Perth-born beauty Nicole Trunfio has had a busy 12 months. Giving birth to son Zion in January, she's also engaged to musician Gary Clark Jr. (who's touring Oz in January) and just launched her fine jewellery line Trunfio Universe this week. Touching down in Sydney for a whirlwind trip (the first time she's been away from her son), we chat to the supermodel about her passion project, life plans and exercise secrets.
Congrats on your jewellery line - how long have you been working on it for?
A long time - since I met Gary, actually - three and a half years. I was looking for a high-quality manufacturer, somebody that reflects the brand really well. And I finally [went with] with Cerrone. I wasn't planning on having an Australian-based manufacturer but they're very good at pave work, which a lot of our jewellery has. The settings are all hand drilled and hand set, which not many people do but Cerrone specialise in it. I also thought it was great because a lot of my customer base is in Australia. And working with Cerrone has been like a family experience.
A lot of models branch out into beauty or health and fitness - why did you choose fine jewellery?
I've always been passionate about fine jewellery and luxury brands. Working with Tom Ford when he was at Gucci, seeing the dynamic of the company and even just stepping into the foyer of the Gucci office in Milan - I just really identified with luxury brands. And then working with Valentino and Lagerfeld - I just knew I wanted to be in that field.
We're really creating an experience with Trunfio Universe. From the packaging, to the leather travel pouch - even the box our jewellery is delivered in turns into something you can keep. I wanted to start slow, that's why we didn't have a massive launch, because I wanted to build a strong foundation, slowly get our customer base. It's high-end jewellery that's an investment, not something that is going to be of the moment.
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You've had a lot going on in the last 12 months, like having a baby... Can you talk about your wedding plans?
[Laughs] No! I'm in the middle of it right now. The wedding is going to be very, very secretive. It's a very personal thing - the only thing I get to keep for me.
Are you chilled or stressed about the planning?
Oh, it's very stressful, because it's only one day in your life. I've been putting it off for so long. Gary and I have so much more going on than that day and we're already married deep down, we have a child together, you know? And we're both very busy flying all over the world, so it's really hard. It's stressful in that sense - like, we've finally locked down a place, but now it's like 'What do I want to wear?' - I want to wear three dresses. I'm a little bit of diva so it's going be perfect, that's for sure!
You've received a lot of attention for your post-baby body - as a model did you feel that pressure to get back into shape straight away?
Oh my gosh, it's was so so hard. I feel blessed that I have good genes but the mental, emotional, physical challenges that you go through after having a baby - your relationship with your body, your sexuality - everything is so magnified.
You need a lot of support around you. I've never been the gym so much. I've [even] created my own workout that I do at home and that's why I posted that [Instagram] photo because I'm so proud that I got to that goal. You see all those stories of women that get to it in three months... It's not about how you can make your body look, it's about feeling like you have your body and your mind back. I think we all need to be a little bit more compassionate for mothers and new mothers.
Some people have totally different experiences, too.
My pregnancy was super easy and my birth was ok. I had an at-home all-natural birth which I'll never do again [laughs], but it was after the birth that was hard for me physically.
Do you have any tricks to get motivated to get back to the gym?
I think that as a mother you need to give yourself your time and going to the gym for me was my time to have my own brain, otherwise I was with Zion all the time. You really need to nurture yourself because when you're looking after a baby 24/7 you start to lose yourself completely and you need help. Even if you can't afford to have a nanny, a baby sitter or a family member can take the baby off your hands for an hour a day.
Did you have a particular diet that you stuck to?
No, I can't really deprive myself of food, because that would probably make me depressed! I just eat anything, but I just make sure I do enough in the day to burn it. I actually found that breastfeeding burnt a lot of calories and I got much skinnier than I [wanted]. My goal wasn't to be skinny per se, it was to build muscle, be toned, to look healthy.
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What kind of exercises did you do?
Lots of squats - like Bulgarian split squats. There are so many different ways you can do it to make it fun. I've had so many trainers over the years and I've never done the same kind of squat. Boxing has been huge for me because it's good for the mind. My boxing trainer in LA is amazing, people stop going to therapy when they start boxing because of the whole mental side of it.
Any secret beauty treatments that work wonders?
I found that I would work out so hard that I'd be really sore and I'd take a lavender Epsom salts bath afterwards. My sister introduced me to these oils called doTERRA, they're therapeutic grade aromatherapy oils that can be very healing for your muscles. And I meditate a lot as well.
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