It's a well known fact that all women are multi-taskers, well this is the understatment of the century when it comes to models, friends, mothers and bloggers - Not Such A Model Mum. With buckets of experience under each of their belts in every aspect of their lives and careers, we thought who better than to get some key advice from! We caught up with founders, Jessica Arora & Caroline Barton, on their success stories and favourite fashion moments as well as what's in store for the duo in the future...
What made you start Not Such A Model Mum together?
Whilst we were both having kids at the same time and juggling motherhood with modelling, we both noticed how fast the fashion industry was changing- especially the influence that social media was having on it. Going to castings had changed, and we were constantly being asked whether we had an Instagram account.
One Sunday afternoon, after Caroline had moved to Barcelona, we were both in the playground chatting on the phone and talking about how we both had to set up an Instagram account, and decided to set one up together. We know each other so well, totally trust one another and have lived and worked together for nearly two decades!
We then decided that if we were going to start an Instagram, we would also write a blog about all the tips we have learnt from modelling and the fashion world, and NotSuchAModelMum was born! And here we are, some two years later, having the best time working on something that we truly believe in and thoroughly enjoy.
Pictured above wearing: Primrose Park Drake Dress
How do you juggle keeping stylish and being a mummy?
Jess - I have no idea! I think for me, it’s about having clothes in my wardrobe that I actually wear, and make me feel good. My wardrobe used to be stuffed full of clothes that I never wore, but didn’t throw away, and, after having three kids, I just didn’t have the energy or the time to rifle through my closet to find something that may or may not fit. So it totally changed my wardrobe and now I have much less, but they’re clothes I wear regularly and which make me happy. That’s what style is to me now I’m middle aged... clothes that make me feel confident and content. A pair of black skinny jeans, Joseph trousers, a couple of cashmere jumpers, a few hoodies, some cool trainers, summer dresses, and I’m good to go. A bit of bling never goes astray and I’m a sucker for a statement dangly earring.
Caroline - Emm…. I have my moments where the rush to get out of the house in the mornings without having looked in the mirror does happen more times than not! Where I realise only when it’s too late to change that I am wearing an outfit that I must have picked in the dark! However, my fail safe is a pair of boyfriend jeans, a T-shirt and flats or trainers with a jacket or blazer. I’m not one for black if I can help it. I much prefer to wear colour it makes me feel good especially if the weather is dull and dark.
What are your favourite trends at the moment?
Jess - I’m loving the tie dye trend at the moment.... you know you are old when you live to see a trend twice!! The modern takes on tie dye are such fun and I’m sure that trend will be here to stay for a few seasons at least. I’ve always been a bit of a hippy at heart! The tuxedo trend is one I’m also quite excited about... a tuxedo jacket and trousers are always timeless and classic and can be worn in so many ways.
Caroline - Jess will laugh when I say this. I scoffed at Jess recently saying “I would never wear a large logo print top or piece of clothing with a logo design all over it, I think it’s so done ” ….. We went shopping together recently and all I bought were large logo print t-shirts and tops! Personally I am still not a fan of tie dye, although I can appreciate how some designers such as Stella McCartney and Prada have managed to carry this trend so well this season. I much prefer the sunshine shades of last summer which have been a strong colour palette for this season, too. Burnt orange with terracotta which featured heavily in a few of the shows this season such as Versace and Valentino just oozes style, sexiness and fun. It makes me want to book a fabulous holiday in Tuscany and pretend I have a exotic life instead of the reality, more than probably going to Centre Park holidays with the kids! I am also a big shorts fan. I live in Barcelona where the weather is warm, tailored shorts get the total thumbs up from me!
What have been both your craziest model moments and your highlights of your modeling career?
Jess - Too many... it’s an absolute privilege to work in this industry and, because I started modelling after uni at 22, I’m super aware of how incredible the fashion world is. I’ve done campaigns for Garnier, Nivea, Samsung, Panasonic, Dorothy Perkins, Levi’s, Bacardi, Schweppes, Pandora, JD Williams, Marks and Spencer, to name but a few. Trips to Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, the Maldives, all over the States, Cuba, Panama, the Caribbean, South Africa, have been such fun, and living in New York and Miami with Caroline are special highlights! In fact, my friendship with Caroline is probably the highlight of my modelling career... and we are both hopeful that there are more highs to come!
Pictured above wearing: Primrose Park Lottie Jumpsuit
Caroline - Good question there have been so many! Meeting Jess in Paris at the beginning of our modelling careers was quite bonkers. We knew of each other from London and were told by our Agencies to aspire to be more like the other and their career - which meant every time we were at castings we would give each other a wide berth as we were each other's competition! In this particular case we were both in Paris at the same time and seeing each other at different castings throughout the day and trying to avoid one another. It finally came to a point where it was just a little too embarrassing, we decided we would try and hang out and go for a run and a drink together that evening. Well a three and a half hour run later having chatted the whole time, we decided we could just about bare being friends and the rest they say is History!
Apart from that there are so many! Walking shows for designers you admire such as Missoni, Celine, Burberry and Diane Von Furstenburg. Being booked as opposed to being a crazy fan dancing up on stage with Brian Ferry at Wembley at the Princess Trust and hanging out in the Green Room with amazing artists such as Tom Jones, Tony Bennet, Prince William and Harry, J Lo and P Diddy way back when, to name but a few. Being whisked away to a Private Island in the Maldives to shoot for a client for two weeks. Working with designers on collections, I worked at Victoria Beckham for 7 years on a weekly basis seeing and watching all her lines come together and help being apart of that design process. Meeting the most incredible people and seeing their careers blossom over time, too. It is a privilege to work in such a crazy, artistic industry that keeps on giving even now! The highs and lows are not over yet!
Who are your style influences?
Jess - I’m obsessed with the blogger ‘Sincerely Jules’ - her style is effortless, cool and fun. And it’s pretty inspiring how she has built a brand from her blog. I love Gwyneth Paltrow’s red carpet style and Danielle Nachmani’s styling.
Caroline - Good question I love Coco Chanel she’s iconic and timeless and was so ahead of her time. I also love Stella Tennant and the new era of style influencers on Instagram such as Alexandra Tolstoy, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert and the young cool kids such as Jenn Im and song of style, Aimee Song. There are so many people I find inspiration from.
What are you looking forward to this Summer?
Jess - Long dog walks in the sunshine with my goldendoodle puppy, holidays with the kids and just enjoying life.
Caroline - HOLIDAYS!!! We are going to go on a bit of a road trip around Spain and perhaps head to the Islands of Greece. Plus a trip back to the UK for some good old summer sunshine! My kids have almost three months off from school which means I need to plan things to do or I will go insane!
What’s next for NSAMM?
World Domination and to continue working with lovely brands like Anna!