Karolina Kurkova: Supermodel Mama-Turned Entrepreneur
Over the last few decades, Karolina Kurkova has made a name for herself with a hugely successful modeling career. Her resume includes highlights such as twenty-five Vogue magazine covers, being named a Victoria’s Secret Angel and completing massive campaigns with fashion industry heavyweights like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. But while everyone was focused on her glamorous outward appearance, it turns out that she’s always been about what’s on the inside, rather than out. “I’ve always preferred a more natural approach to beauty and wellness—it’s not just about products,” says Kurkova, who is now a mother to two boys, ages 3 and 9.
Last week, she launched Gryph & IvyRose, along with her friends and business partners Orion Nevel (a renowned herbalist and dad) and Rachel Finger (a beauty specialist and mom). The line consist of natural, beautifully-packaged products, from chocolate probiotics to herbal elixirs to chemical-free bath and body products, that are meant for both children and adults. All aim to support immune function and sustainable wellness, solving problems from indigestion to poor sleep.
“Gryph & IvyRose is like a children’s ritual,” explains Karolina. “As adults we have our own rituals for beauty, health and wellness and I think children like to have their rituals, too.” These types of plant-based, Chinese formulations are familiar to Kurkova because it’s how she grew up in the Czech Republic. “My grandparents had a country house and made everything from scratch. If you had a tummy ache, my grandmother boiled a plant and made a potion to help. I came from that background and then in my work have always looked for more holistic solutions,” says Karolina.
Fast forward to becoming a mother nine years ago, and an organic approach has also informed her parenting style and strategy—starting with how she gave birth. “I did two home waterbirths. I love the water and it is a peaceful way to be born. It made sense to us.” Karolina’s parents were present for the second birth, making it a family memory. “It was a really profound moment,” she says.
Since becoming a mom, the entrepreneur says she has grown in ways she didn’t expect. “I’ve always been very organized and knew I could handle a lot, but since I became a mother, it’s unbelievable how much I can handle. Also, you really understand what they mean about the mama lion and the baby lion and how protective she is. You will do everything for your child and nothing will ever come between us. To me that love is really incredible.”
While Karolina grew up in Europe and her children are being brought up in Miami, she says their childhoods are not all that different. “My parents were always big on values as well as giving us a lot of freedom to be ourselves. I am doing the same. I want my children to be them, not constantly told what to do or how to be. I want them to have good manners and appreciate things, and look out for other people that need support. Kids are like that early on—it’s our job to help them stay that way,” says Karolina, adding, “Our actions are louder than words—that’s when parenting happens.”