A MODEL MOM
COCO ROCHA INVITES FASHION TO MEET HER NEW DAUGHTER, IONI CONRAN.
Coco Rocha invites FASHION to meet her new daughter, Ioni Conran. Photographed by Chris Nicholls.
BY EIGHT WEEKS OF AGE, IONI JAMES
Conran had 34,000 Instagram followers.
“Putting photos of her on social media was a no-brainer to us,” explains model Coco Rocha, whose own following is nearing 1 million. “We are tech-obsessed.”
Rocha and her husband/manager, artist James Conran, were both wearing Apple Watches when they arrived at FASHION’s shoot with their perfectly placid daughter in tow.
“I can time and keep track of her feeds, and answer the phone and speak hands-free, »
even if I’m burping her,” Rocha says. Conran demonstrates how he draws hearts with his fingertip and they appear on his wife’s screen. At home, when the couple puts Ioni down to sleep, they can position a phone to keep an eye on her and watch the images on their wrists.
“Give me a new gadget before a new pair of shoes,” declares Rocha, who grew up in Richmond, B.C., and is one of the most successful models Canada has ever produced. Ioni, meanwhile, already has an impressive designer wardrobe, thanks to gifts from DSquared, Missoni and Jean Paul Gaultier. “No cone bras, though!” Rocha jokes.
At four days early, Ioni was somewhat of a surprise, Conran says. “Coco said, ‘Something doesn’t feel right. Let’s go to the hospital and check it out.’ We didn’t even bring a bag with us.”
“The nurse said, ‘You’re having a baby,’” Rocha recalls. “I said, ‘Yes, I know.’ She said, ‘No. I mean you’re having a baby today.’ ”
Ioni was born six hours later at seven pounds 12 ounces. Her name is derived from a Scottish island, though both Conran and Rocha have Irish blood (Rocha’s is mixed with Ukrainian). “We are very visual people and we liked the way it looked and sounded,” she says.
This is Ioni’s second work visit with mom—the first was on Coney Island the week prior with Rocha jumping in and out of an RV to nurse. And, yes, at seven weeks post-delivery she fit the miniscule model samples. “It’s funny how the weight just went away,” Rocha says of the 35 pounds she gained during her pregnancy. Her diet hasn’t shifted from her usual burgers and spaghetti. She and Conran even shared a candlelit steak and lobster dinner the day after Ioni’s birth.
Though Rocha is open to sharing moments of her life, did she have any hesitation about making her baby a public figure? “I think if you share your life just enough, people won’t ask for more,” says Rocha. In theory, anyway. “The other day I had a paparazzi who was very in my face about getting a photo of her. He asked, and the answer was no. And he put his camera right into her buggy and did it anyway. But there are people who don’t share any photos of their children and that happens to them daily. This way, I get to control the image. It’s not a random photo of her on the street and me frustrated.”
Rocha suspects her daughter might have aspirations other than modelling. “You don’t always do what your parents do,” she says. “You want your own identity.” (Rocha’s parents work in the airline industry.) But if Ioni does want to model, Rocha will guide her with the same principles she has followed. Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, Rocha won’t pose nude, with cigarettes, or with war messaging or religious symbols.
“I tell parents that this industry is OK. So for me to turn around and say my child won’t model is a bit hypocritical,” Rocha says. “I think the industry has some great qualities and it was such a great learning curve for me, good and bad. And I can help her with that. If she said, ‘I don’t want to be a model,’ I wouldn’t be surprised. But if she wanted to model, I would help her have a great experience.”
“GIVE ME A NEW GADGET BEFORE A NEW PAIR OF SHOES ”