car or gave me spending money – i had to work in my spare time after school, I never went on field trips because we didn’t have the money.

      I was smart but I worked two jobs through highschool – no time to join clubs or volunteer. I worked on the weekends through high school since I was 15 1/2.

      Aoki sounds smart, good for her, but is she special? I’m not convinced. We all know why she got into Harvard and it probably wasn’t based on merit.

      Go ahead and let these dumb rich parents show how their children get into these schools. All their doing is helping plummet Ivy leagues stock because its pretty clear anyone can buy their way into these schools.

  19. thaliasghost says:

    What is she majoring in though?

  20. Tiff says:

    I think the fact that she is going at 16 speaks more to her merit than her privilege. I also feel the determination she has shown to obviously graduate early and apply to multiple universities – not just one – show she is dedicated and will take advantage of this opportunity rather than make videos saying how much she hates school. It also shows she didn’t know if Harvard was a sure shot. Good for her! She should be proud of this and so should her parents. I stan a young female overachiever of color!

  21. Veronica S. says:

    People have a lot of trouble acknowledging the fine line between acknowledging privilege and erasing people’s agency and capability, and I get why this is a hard one for some people because she’s not only so young but a WOC, a group historically invalidated by much of Western culture. The problem shouldn’t be acknowledging that her parents’ money didn’t help her get in. It absolutely did in both direct and indirect ways. It provides her privileges that other people did not. It doesn’t mean she can’t be smart and that she can’t do incredible things down the line, but it does mean there’s a lot of people who cannot because they don’t have the same resources. That is the importance of acknowledging privilege. It’s erasing the myth of meritocracy used to hurt so many others.

  22. Moneypenny says:

    Congratulations to Aoki! Her name helped her get in for sure, but that doesn’t mean she is not qualified on her own to be there. I wish her the best.

  23. Mellie says:

    It’s sad that I only read the headline and began to give the side-eye to this family. Many of these famous kids are pretty intelligent, but this whole college scam has given all of them a bad name. Good for her though, I hope she does well.

  24. Lisa says:

    Good for Aoki. She is extremely bright and focused

  25. tysen says:

    well I’m glad she’s no Paris Hilton! way to go darling. Even Damien Escobar got accepted into Julliard–the youngest person ever to do so–and he’s doing just fine.

  26. wtf says:

    Beautifully said

  27. jules says:

    Whatever happened to being humble? I really don’t understand parents who need to brag about their kids like this, posting on social media. It screams of competition and living your life through your kids. I know this is the new “thing”, but if my parents did this when I was a teen, I would die of embarrassment.

    • Hoot says:

      Personally, I wish social media would just go away. There is too much nonsense posted by everyone on SM.

    • AG-UK says:

      I would be mortified and so would my son. But you see it all over SM I don’t comment it’s like look look at us see how great we are. Be proud but not everyone cares as much as you think they do.

      • Hoot says:

        @AG-UK – You got that right! Our son went to an IL school and there’s no way I would’ve announced that info. on SM. My husband and I were careful, telling only those relatives or close friends who asked. You’d be surprised how many take more interest in your bad news than good.

  28. BendyWindy says:

    IIRC, both Kimora and Russell clawed their way to the top. And yes, they were able to give her the best educational opportunities money can buy, but so can many wealthy people whose children don’t have the academic chops to make use of those advantages.

    I don’t even like Russell and Kimora, but I’ve heard them say time and time again that they value education and making sure their kids work hard, even though they were born to money. Congratulations to this young lady for keeping her head down, working hard, and accomplishing the first stage of her dreams.

  29. me says:

    I remember watching their reality show and thinking the youngest daughter is very bright (and she was only 8 or so years old at the time). I’m not surprised by this. She got in to more than one Ivy League school…and at 16 ! Good for her.

  30. A.Key says:

    I think we’re all aware that had she been born into a poor nobody’s family she probably wouldn’t have gotten into Harvard. But you know what, good for her for being born into a rich family and privilege. At least she’s smart enough to know that education is the best pursuit in life if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, and she’s not trying to influence her way into the modelling and reality tv BS like so many others around her.
    I’m sure Johnny Depp’s kid could have also gone to an Ivy League school if she had wanted to, meaning if she had been willing to study and apply herself. But hey, why bother studying when your dad will buy you a career and finance you for life basically.
    So good for Aoki, she seems to know where it’s at. So she probably won’t win the next Nobel prize, but so what, most people won’t either.
    Now, her parents are a whole other matter, and their bragging like this can only hurt the kid I’m afraid. Brag to your friends and family, but don’t put it on the Internet for god’s sake. Not now of all times!

  31. Tiff says:

    Some of y’all didn’t have supportive families and it shows! Scream it to the heavens Kimora! Your baby got into Harvard!!!!

    • jules says:

      Opposite actually. Very supportive, but also taught us good manners and being humble.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        People can publicly celebrate an accomplishment that they or someone they’re close to worked hard for and still be humble. Isn’t bragging about being from a more humble/modest time just another way of people elevating themselves over others and being competitive? When girly-girl pictures are put out there, it’s automatically seen as an indication that one is a self-absorbed eccentric bimbo or more, but when it’s celebrating the college a smart girl got into after years of hard work, it’s bad manners.
        I don’t have a problem with her or her mom deciding to celebrate a little bit of positivity going on in their family with all the negativity Russel has brought on for them.

    • Lara says:

      There’s a huge difference between being supportive and bragging. Parents who over- identify with their kids use their kids accomplishments to boost their own image. It’s the same thing Lori Loughlin did, just not as exteme.

  32. HeyThere! says:

    I think people are failing to realize that if you have a late birthday, like myself, she could be almost finished with her jr. year and still be 16 years old. Some people graduate high school at 17 simply because summer birthdays. I don’t know her sorry, or birthday, but I was always the youngest in my class.

  33. Maiglöckchen says:

    Good for Aoki! Several prestigious schools admitted her, which is a good sign that she’s legitimately a good student. It’s usually difficult to scam admissions committees at so many institutions. I teach at an Ivy and have had my share of celeb children. They’re like every other student: some work very hard and are humble and delightful, others are mediocre and try to ride off their parents’ laurels and are pains in the bum.

  34. mtam says:

    I get celebrites are anxious about their kids looking privileged when it comes to post-secondary education. But this whole boasting nonesense needs to be nipped in the butt. First, cause generally it’s very rare that their influence/fame/money/celebrity did not play a role, even if they didn’t commit a crime to get in. And second because it’s just so distasteful. Most kids get in on their own merit, just because you’re a celeb kid who also did, doesn’t make you any more special or worthy of praise, it’s literally the most basic/right thing they should be doing. They do not deserve applause for reaching the most basic standard of conduct.

  35. Suspicious bitch says:

    I got so suspicious that I would like to see the evidence for her merits. Like her SATC test.
    And did her parents pay for extra tuition or testing preparation courses?

  36. Texan says:

    As a counselor, I see kids with perfect SAT’s, Merit Scholars and super high GPA’s that don’t get into Harvard and other schools of that ilk. Kids with incredible extra-curriculars. You best believe her parent’s fame and her parent’s money helped. This is not to say that she is not exceedingly bright and deserving. It is just clear that exceedingly bright kids with famous and rich parents have an easier job getting in.

    Harvard only gives money on a need basis as well.

  37. Texas says:

    I guess what bothers me is how these schools pander to the rich. We know they will let in a dumbass who gives them enough money.

    Though I am happy for this deserving young lady, I am sad for my students (of color and otherwise), who work their tail off, have high to perfect SAT’s, excellent gpa’s, stellar extra curricular activities and STILL don’t get in. Or if they do, they have to decline because of finances. And yes. That has happened more times than I can say. A kid gets in to a great Ivy and works to get scholarships but in the end can’t get enough to cover the costs. Or they don’t want to end up with burdensome student loans. It breaks my heart to see their dream die. They end up choosing a cheaper state school that they can afford. I just wish things were more fair.

    • jwoolman says:

      The little secret is that it really doesn’t matter what school you go to. You can get a good education anywhere if you actually work at it.

      I went to a college that I considered mediocre only because I lived a few blocks away and my mother worked in the bookstore (so I could get free tuition if I didn’t get a scholarship).

      I didn’t even consider applying anywhere else because I couldn’t see how I could even afford transportation costs, much less housing etc. But that mediocre school still had some good teachers and a decent enough library. I could and did get the education I needed to do more. Today with the internet, the playing field is more level than ever before.

      By the way, being below the poverty line (as my family was) had one distinct advantage: we were first in line for financial aid as needed. The ones who really got creamed were the kids whose parents were in the middle income-wise.

      Also by the way: having a parent who values education more than material things is a huge asset at any income level. My mother was lucky that my brother and I were more into books from the library and didn’t care about clothes and such. But she wanted me to focus on school and that was my job. She let me and my brother mooch off her in college also. We had campus jobs to pay for books and such, but no pressure to help her out financially.

  38. jwoolman says:

    Considering all the goof-offs who over the generations have been accepted at such schools as legacies – I’m a tad baffled at the viewing with alarm about this girl. She studied hard, took advantage of every opportunity given her, and will undoubtedly do very well at Harvard.

    I personally would not burden her with having to satisfy you all insisting she acknowledge that her parents’ wealth made her path easier. That can wait until she’s being interviewed ten or twenty years from now. Let her enjoy getting into the school she set her sights on years ago. Her parents are her parents, they are her norm for now.

    The Kardashian/Kenner kids had rich parents, too. But Aoki has much more – parents who valued an education and encouraged her to work hard and paid attention to her interests. Seems to me that they spent their money wisely with regard to their children.