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Erika Simmons

34, South Shore

Real-life roles: Apparel designer, model, twin 
Starring in: Sixteen Candles

Who’s the evil twin? “Everyone says I am,” says Erika Simmons, one half—with her twin, Monika—of the crocheted apparel line Double Stitch. “But my sister, she’s why I don’t have any dates,” Erika kids. The pair launched the company several years back, after crocheted Christmas presents for family members met with high acclaim. The women work together, work out together, and live together. So, is that too much togetherness? “Well, we agree on a lot of things, like the Law of Good People,” says the single mother and Western Illinois grad. And what’s the Law of Good People? “We have very high standards for being nice to people,” Simmons says. Which doesn’t sound so evil, after all.

Send Erika an e-mail

Favorite movie hero? Sofia from The Color Purple.

Name one thing that’s overrated: I can’t say marriage since this is a singles story. So, American Idol.

What’s your go-to homemade meal? Salmon croquettes. Even my grandmother likes it when I make them, and she’s picky.

What’s your power outfit? A business jacket and my favorite jeans with a crocheted apron top. It’s bringing some funk into business.

Fill in the blanks: I’d rather have a significant other who cooks than who takes out the garbage.

In a dream world, who would you write like? Susan L. Taylor of Essence magazine. Dance like? Debbie Allen. And sing like? Mariah Carey.

What do you do every day? Check my e-mail, work, and watch The Golden Girls.

Last movie that made you cry? Dreamgirls, but I couldn’t believe I was crying.

Favorite blog? I blog, but I don’t read others’.

Most recommended book? My sister just walked in the room, and she knows me better than I do. She says Beyond the Lemonade Stand, by Bill Rancic.

Who are you a secret groupie for? Chris Brown.

What songs will be played at your wedding? At Last, and anything by Stevie Wonder.

Fill in the blanks: Vacations are for relaxing, not itineraries.

You pull a Ferris Bueller and call in sick on a beautiful July day. What do you do? Go to Navy Pier and walk around. And hang out at Exchange Café, a new café right around the corner from my house. It’s owned by one of my good friends.

What Chicago neighborhoods have you lived in? Just the West Englewood area and South Shore.

How long is too long to spend looking for a parking spot? Anything over three minutes. I’m a fitness person, so I believe people shouldn’t be parking so close to the door, anyway.

Teacher’s pet or class clown? Teacher’s pet.

Childhood nickname? Twin.

What did you think you’d be when you grew up? A dancer.

Name one thing you have in your house from your childhood: Baby pictures.

And one embarrassing thing you hide when guests are coming over: Just clutter. I’m always working at home.

Describe the state of your closet: Stuff is falling out.

How much is too much to pay for jeans? Honestly, $200.

Have you ever collected anything? I’ve been collecting jewelry from designers I know personally. I’ve always said that when I get married, I want some kind of rock, not a diamond.

Last time you jumped up and cheered? I was doing a modeling job a couple of months ago for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and one requirement was to jump up and cheer for the people driving.

Last time you told a lie? Probably yesterday. I don’t like to think of it, but I did. A half-truth.

Last time you Googled yourself? About two weeks ago.

Worst advice you’ve been given? To pick someone you date based on external things.

If you could give someone a talking-to, who would it be? R. Kelly. I’d sit down with that brother.

What do you do when a server at a restaurant brings you a horrible dish? Take it.

Gutsiest thing you’ve ever done? Speaking in public. I didn’t want to do it, but my sister and I spoke at Macy’s launch in Chicago, for the Chicago designers’ shop.

Do you have any tattoos? A pit bull on my right thigh. My sister got it seven years before me and I hated it, but then I got it as a birthday present to her. There are three of us who have it: my sister and I, and our other best friend. And I have a flower on my shoulder: a rose that’s pink and green, my sorority colors.

What time is your alarm clock set for? Six-fifteen a.m.

And how many times do you hit the snooze button? About six.

Dive bar or nightclub? Dive bar.

Drinks before 5 p.m.: always, sometimes, never? Never. Not at all.

What’s your remedy for a tough day? Comedies, like Water Boy. Put that on, and it’ll just straighten the day up.

How do you show someone you’re not interested? Hide behind work.

What did you do on your best date? Walked and talked.

Where would you like to get engaged? Buckingham Fountain.

What makes someone a Chicagoan? A real Chicagoan treats the city like she is a tourist; she appreciates it.

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