Turns out, Nicole Trunfio is not perfect.
As I rummaged through her bathroom drawers searching for beauty products to use in our shoot, I was secretly relieved to find broken blush compacts, lidless skincare products, and spilled baby shampoo. I might have breathed an audible sigh of relief when she mentioned she never had time to work out. And I was pleasantly surprised when she mentioned that she “wasn’t that into self care.”
Of course, one couldn’t be blamed for assuming this woman has it all together: in addition to being a devoted mother of three, Trunfio is a supermodel who runs multiple businesses (ERTH Jewelry, BUMPSUIT, and newly-launched ERTH Swim), shares a gorgeous Texas ranch with husband, acclaimed musician Gary Clark Jr., and was game to model her new bikini line just months after giving birth.
But instead of making comparisons, I left our day together feeling emboldened. Nic’s not perfect, and it’s her refreshing honesty and unapologetic declaration of her priorities that truly inspire me.
Read on for my interview with Nicole Trunfio in which we discuss her transition from modeling to entrepreneurial life, what it’s like working from home with three kids at home, and the chic uniform she wears almost daily.
Born in Australia, Nicole moved to New York City at age 16 after winning a national modeling contest. “Modeling was never the plan,” she said. “I was the nerdy kid who loved to read and wanted to be a lawyer — being the popular girl was never something that interested me.” But fate took its course, and before long she was traveling the globe, modeling for designers from Versace to Dolce & Gabbana to Chanel. Although her career brought incredible opportunities for travel and lifelong friendship, she knew that ultimately, she wanted to pursue a path where she was able to bring her own creative visions to life – and exercise her passions for design, business, art, and nature.
In 2016, Nicole’s sustainable and ethical fine jewelry company, ERTH, was born, and it was followed by a successful foray into shapewear (for maternity, postpartum, and way beyond) with BUMPSUIT. She wore one through much of our shoot, proving that a one-piece is not just foolproof, it’s incredibly chic, too.
Nicole, what does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up tired, because my new baby keeps me up and my kids wake me up asking for breakfast first thing. So I get up and can barely open my eyes until I hear the coffee grinder. We put on music, eat breakfast together and then go on about our days. I have been with my kids all day lately, which I love, but now that I’m back to work, I go into my “office” (which is any room I select for the day in my house, do to covid) and make magic happen. I am interrupted all day by the cutest little baby, Ella, and occasionally by the cheeky faces of Gia and Zion. But generally the new norm is one of bliss. We live out on a ranch, and being about to work from home, and have my family so close all day and night is something that keeps my heart content. I guess my family isn’t like most; my husband has been traveling for the past eight years, and this pandemic brought him home. We’ve got him now!
What time is your wake up call?
My kids go to school in Austin, so we usually wake up at 6 am and drive that long hour into town every morning. We fill the drive with music, audiobooks and podcasts. I love having this time, we drive through rolling hills and wine country. I dream on these drives, so when I get into the office I am rearing to go!
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hug and kiss my babies until they can’t bear it any longer. Sometimes I tickle them, but I always feel guilty doing it because I am so much bigger and stronger than them, and they can’t get me back!
What’s your morning beauty routine?
Right now, I am breastfeeding, so I’m using a clean beauty line called January Labs from start to finish. It’s the only line I have ever used all the products from — I am seeing such great results, I have no yearning to change or add anything. I guess right now I also just don’t have time, and it’s not my priority.
My skin is natural and I feel like a lady of the land — slightly unkept, and not mad about it.
Tell us more about your home.
We live on a ranch outside Austin. There was one owner before us, who dreamt and built an incredible horse sanctuary where they raised and rode Arabian horses. The horses names are still marked on the stable doors. I love it out here, it’s paradise: “where the fairies live,” I say. We have been here for 3 years and don’t plan to ever sell it. I love ranch life.
How do you outfit plan?
I invented the BUMPSUIT during my third pregnancy, and wear it most days so I don’t have to outfit plan; I hate having to come up with a “look.” I am a creature of habit and super creative, so I don’t like to waste any time wondering what to wear. I like jeans and a tee, or just a swimsuit and something to cover it (if I have to.) BUMPSUIT is a layer for every season — super cozy, super chic, stylish, you don’t have to think about it.
What do you eat for breakfast?
An egg muffin is my OG: English muffin, an egg, bacon, arugula, garlic aioli, and truffle salt. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know that Chef Trunfio is kind of a thing now; we just finished filming three weeks of recipes for my new cooking show, dropping soon.
What are your favorite books?
I love books about parenting and relationships, I used to love all the classics, but now it’s more utility…. for the moment anyway. I just read How to Raise Successful People by Esther Wojcicki. It’s an amazing read, and I highly recommend it to any parents.
What’s your favorite getting-ready soundtrack?
I’m still so into that Solange record, it puts me in my zone. I want to be transported into her music videos, and go on a night out with that diamond dress and heals, and super glam makeup and hair that feels like Miami in the late 70’s / early 80’s.
Do you work out in the morning?
I don’t have time to work out. I run after kids, up stairs, after chickens….
I never leave the house without…
My ear pods. Every. Mother’s. Dream.
Healthiest morning habit:
Worst morning habit:
Bath or shower?
Steam shower. I love sea salt scrubs with essential oils (I make it myself at home.)
If you had one extra hour every morning, how would you use it?
I would work out (lol.)
Your new swim company, ERTH Swim, repurposes waste found in the oceans into high-quality fabrics. I’d love to hear about your passion for protecting the ocean. Where did that come from?
Growing up in Australia, we had the most beautiful beaches and oceans. I remember visiting Bali once and going to the north shore and seeing how things can get when no one has taken care of their environment. It really broke my heart and planted a seed inside of me that lives on. I can’t stand the thought of what abandoned rubbish can do to the life of innocent animals and our planet — it’s quite disgusting. I wanted to do my small part to heal the beaches and oceans as much as possible and raise awareness about the issues. Popular beaches are generally kept well, but trash travels a long way.
What are a few things you do every day to live an environmentally conscious life?
I don’t use paper towels – I have a reusable version that’s made of layered cloths. I don’t use glad wrap – I use beez wrap instead. I recycle four times more than I have waste, and I have chickens so all my food scraps go there. I’m working on so many things I can do everyday to lower my carbon foot print.
How can we as mothers, fathers, and nurturers teach our children about the power they have to positively impact the planet?
I think kids already know better than most adults. For me, it’s more about us listening to them and keeping their eyes and ears away from the advertising and propaganda they see around them from an early age that turns them into consumers and a part of the “machine.” We have to be aware of that. Kids are smart.