Though she is the genetic offspring of KISS musician Gene Simmons and Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed, Sophie Tweed-Simmons is no “wild child.”
The 22-year-old actress grew up in the public eye, spending her early teen years in front of the camera on the reality show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels. But the tabloid glamorization of stick-thin models and repeated rehab stints for Young Hollywood didn’t shape her life outlook.
Like her father, Tweed-Simmons abstains from drugs and alcohol. And along with her family, she is active in volunteering.
At 14, she lived abroad in Uruguay, where she worked at an orphanage. Tweed-Simmons credits her experiences abroad with giving her a perspective on the world that is more rooted in the struggles of the world’s most vulnerable communities rather than the red-carpet glitz of Hollywood.
“I’ve lived in seven different countries, and I’ve seen life lived a million different ways. And so now, when I come back to America every time, I can appreciate what I have,” said Tweed-Simmons.
She was also inspired her to start a charity of her own, Sophie’s Place, aiming to fill a crucial gap in the services provided to physically, mentally, and sexually abused children.
Beyond her work with children, she is also an outspoken advocate for positive self-image. Rejecting the notion of “one-size-fits-all” beauty, she encourages girls to be accepting of their bodies, something she has learned to do herself, she says.
“Growing up on reality TV, you see all of your awkward phases laid out for you, just one right after the other, every season. And, you just learn to be okay with it.…I know that that’s not the case for everyone on TV, but for me it was just a real perspective turn, and I could just see myself for who I was and say, ‘You know what, that’s what I what I look like. And that is okay,’” said Tweed-Simmons.
Tweed-Simmons joined Mike Walter in the studio to discuss her passion projects and growing up in Hollywood.
Follow Sophie Tweed-Simmons on Twitter: @SophieTSimmons