Based in the beautiful seaside city of Costa Mesa, California - meet Model & Mama, Mikaela Simila. Originally from Seattle, Mikaela moved to New York in pursuit of her modelling career, it was there met her husband Diego and gave birth to their daughter Lux. When pregnant with their son Rocky, Mikaela and Diego decided to move their budding young family to the sunny West coast where youngest Mickey was born. A lover of nature, you will often find Mikaela by the ocean, covered in sand and always smiling. We sat down with Mikaela and daughter Lux, to talk about motherhood, juggling business and babies, beautiful friendships and our fave ice cream flavour...well, we talked ice cream with little Lux.
You are in the process of starting your own sustainable swimwear label, Bambino Swim...First of all, congratulations! How are you juggling your own business and motherhood? Is sustainability something that is really important to you?
Thank you! I’m really excited to get Bambino into people’s hands. It’s been a labour of love! Sustainability is very important to us. In every decision, we make regarding the brand that has been the top priority. We want what we create to have a positive rather than negative impact on the planet. I’m excited to go more into detail on this and share it as we get closer to the launch! The juggle is challenging for every mom, we all carry so much. I try my best to be fully present when I’m with the kids and make the times I do work feel distinct and separate so that they don’t feel ignored or unimportant. I believe it is important and healthy that they see me working and passionate. Especially for my daughter.
Your close friend Arika shoots a lot of your content; it must be so fun working together and creating. Tell us about how you two met? What were some of the things you had in common that led to such a close relationship?
I love Arika! She is such a great human and an incredible photographer. We met through my good friend and business partner Leah. She makes shooting easy, as we both share a love for nature and capturing whatever brand we’re shooting in an unforced, organic and authentic way.
How have you found the journey of raising sons different to raising your daughter? Have there been any standout moments for you with Lux that were totally different to your boys?
I’ve found all three of my children to be such unique individuals who require very different parenting. But I do see a difference in raising my daughter versus my sons. Lux is passionate, emotionally driven, and thrives when she gets one on one time. She could sit and talk for hours, while quality time with my sons is typically more physical (ie: playing catch or running around at the beach together always fills their love tank). I’m grateful for my daughter and the special bond we have, and I look forward to our relationship continuing to grow as she gets older.
We love the idea that our lives are full of chapters! What were some of the chapters you closed when you became a mother, and what was it like opening the new chapter of motherhood?
Closing chapters is never easy. I met my husband in New York while I was out there for work. Running around the city and just being kids was priceless! The freedoms and the spontaneity is something every parent daydreams about now. But as exhausting as motherhood can be, it has been the most rewarding, fulfilling chapter of my life by far. It’s truly difficult to imagine what life was like before. I feel like a different person, in a good way. :)
What kind of mother do you aspire to be? How would you describe your parenting style? What are some of the things your mother taught you, that you really wanted to pass on to your children?
I think it’s hard these days as everyone has an opinion on how to parent. It can cause you to feel confused and ignore your gut, I’ve been there many times. I have to remind myself that my kids just need me, and I have the tools within myself to raise them. Above all, I aspire to be a mother who supports her kids. A safe place where they are allowed to feel all of their emotions because I hold the space for them to process them. I desire to raise resilient kids who are tuned into their own bodies, aware of their needs, and trusting of their personal compass. My mother was a very gentle parent who allowed us to express emotions and communicate freely. I never felt the need to rebel or push back, because she didn’t force her authority. She has always been full of love and grace.