All the roles Molly Sims has played since arriving on the scene some twenty years ago—Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, actress, lifestyle blogger—could fill a book, which, of course, is exactly what she’s doing. Out at the end of the year, The Everyday Supermodel is a glimpse into the American beauty’s life: Yes, there’s a halo braid how-to and dermatologist recs, but in the book’s final chapter, “I Made That Sh*t Happen,” Sims gets candid about how the most important things didn’t fall into place until recently. “Oh my god, I totally freaked out!” she says. “I was playing Delinda on Las Vegas, I was 35, and I literally had that moment when I realized I’d spent my whole life working. It’s been fantastic, but there was this part of my life that was missing—marriage, a family—and I wanted that. Every now and then in life you have to pick a lane.” Below, Sims shares the moment she picked a life-changing one.
I was at Vanderbilt University studying to be a lawyer and this girl was like, “you should get your pictures taken.” A lot of people over the years have told me I should try to model because, you know, I was 5’9 and a half in Eighth Grade, but I was in Kentucky and this was pre-Internet—I was just worshiping Seventeen magazine and YM and Vogue and ELLE. But I remember finally driving with my mom to Memphis—three and a half hours from where I lived—to take pictures with Rick Day and thinking, I’m going to do this. I had not a clue what I was doing, but I was like, maybe, just maybe it will work out; maybe I can somehow get these pictures to New York. And that’s exactly what happened.
I didn’t end up graduating, and I turned out okay. I wanted to be an awesome lawyer. But a year later, I was modeling in Germany and wrote a postcard to my parents. I found it the other day. I said, “I think I can actually can make something of myself in this job, I think I can make money doing this!”
It was so cute because I was only 22, but I was also very realistic with myself. I knew I was more of a commercial girl, and I knew I had more of a classic look. It was 1995 when I started, and since ’93 it was all about heroin-chic—Corinne Day, Kate Moss. I came in at a very, very tricky time—not the Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley era that helped so many girls. So I told myself if I didn’t do the shows it wasn’t the end of the world. Some girls want to do every Vogue and every ELLE. But the thing about starting so young is that people look at the glamorous part of modeling, but what they don’t see is that you are working. You are in a business, even though it’s for yourself. You grow up very quickly. I have to say the best advice I got was treat modeling like a business, and if it’s not working, switch paths.