Go Away With … Sophie Simmons
As the daughter of Kiss frontman Gene Simmons and former Playboy model Shannon Tweed, Sophie Simmons is no stranger to the limelight. Simmons, 24, appeared with her family on the A&E reality series, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” auditioned on “X-Factor” and (along with Rebel) released a cover of “Kiss Me.” The Los Angeles-based host of Refinery29’s “Body Image School” digital series and the face of Adore Me’s inclusive lingerie campaign, Simmons also advocates for child abuse victims with Sophie’s Place in Vancouver. Fans may follow her on Twitter, (at)SophieTSimmons.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Whistler (British Columbia, Canada). I did a lot of growing up there and it will always be home for me. Go during the winter or summer. There is so much to do, from hiking, biking, snowboarding and volleyball. But it’s not all outdoors. The Scandinave Spa is a favorite of mine — gorgeous hot pools and amazing massages.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Sofia, Bulgaria. It’s actually quite the metropolis! I lived there for a while working in orphanages on a community service mission. The people are just so kind and beautiful. They really have captured living happily. It’s also a beautiful country with woods and rivers and historical landmarks.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child? And did you love it, or not so much?
A. I don’t remember my first trip. I’m sure it was on tour somewhere. But the first one I can remember is Hawaii. I loved it. Went with the whole fam and learned to surf and got to explore by myself, which was amazing for a tween.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Don’t stroll into another culture without first researching it. I’ve had one too many foot-in-mouth moments while traveling. Also, don’t be afraid to explore your city! The first thing I like to do is walk through the neighborhood and get a sense of the local life. Where do these people get coffee or tea? Where do they work and live? And from that I can tell a lot about a community.
Q. Where have you traveled to that still stands out in your mind?
A. I know this is so cliche, but Paris really hit me hard. I learned French after and started having a massive respect for the art of cooking and enjoying food. Also, there is such a strong female identity is France. Women are just free and expressive and not sexually embarrassed. They are so strong and mysterious. A woman there told me that the most compelling thing is mystery. And although I’m an open book, I try to keep some mystery in my music.
Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was your best trip?
A. We go to New York a lot for Christmas, since one of my Grandmas lives there. The snow and the lights — it feels like it is right out of a movie. And the city really gets in the spirit. I love it when people get festive!
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. The NoMad (https://www.thenomadhotel.com/) in New York. It has a magic show, a library and amazing food. That’s really all I can ask for when I stay somewhere. Also, I feel like the pillows make or break a hotel for me and the pillows there are absolutely dreamy.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Vancouver, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and London.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I’d love to go to Bali. I know its trendy right now, but it just looks peaceful and magical. My brother and I talk about doing a trip there.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Dry shampoo, sunblock, ChapStick, good socks, a book and a sweater because I’m always cold.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?
A. Minibar snacks. I don’t really ever eat junk food, but for some reason when I’m in a hotel room, I need to eat all the snacks. Sometimes I ask them to empty the minibar so I don’t eat everything.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I research the language, the food and the political situation. I never want to arrive in a country without knowing where they stand politically. Not that it would deter me, but I just like to know what I’m walking into.