Model, wife, mother, and CEO are just some of the ways you might describe ERTH Jewelry founder, Nicole Trunfio. We recently sat down with her to chat about ERTH, the three M’s — modeling, marriage, motherhood — and life with her family on their gorgeous Texas ranch.
Her solid 14k gold line, designed to be both wearable and accessible, has been featured in high fashion glossies such as Vogue and Elle, and has become a favorite among some of today’s most stylish ladies, including Gigi Hadid and Behati Prinsloo. It may go without saying that Nicole has excellent taste, but we also love her for her openness and authenticity. Check out our conversation below.
Talk to us about life in Texas. When did you move there and why?
I love farm life and being surrounded by nature and I have honestly never been so happy in my life. We recently turned our ranch into a wildlife preserve. It's incredible to see wild animals all around us — it's like living in the middle of a safari. We live so far out of town, but I feel like the 1 hour commute every morning at 6 am is a blessing — I wake up before the sun and listen to the most incredibly awakening audio books and podcasts.
We moved to Texas because my husband wanted to record his second album here, where he grew up. Then, we accidentally stayed. It wasn't really the plan, but I still have my place in NYC because I still model, and now we are traveling all over the world for ERTH Piercing party events. I get a little bit of everything, and I'm so grateful.
When did you begin modeling and how did you get your start?
Just before I turned 16, I won a modeling competition that my friends entered me in. Initially, I didn't want to be a model because I thought I would be bullied and picked on, just like in school — but when I started, all of the girls around me were also the awkward, picked-on girls, so I felt right at home. That competition led to another, which led to another, which led to me winning a contract at the FORD Supermodel of the World competition at the age of 16. I had to leave home and move to New York because of the contract that my parents signed — we had no idea that I would go that far. At the time, it was a huge step that I definitely was not prepared for, but looking back, I'm incredibly grateful to have worked for some of the best fashion houses in the world. My experiences have shaped me into the designer I have become today for ERTH.
Life on the ranch has to be very different than your life in Australia or New York. How have you adjusted to the change?
I love both worlds, but living outside of the chaos has helped to keep me focused and it's enabled me to accomplish my dreams a lot earlier than I would have with all the distractions of New York. I like being out of the hustle and bustle — it gives me a better perspective on the world. Where I live, nobody knows me as a model. My neighbors actually brought me a drill kit because they saw me building my kids a playscape...I'm a farm girl at heart.
You wear a lot of hats! Mom, CEO, model...how do you do it all?
I love doing it all — you have to do what you love no matter what. It gives me energy. My father used to say that, "A jack of all trades is a master of none," but in this day and age, I believe this statement is irrelevant and I've spent my entire life proving it. It excites me to create and collaborate, to find ways to have an eco-friendly and sustainable business, to work with women, to wow my husband with a dish, and to build my children up to be happy and good people. The couch and TV are not for me — they never have been.
We've seen on Instagram that you love to cook! What's one of your favorite easy recipes right now?
I'm really into Moroccan dishes right now — I've discovered that the smell of cumin makes my husband nostalgic. One of my favorites is a roasted rack of lamb and vegetable couscous. The kids love it too, especially since they can suck on the bones. You can find it in my Instagram highlights.
You’re a mom of two young kiddos with one on the way. Tell us a bit about your transition into motherhood.
It honestly came pretty naturally to me. I've always wanted to be a mom and I love motherhood, but there are a lot of things that your mother fails to mention. With this in mind, I recently completed my book, which is aimed to help women and empower them when it comes to pregnancy, motherhood, and parenting. I also share my own story, which is a drama in and of itself. My goal is to create a female camaraderie like none other.
Was jewelry always a passion of yours? What inspired you to start ERTH?
Yes! Diamonds, sparkles, who doesn't love jewelry? Plus, my husband thinks that diamonds are good for female energy. I'm all for the healing, enlightening qualities of precious stones, gems, and gold (they weren't presented to the gods and rulers for no reason). Gold and diamonds should be an investment everybody makes — I would take them over shoes or bags any day. I tend to dress quite minimally, but when it comes to my jewelry, I go hard or go home. They'll belong to my daughters and then their daughters; good energy in the family for life.
You’re married to rockstar Gary Clark Jr. — that must mean lots of music in your house. What other artists are you loving right now?
None. He is the best. No one is cooler or more talented than that man.