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Kimberly Chandler

She may be married to former Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler (it was announced July 1 that Chandler signed with the Phoenix Suns), but Kimberly Chandler, 33, is much more than a mere NBA wife. The mom of three — Sacha-Marie, 9, Tyson II, 6 and Sayge, 4 — is a force in her own right. Serene, sophisticated and 100 percent at home in her own skin, Kimberly is a burgeoning fashion icon who’s garnered attention from none other than Anna Wintour and, more important, a respected philanthropist for causes such as Delete Blood Cancer DKMS and UNICEF. We caught up with Kimberly to pick her brain on everything from motherhood fails to fashion loves.

Last thing you did before I called you: We’re actually headed to Texas A&M University for Sacha-Marie’s first tennis tournament — my husband, myself and Sacha-Marie — and I dozed off.

Thoughts on Dallas: It feels like I’m living in a beautiful picture. It’s almost too good to be true. The scenery is gorgeous. The people are so authentically nice. You sometimes wonder, “Is this real? Are people really this nice?” And it’s just such a wonderful place to raise your kids. I grew up in Orange County, so the suburbs remind of me of where I grew up. I absolutely love the city. I love how it’s progressed in the three years since we’ve been here … the fashion scene, the philanthropic scene.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? That’s a tie between Paris and London.

This year marks 10 years of marriage for you and Tyson. What’s your secret? I don’t really think there’s a secret. The No. 1 thing is that we have Christ in our life; so at the end of the day, we don’t answer to each other. We answer to him. That builds a trust factor. And as cliché as it sounds, communication is so unbelievably important.

You just collaborated on a sunglasses line. What was it like working together in that capacity? It was really interesting because the collaboration took place between Selima Optique and then Tyson, myself and Browne Andrews who is creative director [of the collection], but he’s also my brother. So it was intense at times because we’re all so close, and there’s such a very fine line between work and pleasure and family and business. It was really a labor of love between the three of us. It was a dream come true.

Three words to describe yourself: Faithful, determined and happy.

How would your best friend describe you? My best friend thinks I’m the best thing since sliced bread. Then I’d say loyal and loving.

You’re a philanthropist. What’s your favorite cause to give back to? It’s not one. I serve as an ambassador for Delete blood Cancer DKMS, and I’m on the board for UNICEF, their committee for one of their largest events they have in New York. So both of those are passion projects that I’ve really dedicated my life to.

Your all-time favorite designer: Gosh, that’s a hard one. I would have to say Coco Chanel.

Describe your style: Eclectic and a bit androgynous.

Favorite item in your closet: My ostrich Birkin.

What was your last mom fail? Our 6-year-old is playing competitive basketball, and I get a little bit overexcited and become his personal cheerleader with kicks and everything. He had a big game on Mother’s Day, so that was super exciting for me.

Highest parenting moment: Earlier in the school year we had a conference, my husband, myself and Sacha-Marie’s teacher. [Sacha-Marie’s] currently in the second grade and [her teacher] told us in that meeting that she wanted to advance her to the fourth grade. That was super exciting. I think I literally called everybody and then followed up with text messages.

Favorite activity to do with the kids: I really enjoy being at home as a family, just enjoying each other and laughing. It feels like we’re always going, so for me the most important moments are when we’re still. We’re just in our pajamas doing absolutely nothing. Those quiet moments.

Last home-cooked meal you made: Um, I’m not the best cook, but I helped prepare Easter dinner. My husband’s family, their nickname for me is “Yams” because I make really delicious candied yams and peach cobbler. I’m a sugar fanatic and I’ve mastered those two.

Favorite spot in Dallas for a date night: NorthPark Center movie theater. We love to go to the movies. Whenever we have a date night, we always incorporate a movie night.

Last movie you saw: Pitch Perfect 2 and it was hilarious.

If your life were a movie, what movie would it be? Father of the Bride. Tyson and I have known each other since high school, and my dad knew very early on that Tyson would be the man I would marry. We went through a traditional courting stage. I grew up in a very strict Christian household, so Tyson got to know my parents. I remember preparing to walk down the aisle, and I looked at [my father] and he had completely lost it. I’m like, “Listen, you’ve got to get yourself together. You’re not going to ruin my moment with a panic attack.” We got married so young, as well.

You life’s theme song: “Hero” by Mariah Carey.

Favorite way to spend “me” time: In a hotel room by myself, in a plush robe with my candle.

Best thing to happen to you so far in 2015: There were two things. My work for UNICEF and Delete Blood Cancer are so important to me, and I recently had the honor of hosting Delete Blood Cancer’s annual awards breakfast here in Dallas. And then UNICEF asked me to speak on their panel in New York for a program that Tyson and I brought to the city of Dallas. Those two things were a culmination of my work and such an honor for me.

What was your response upon finding out you were expecting your first child? I was completely devastated and mortified. (Laughs.) I was 23 years old, newly married and found out I’d gotten pregnant on my honeymoon. It was just complete and utter devastation.

How’d you tell Tyson? Tyson was very excitedly sitting on the bed while I was in the bathroom taking the test. So I told him by opening the door with the stick in my hand, crying.

No. 1 rule your kids absolutely cannot break: Just disrespect.

Coolest thing about being a mom: Creating another human being and raising them. It’s really freaky if you think about it. It’s a lot of responsibility.

If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would it be? I would love to have myself in 20 years over for dinner because I’m so impatient, and I want to know what happens.

What gives you mom guilt? There not being enough time in the day. That’s one thing I struggle with. Am I giving enough time to my babies? I never feel like there’s enough time.

Best gift you’ve ever received: My engagement ring from my husband.

Best gift you’ve ever given: My children. I gave them the gift of life.

Your favorite real mom: By far Michelle Obama.

Quality you hope your kids take from you: My heart to serve.

Habit you hope they don’t inherit: Speaking before thinking.

Three things that are always in your purse: Moisturizer, my PawPaw, which is like fermented papaya — it’s like my Windex; you can use it for everything — and my wallet.

Question you get asked the most: People like to ask me about my personal life quite a bit.

Any big summer plans? We’re going home [to Los Angeles], which is where we’re from. And Tyson and I are actually renewing our vows for our 10-year wedding anniversary, which is super exciting. He’s been working on our vow renewal for probably a year and a half, and it’s all a surprise for me.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: Continue to pursue Jesus and everything else will come to you.

Published August 2015