Smashing Interviews Magazine

Compelling People — Interesting Lives



April 2015



Shannon and Sophie Tweed-Simmons Interview: "I Keep Trying to Retire All the Time, but Sophie Just Keeps Dragging Me Back In"

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Image attributed to Shannon Tweed-Simmons & Sophie Tweed-Simmons

Shannon Tweed-Simmons & Sophie Tweed-Simmons

The new UP original series, Shannon & Sophie, explores and celebrates the close, funny mother-daughter relationship of Shannon Tweed-Simmons, actress, model and wife of KISS legendary bassist/co-lead vocalist Gene Simmons, and their daughter Sophie Tweed-Simmons, an actress, singer and fashion designer. Gene Simmons and Nick Simmons also appear in the show.

In the eight-episode reality series, the “diamond duo” of Gene Simmons Family Jewels fame navigate the everyday challenges of celebrity life and start a new chapter in their lives as Sophie decides it’s time to leave the family home and spread her wings as an adult – with Shannon flying protectively close behind. Shannon & Sophie premieres with back-to-back episodes on April 16, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

"I would say that Sophie is my closest confidante and best friend; although, we’re also mother-daughter. That’s the kind of confidence I want her to have in me, that she can confide in me as a mom. She doesn’t need another girlfriend, certainly, and that’s the way we like it. She needs to have her girlfriends, boyfriends, and there needs to be things I don’t know about. That’s appropriate and the way it should be."

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): UPtv is a little different as far as censorship than A&E and Family Jewels, so has it been difficult for the two of you to sort of watch what you say and do in this show?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: Well, we’re not doing that because we didn’t shoot for the UP network. We shot for the W network in Canada, and we are just shooting as if we were shooting for anybody else. We didn’t exactly swear on A&E (laughs). But it’s different than Family Jewels in that it’s just Sophie and me and that it’s sort of a continuation of her life mixed with many other things. Gene’s on tour, so it’s sort of a continuation. We’re our usual naughty selves, I think (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Shannon, in the first episode you say that you two are best friends, but Sophie was sort of rolling her eyes as the words left your mouth.

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: I would say that Sophie is my closest confidante and best friend; although, we’re also mother-daughter. That’s the kind of confidence I want her to have in me, that she can confide in me as a mom. She doesn’t need another girlfriend, certainly, and that’s the way we like it. She needs to have her girlfriends, boyfriends, and there needs to be things I don’t know about. That’s appropriate and the way it should be.

There also has always been a channel of honesty and openness where we can talk to each other openly about everything and not be judged. That’s the good news. If there was a rolling of the eye, it is because there are some things I don’t know about (laughs). That’s a good thing, a healthy, natural good thing.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Sophie, can you talk to your mom about guys the same way you can talk to your girlfriends?

Sophie Tweed-Simmons: Yeah. I don’t think we’re a very conservative family (laughs). We’re pretty liberal and definitely talk about everything with each other. Probably the only stuff I don’t tell my mom is like super intimate things I probably don’t even tell my friends. So I’d say we’re pretty open in the way we talk to each other. We’ve always had an “honesty is best” policy. But yeah, what you see on the show of our relationship is how it is. We didn’t censor ourselves or clean ourselves up. It’s just how we are.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How would you describe your dad as a parent?

Sophie Tweed-Simmons: Dad has never been strict. The only rules in the house ever have been don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t do drugs. Those literally are the only rules I’ve ever had from my dad. I think those are really the big three for your children and to just be smart about your choices, especially when they affect your health. My dad has always been pretty conservative in the way he raised us. He’s more shocked when me or my brother swear or if we say an off color joke or anything like that. He’s the one that’s shocked, and we all laugh (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Shannon, you stated, “I didn’t land a rock star by playing fair.”

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: (laughs) You’ve got to get in there and play hard.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Further explanation?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: Well, I guess that was pretty public. No secrets there.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What is the secret to being together over thirty years?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: I’m not telling you (laughs). I’m not telling you my secrets (laughs). The secret is, play hard and mean it. There’s always a girl waiting to take my place. Let’s face it. Guys don’t get old and unattractive. They just get richer, and there’s always a woman just standing there tapping her toe, waiting for you to look away. That’s just the way it is.

You need to be on your game. If you want it bad enough, you’ll keep up the good work (laughs). No one said it was fair or anything like that. It’s not fair. It’s sexist and all those things too.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): If Sophie wanted to pose nude for Playboy, would you think that would be a wise career move?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: I don’t think she’d want to, but she’ll do what she feels is right. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, and I trust her to make good decisions. I’ve done my job, and she’s pretty good at doing hers. She’s a smart cookie. I don’t judge her as long as she’s a good person, is kind to people and honest and doesn’t ruin her body or do drugs or act like an asshole (laughs). So if she’s a good person, I don’t judge a lot of the things she does. Those things are not important.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Spoken like a very loving mom.

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: It’s the only thing I do well (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Sophie, when and why did you become an advocate for self-love?

Sophie Tweed-Simmons: I think that it’s something we definitely grew up with in our household. I was born with a birthmark on my face, and that was a struggle going through elementary school and middle school and getting teased. I just learned really quickly that these people aren’t teasing you because you’re unattractive. They’re teasing you because they don’t understand, and they don’t know you. So I think I really worked on me as a person more than I did my outer appearance when I was younger, and then I kind of grew up an ugly duckling into, I think, a pretty girl now.

I’ve just always been proud of my body. As for posting nude, I see nothing wrong with women celebrating their bodies if that’s what they choose because when it comes down to it, it’s no one else’s choice but yours, and you really shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks of you ever. You know who you are.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You two appear in a film together?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: Well, I did a favor for somebody, just a novelty for fun, and I came in for about five seconds in a film when Sophie was a little baby. I was doing a sort of action picture, and we had a fight scene, and I was supposed to rescue this baby, and the baby wouldn’t do it. I said, “My baby will do it.” (laughs)

I substituted the baby that wouldn’t do it for my baby, so she was in the picture. I said, “When you look at that man, you look really mad at him. When you look at that man, look really sad. Then you hold onto mommy, and you look really happy.” And she did it (laughs). That was funny.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What a great little actress (laughs).

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: I know. She’s just always been so cooperative (laughs). It was funny. It reminded me of when Nicholas was little, and I told him to go show dad his sad face so that we could get something (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Sophie, what are your dreams and goals for the future?

Sophie Tweed-Simmons: I want to do as much as I can as long as my life is, as long as it will be, because for men, there are no boundaries. No one asks them what they want to focus on. They’re allowed to do everything, and it’s called being an entrepreneur. For women, people ask, “But what do you really want to do?” Well, I want to do all of it. I want to build a brand.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are some mother-daughter escapades we can look forward to in upcoming episodes?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: I don’t remember now because they were shot a year ago, so you’re on your own (laughs). I don’t know. Who knows what’ll happen. She’s a busy girl, you know. I keep trying to retire all the time, but Sophie just keeps dragging me back in.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What’s coming up for you in addition to the series, Shannon?

Shannon Tweed-Simmons: Hopefully a nice easy chair and a good nights sleep. And to be left the hell alone. Just kidding.

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