Move over, Paris and Nikki. Los Angeles has some new reality TV princesses, but they look more like Rudy and Denise Huxtable. It should have been easy for us to roll our eyes when yet another pair of affluent kids came on the scene, able to get into the hottest spots with their famous last names and fund a fabulous shopping spree with a wave of a black card. But, after three years of watching this duo and their family on MTV’s “Run’s House,” we still can’t get enough of the down-to-earth sisters who aren’t depending on their family to get to the top. Now the daughters born into a hip-hop dynasty have left the nest and they’re branching out. Cameras captured them as they settled into a new life in Los Angeles on their new reality show, “Daddy’s Girls.” As they continue to build their own apparel company, Pastry, and pursue their dreams in L.A., the sisters talked with ESSENCE.com to dish on the new show, to talk about love, and to reveal what you don’t see on television.
ESSENCE.COM: Vanessa and Angela, let us be the first to tell you, the new show is hot! Now, was this always the plan to branch out on your own?
VANESSA SIMMONS: The fact that we get to do it is really a blessing. We definitely thought about it before. It’s just fun being able to film and work with our family, and is what my dad wanted. We moved with our friends to L.A. and show people how we run our business. I got into all of this right after I graduated from college so it really was the best graduation gift ever.
ESSENCE.COM: Definitely. We all know reality TV can sometime be anything but real. What we see on this show-is it your real lives?
ANGELA SIMMONS: Absolutely. It’s like 25 percent of my life but it’s all real. The cameras do stop rolling and we go on, but the show is really real. It’s our real friends and the things we go through. Girls just want to have fun!
ESSENCE.COM: And you guys get into plenty of adventures while having fun. We see you guys speed dating and then you’re out in the woods. What were some of the craziest moments on the show?
VANESSA: With speed dating, I was doing research for a role and dragged some of my friends along. You definitely have to see that episode because I have one friend who is so hilarious and falls in love all the time. Another crazy time was when we go through an issue with one of our friends who is dating a guy we don’t particularly like for her and he doesn’t treat her the way she should be treated. We go through this whole thing and overstep boundaries.
ANGELA: We do a little spying. . .
VANESSA: We weren’t spying.
ANGELA: Whatever, bro, we definitely were spying. It’s hard when you like someone. If you don’t trust the guy then it’s best you aren’t with him anyway. You don’t want to have to snoop.
VANESSA: Trust is a must.
ESSENCE.COM: Now we didn’t see you two date much at home when you were living close to your dad. Have you guys mixed and mingled with the guys on the West Coast and is it easier to date someone in the industry? Ludacris is said to have a crush on you, Vanessa.
VANESSA: (Laughs.) We see Ludacris all the time and he’s a great guy. As far as him having a crush, I don’t know. I’ve been in a relationship on and off for three years and am very protective of it. You have never seen me date on the show; I’ve seen how other relationships have done in the spotlight and for me it works to keep it to myself.
ANGELA: As far as dating, it’s not about whether he’s in the industry or not. It’s if he understands you and if he is who you want to be with. It’s not, let me find a guy in the industry. If something happens like that, then it happens.
ESSENCE.COM: Just like everyone else in your family, you two have your hands full with many projects. Angela, you have Pastry and music and you’re also working in magazines. What has been the biggest challenge in managing them all?
ANGELA: We like what we do, so that’s the best thing that can happen, and organization and balance are very important. Oftentimes our jobs and lives intertwine which is great. The toughest part has been the magazine industry. It’s really hard and you have to push. I’m the fashion editor at Hype Hair and usually go to the photo shoots and we take cool pictures. I feel so blessed and we work really hard.
ESSENCE.COM: On “Daddy’s Girls” you are joined by your friend Alycia and cousin Jessica. As sisters, how do you keep your relationship and friendships strong and avoid being blinded by the limelight?
VANESSA: It’s about learning each other’s buttons and we work very hard to keep what we had before the show. We had a large circle coming out of college and I realized who wasn’t for me when we started taping “Run’s House.” It definitely hurt, and also made me stronger.
ESSENCE.COM: We also saw on “Run’s House” how close you are with Justine, who isn’t your birth mother. How do you guys keep the balance with both sets of parents so everyone feels loved?
ANGELA: It’s been work. We used to go back and forth a lot and it takes balance. Justine treats us just like our mom and it’s genuine love what you see. We love our mother just as much and have to make sure everyone is happy.
ESSENCE.COM: This show offers a new reality on being young and Black. What is the message you hope to send?
VANESSA: We want to show nothing is impossible. We have Barack Obama in office, so we know we all can achieve our dreams. I’ve really been pursuing acting the last year and half. One time I studied all night and knew I bombed once I left the audition. I sat in my car for an hour and just cried and that was my turning point to either give up or work harder. Because of my background, I need to be spectacular instead of okay to prove I deserve to be here. I push myself every day. You don’t start off the best, you become the best.
Keep up with Vanessa and Angela every Monday night on “Daddy’s Girls.”