Former Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova tells Moneyish how motherhood sparked her new Gryph & IvyRose business venture
She’s a model momtrepreneur.
Karolina Kurkova, who made a name for herself strutting in Victoria’s Secret fashion shows and modeling for Fendi and Chanel, is the latest mother to turn parenting into a business venture.
“I’m not just a model,” Kurkova, 34, told Moneyish. “I’m also a mom. I have two boys. I’m a parent like so many other people in the world. We want the best for our children.”
So she’s teamed up with pediatricians and holistic healthcare professionals to create Gryph & IvyRose, a line of herbal elixirs, probiotic powders and bath and body products for kids.
After giving birth to her two sons, Tobin, 8, and Noah, 2, the Czech Republic-born beauty was inspired to create “a lifestyle wellness regime for kids,” the Gryph & IvyRose website explains; a budding Goop for kids, if you will, sans editorial content. The site hawks supposed holistic remedies for upset tummies, like a $22.50 bottle blend of sprouted rice, yam, licorice, fennel seed and other herbs made to support healthy digestion in children. There’s also $29 probiotic powders, and a $22.50 bottle of Call It A night, a chamomile and silk tree flower potion said to aid sleep. The elixirs are meant to be mixed in with liquids like juices or smoothies, and the powders can be sprinkled into yogurts or other non-solid foods. Her products will be available at the Maisonette Market pop-up in the Hamptons starting Wednesday.
“I realized the importance of wellness very, very early on through my travels, and being in front of a camera, and being expected to always look great. People look up to you and say, ‘Oh you’re the epitome of health and beauty,’” she said. “But there’s no cutting corners. If you want to be strong, or you want to have beautiful skin or toned muscles, you have to work at it. You have to do something for it. Nothing is going to be just there.”
And now she’s bringing that to kids. Kurkova is one of many mothers inspired by this new phase of their life to work on a passion project. Actress and mom of three Jessica Alba started The Honest Company in 2011, selling chemical-free and organic beauty and health products, including diapers and wipes for babies, and body wash and lipstick for adults. And Kim Kardashian came out with a children’s clothing line, The Kid’s Supply, after giving birth to her first child.
And it’s not uncommon for a baby to come bundled with a newborn business. A survey of more than 2,000 British mothers found that 1 in 6 planned to start a business during their maternity leave. Almost 1 in 5 (18%) wanted to practice a new hobby, and 12% wanted to learn a new language.
Kurkova admitted that getting her little ones to swallow her new gig is easier said than done, however. “Getting your little ones to eat their vegetables or gulp down a green juice without cringing is enough of a challenge,” she said, let alone explaining to them what “wellness” is.
“It’s not about saying, ‘Oh, you have to have this because it’s good for you,” she said. “Don’t push them to eat all their broccoli; that’s never going to work. You’re creating not a nice feeling towards vegetables.”
Instead, she introduces new ingredients in tastier ways, like sprinkling banana probiotic powder into a smoothie. “It’s exposing it to them; letting them try it, and when they’re ready they will try it,” she said. “And making sure things taste good,” such as sweeter superfood snacks like chia seed pudding.
Kurkova, who started modeling as a teen and landed a spot on the People’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list in 2004, says her new project has been an exciting change from the fashion industry that she grew up with — although she has no plans of retiring from the camera anytime soon. After all, women like Maye Musk are landing modeling campaigns in their 70s as the fashion industry inches toward more inclusivity.
“People may evolve to do something else and change their careers, but you don’t really have an expiration date,” she said. “I think with modeling now, people are looking for all kinds of different people who are any age, any look, any style or ethnicity. You get to be in your 60s or 70s and still feel like you can be in front of cameras and wear beautiful clothes. It’s really cool as a woman to be in a time where anything is possible.”
And Kurkova stays in the spotlight by maintaining her social media presence, tending to her 644,000 Instagram followers by posting photos such as her latest Bazaar cover, portrait shots of her kids or a more relaxed pic of herself lounging on a hammock with a cup of tea on vacation in Turkey. But she tries to maintain a balance of not oversharing or being too glued to her phone.
That’s when her 8-year-old steps in to teach her a thing or two about wellness. “Kids will always tell you if you’re on the phone too much,” she said. “They’ll tell you ‘put your phone down!’
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