Shannon Tweed-Simmons is not sure she's ready to sell accessories through the magic of television.
"I don't know what to expect," she said. "I've never done this before. It's very exciting. If it's anything like an interview or a reality show, I'm ready."
The former Playboy Playmate and wife of betongued KISS rocker Gene Simmons is debuting an HSN fashion line Monday with her daughter, Sophie Tweed-Simmons — Sophie & Shannon's Jewel Box. They'll appear live from the HSN studio in St. Petersburg, doing the on-air thing, talking up their bangle bracelets, fringe belts and cellphone purses, plus a special dress they came up with together.
Ask her to describe that dress, and she sounds ready.
"The fabric is thick enough to be forgiving," she said. "It's not tight, but it's not a baggy dress. It just sort of skims the body. It's got a low enough neckline that you can get some cleavage if you do the right bra. It's not so huggy that you see bra bulges."
Fans saw Shannon, 55, and Sophie, 20, on Gene Simmons Family Jewels and asked the women for fashion advice. Shannon and Sophie told people they swapped clothes and raided each other's closet. They're both tall. They both wear size 10 shoe and dresses. The idea for a joint fashion line started percolating. They would take favorite things from their closets and improve on them.
"We're not fashionistas by any stretch, but we wear what's comfortable for us and I think it translates to normal people," said Shannon, who called from a KISS concert stop in Atlanta. "We're not mini-model types, either. We have challenges dressing ourselves. I have sort of a straight body type and she has a curvy body type. When she wears my dress, it looks completely different on her. She accessorizes it differently, but she still uses my stuff and I'll grab her stuff. I'll put on a scarf and she'll say, 'Mom, don't wear it like that, it looks old.' "
For their first foray into the HSN family of celebrity-endorsed products, they started with a modest collection. It's one part of a big load for Sophie, who was going to join her mom on the phone but got called away to a business meeting.
"She's so level-headed," said Shannon. "She just attacks things and says, 'What's the worst that can happen?' She's still deciding what she's going to do after college. She started out with computer programming, then she changed to a computer programming minor and a major in religious studies. I said, 'What is that going to get you? What kind of business is that you're going into?' She's unsure what she wants to do. She's singing, she's doing all kinds of different things, which is what you should be doing at this age, dipping your toes into all kinds of different wells."
Their HSN endeavor has a fan in Gene Simmons, whose band will perform with Motley Crue Saturday at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in Tampa. Shannon was happy to hear Tampa and St. Petersburg are so close so she can try to make his show. But the Simmons women are not peeking into the KISS cadre of platform shoes and face paint for style insight.
"If he had his way, everything would be black, leather, tight and short. So not practical. But he is very proud. Sophie kind of takes inspiration from his stuff every once in a while, with his studs and leather. … I would never take inspiration from anything that he has. That's disgusting."