Coco Rocha is one of the world’s most renowned (and funny!) supermodels. She has graced the cover of Vogue magazine dozens of times, garnered 1.5 million followers on Twitter, and almost as many on Instagram. But it’s her firstborn daughter, Ioni James Conrad, who is taking the internet by storm.
At only 16 months of age, Ioni Conrad has more than 51,000 Instagram followers. But, in true baby diva fashion, Ioni follows only two people. Want to bother taking a guess? Yup, of course, it’s Mom and Dad—both of whom were in Toronto last week to promote Rocha’s latest endeavour, a partnership with Amopé. Rocha sat down with me to chat about at-home pedicures, parenting, and social media.
Coco admits, that, whenever possible, she rather be barefoot (but not necessarily pregnant.)
‘I love walking around barefoot,’ she says. For Rocha, going out to get a pedicure, perhaps due to her 15 years as a model, or because she is simply so laid-back, is more of a chore than anything. She’d rather stay at home and do it herself.
‘No, I didn’t bother getting a pedicure before I gave birth to Ioni,’ she laughs.
It’s apparent this supermodel, and her handsome photographer husband, James Conrad, are more than down-to-earth celebrities, happy to talk about both pedicures and, even more so, parenting.
When asked, ‘Did you buy a push present?’, her husband of six years looks perplexed, as if he honestly had never heard of the term ‘push present’ before. (And he honestly hadn’t. In fact, I had to explain what a ‘push present’ is.)
‘No, I didn’t get her a present when the baby was born, but Coco wanted steak. The baby was born at 4 am so the next night I brought her a steak to the hospital. I wanted to bring champagne, but she wouldn’t drink it.’
The duo, who travel everywhere together and work together on all-things Coco (including her line of clothes, updating her social media, a new partnership with a model management company and with Amopé, and raising their baby) met at a house party.
They kept running into each other, until finally, they started dating three years later. Six years after getting married, they welcomed their first baby girl.
Daddy Conrad seems as enamored with being a father as Rocha is talking about being a new mother. ‘She just started wrestling. She’s bouncing on the bed. She loves pillow fights. I feel like I’m raising a tomboy,’ says Daddy Conrad.
Coco doesn’t know if Ioni, who will pose if you say, ‘OH NO!’, will follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue modeling. ‘She doesn’t even know what I do!,’ laughs the supermodel, who is wearing an outfit from her own collection.
And, no, Ioni has not had her first pedicure, or even polish put on any of her nails, even for fun. ‘Although, the other day I was wearing this neon green polish and Ioni totally noticed it. She loved it!’ says Rocha.
Rocha also laughs, while looking slightly appalled, when asked if she’ll ever match outfits with her baby, like Kim Kardashian. (Twin Day! #Not)
‘Oh no! I grew up with my mom dressing me just like her,’ says Rocha. ‘She loved doing that. So, no, I’m not going to do that. I’ll go as far as maybe wearing the same colour tone,’ she laughs. ‘Don’t we all do the opposite of what our parents did?’
Interestingly, ‘James’, Ioni’s middle name is after her father. ‘If we were going to have a boy, we were going to use one of my middle names as the baby’s,’ says Rocha.
Baby Ioni is used to travelling the world by plane, as was Rocha when she was a child.
‘My mom worked as a flight attendant for Air Canada and she still does. As I child, she’d take me along to Egypt, Hong Kong, all over Europe. But I find with Ioni the best time for us to travel is taking red eye flights. She sleeps. We’re exhausted, but it’s best for her.’ And all Ioni needs is her security blanket, Raffe, adds Dad.
Last year, Rocha found herself in the midst of her first (and hopefully only) Mommy-Shaming-War, when she posted a photo of her feeding Ioni formula at four months. She responded to her critics with a smart, ‘I don’t need you to tell me how to be a mother.’ So was she prepared for all the unwanted, unasked for advice/judgment?
‘It was weird to experience that kind of judgment. There is no right way of parenting. We all want our children to be happy. My mother actually told me not to listen to anyone’s advice.’
For his part, Dad says, he felt ‘not quite qualified’ for the job of fatherhood (who is?) when it came to welcoming Ioni into the world. ‘We didn’t realize how natural it all would be. You realize you’re meant to do this, to be parents. I didn’t realize how painful it would be for Coco. I felt kind of detached during labor because I wanted to keep Coco calm. So I was playing it off as easygoing.’ he smiles.
And, yes, Dad did get teary-eyed when he first held Ioni—even if he didn’t’ get what he was expecting expected.
‘I expected this alien-looking like thing, with a weird shaped head. But I was totally wrong. She came out beautiful,’ says Conrad. ‘Mind-blowing’, is how Dad describes watching Ioni grow up.
As for having more children, Conrad says, ‘I’d love to. So many people have told us that we should have them close together. But I kind of like waiting until they’re a little more independent. So maybe they could help out,’ he laughs. ‘So, it could be one more year, or it could be five.”