While many of our past women to watch have had experiences buying, reading and collecting Playboy Magazines, in one case even attending a Mansion party, this week’s Femme on Fire is an exceptional case of a Playboy legacy.
Born to Hugh Hefner’s old fling, 1982 Playmate of the Year Shannon Tweed, and legendary KISS co-frontman Gene Simmons, we’re proud to present in her Playboy (interview) debut, Miss Sophie Simmons.
Currently starring alongside her family in the hit A&E series Gene Simmons: Family Jewels, Sophie sat down with us to chat about her show, growing up in the Playboy family and what comes next.
Playboy.com: What do we see this season on the show?
Simmons: Lots of talk of adoption and insight into my life in Canada, which we didn’t really get to see in previous seasons.
Playboy.com: You’re in college right now; what are you taking?
Simmons: I was in Computer Engineering; now I’m leaning towards Religious Studies.
Playboy.com: Really? What inspired that move?
Simmons: I was never a religious person or read the Bible or the Torah. I took one elective on that and found it so interesting, more as a historic lit than a religious class. It’s just so interesting that everything kind of stems from the same core and yet there’s so much conflict.
Playboy.com: You’re living up in Whistler right now; are you a big boarder?
Simmons: I’m really bad at snowboarding, but my boyfriend’s a professional so he’s teaching me. [laughs]
Playboy.com: Your mom is a Playboy legend; what did she say about you speaking with us?
Simmons: She was excited. She really didn’t want me to follow in her footsteps…like a spread [laughs] and I don’t really want to do that either. So this is a good way of saying “I did it too!” but really didn’t do it. [laughs]
Playboy.com: What was it like growing up so involved with Playboy?
Simmons: I grew up with Hef’s kids — going to the same elementary and high schools; the boys are close to my brother. We go over to the Mansion every Easter and Fourth of July — my brother’s been recently going to the, you know, lingerie parties. [laughs]
Playboy.com: You’ve spent most of the past six years growing up on reality television; do you still feel you have a private life?
Simmons: It is easy to have a private life. If I don’t want my relationships to be on TV, my boyfriend just doesn’t sign the waiver! But [the show] has really turned into something we can all do together.
Playboy.com: How scripted is the show?
Simmons: We have a lot going on because we’re all so different, but once in a while the producers will be like, “Hey, we have a trip to Mexico. Do you want to go?” So they’ll just film what we do!
Playboy.com: The idea of your parents adopting a baby has been pretty central this season. What’s your biggest hesitation with this?
Simmons: It’s a hard question to answer. I am for adoption, but for adoption at the right time and for the right family. I don’t think it’s for everyone, and I think it’s unfair to bring a child into our family at this time. My parents are just getting settled with the things that they went through so it would throw a wrench in their relationship development at this stage.
Playboy.com: What’s the next step for the family in your opinion?
Simmons: I think it’s my dad finally settling down. As people found out last season, especially my family, who found out the same time as you guys, my dad wasn’t fully settled with us. But now that he’s married he’s really been trying hard to be the husband and dad he should have been all this time. He’s been doing a great job, but it’s an adjustment for our family.
Playboy.com: Do you ever get tired of all the fame of being Gene Simmons’ daughter?
Simmons: It gets annoying, but I’m my own person, I have stuff going on. It offers a lot of opportunities, and I’m really thankful for them, but I do a lot of things on my own as well.
Playboy.com: With a degree like Religious Studies, does this mean you’re going to stay out of the entertainment world after this?
Simmons: I don’t know; it’s pretty open at this point. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
Playboy.com: As a Playmate’s daughter, how did that parental discussion go?
Simmons: We’ve always had her covers hanging in the house. It’s something she never tried to hide from us. She explained, “The human body is a beautiful thing, and Playboy Magazine is where this stuff happens.” She explained it to us pretty young, and you grow up fast when you’re in this sort of family. We were never embarrassed. It was always “my mom’s job.”
Playboy.com: So long as you never follow in her footsteps…
Simmons: Pretty much! [laughs]
Playboy.com: Having a father like Gene Simmons could be intimidating; did your boyfriends stay away?
Simmons: I never really brought guys home because it was never too serious. I dated one guy in middle school that my parents met and of course he was terrified. This boyfriend is the only real one who I’ve brought home, and they like him. He and my dad are friends…which is weird; I never thought that would happen.
Playboy.com: What’s on your iPod?
Simmons: My boyfriend is going to kill me for this. We were in the car from L.A. to Whistler on a road trip and we played “Call Me Maybe” all the way up.
Playboy.com: What is it about that song? It doesn’t stop!
Simmons: It’s so good, childish and fun and has no deeper meaning, and I think that’s why people really like it. It’s not about strippers on a pole or an ex-relationship. It’s just fun!
Playboy.com: Any singing for you?
Simmons: My brother and I sometimes do singing gigs at the River Rock Casino just for fun. Duets and Cabaret Night.
Playboy.com: What are you working on at the moment?
Simmons: I’m really looking forward to developing this charity we got started in Surrey (B.C.) called Sophie’s Place, which is a center for abused children. I’m the patron of it, and that’s kind of the main job I have when I’m up here.
Playboy.com: What was your first Playboy?
Simmons: It was my mom! [laughs]