A fierce, self-made entrepreneur, Nicole Williams took our breath away when we met her last year. While you may recognize her as a glamazon street style star with a swoon-worthy Instagram account, Nicole is far more than just a pretty face – she’s a champion for the prevention of animal cruelty, she’s the best friend anyone could ask for, and she’s a bold risk taker making her name as a designer in the fashion world.
Nicole sat down with us to share what and who inspires her, and to give a rare glimpse behind the scenes of her day-to-day life. Prepare to be INSPR-ed!
What were your muses for the INSPR collection? From where did you draw design inspiration and why do you want to have a clothing collection?
My ideas for this collection were inspired by my travels over the years. Where I am from, where I’ve lived and where I’ve traveled and spent time as a model. I wanted to put those feelings and experiences into my pieces.
We know many styles were inspired by places you’ve lived (you’ve had a very exciting life!) - can you please tell us a bit about each city you’ve lived in? What’s your favorite memory from each and how is that reflected in the designs?
I’ve been lucky enough to live in so many places over the world, more then just these cities, but the cities I chose are the ones that are closer to my heart and had the most effect on me and my growth.
This was the city I grew up in Newfoundland, where I was born and raised. I had a playful and outdoorsy childhood with my two brothers and life was very simple! My Mom and Dad would take us to Signal Hill to watch icebergs drift into the shore and to catch a glimpse of hump back whales. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still smell the ocean breeze and feel the mist hitting my face. There will always be a piece of me back in Newfoundland.
This was the first big city my family moved to when I was 14. Growing up in a small town, I had many dreams of moving away to a huge city where I could pursue my modeling career and eventually move to Hollywood! Toronto was the city that made me brave and grow thick skin. I knocked on the doors of 100 agencies until one signed me. It was tough to hear so many negative things about myself that I never thought of before but It was also the city that gave me that chance into the industry that I wanted so badly!
The first place I traveled to when I first started my modeling career. I was only 16 when my Mom brought me to the Toronto airport. I was SO nervous to leave my Mom and travel that far by myself but I knew that if I wanted to build my portfolio and build myself as a model I needed to experience this. It was a huge culture shock for me! It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The smells, the shopping, the energy, the night markets - everything was just amazing to me. Sometimes I smell things that remind me of Taipei and my mind goes right back to that same place.
The city that made me appreciate the beauty of the world. When I was younger I never did. I was around 17 when I decided that this city would be my next stomping grounds. I lived there for two months and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen! The architecture was magnificent, the views, the water... just wow! I also able to work with a lot of amazing people there and met some great friends.
It was tough! This was the city that tested my limits. If I wasn’t strong I could have gotten swallowed up fairly quickly. It was a good thing that I had traveled to so many places prior to New York because those cities really prepared me for this new chapter. There was more competition then I was used to, so many girls that wanted the same thing as me. The one thing that kept me going was the energy that the city gave me. I was super charged every time I walked to a casting or audition. I remember looking up and seeing hundreds of tall skyscrapers and just feeling overwhelmed with happiness. This is the city that made me feel electric! ⚡️
LA Is the city I never thought I would actually settle down and live in. I flew from NYC to LA in 2011 for work and it was only supposed to be a two month trip. I ended up doing really well with work and I was booking jobs like crazy so I extended my stay. I then met my husband Larry out here and needless to say we really hit it off and I moved here permanently.
I fell in love with the lifestyle, the weather, and I love living in a city so close to the ocean. Hiking, going on walks by the beach with our dogs and eating at our favorite restaurants are some of our favorite things to do here. Now I’m a Cali girl for sure!
If you were describing your collection to your best friend, in 20 words or less, what would you say?
Feminine, Fashion Forward, Classy, Flowy, Sexy, Powerful, Refined, Spiffy, Graceful, Tasteful, Sophisticated, Elegant, Sassy.
How do you want women to feel when they wear your collection?
I want every woman to feel sexy and confident in each piece!
If you could see your pieces on any woman in the world, who would be wearing them
I can picture Beyoncé in the Paradise dress shopping in the south of France!
Where are you from? Tell us about your childhood - a favorite childhood memory?
I’m from Newfoundland! 100% Canadian.
I have so many memories of my childhood but mostly what stands out would be me hitting the snow slopes down the street from my house. I’d fly down those hills on a carpet and literally cross the street I was going so fast. My Mom hated it! I also remember the forest - my friends and I would meet up after school and “hike” (that’s what we called it). We would climb the tallest trees and sit up there on the huge limbs and talk and plan out or futures. I’d come home full of sap! It smells so good to me now because of these memories I get.
Did you have a nickname growing up? If so, what’s the story behind it?
My nickname in Newfoundland was Cole or Coley. My brother Gord started that because he couldn’t fully pronounce my name and it just stuck. In Toronto my nickname and what everyone calls me is Barbie..I know right!? Well I used to dye my hair blond when I was younger. My agency put a stop to that but the name had already stuck! My first boyfriend there called me Barbie when we met because I was a model and I guess looked like a doll? Then EVERYONE started following and now even my goddaughters call me Auntie Barbie... and my best friends there call me B.
What’s something that people don’t know about you, that you would like them to know?
I’m a horror movie fanatic!
Where does your passion for design come from? Has fashion and tailoring been in your family?
My mom is a seamstress, and my passion for design definitely stemmed from watching her sew. She’s a boss on the sewing machine and can make anything. I was sewing and using her machine my whole life. I knew how to thread the sewing machine at age 6!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
You can do anything. My Mom and Dad told me that everyday.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
In 10 years I want to be living in my dream home with an acre of land attached where I can have a home for rescue animals. I would also hope that by then Larry and I have started to grow our family because we do want kids eventually. Business wise, I just want to be successful and build my company, Nia Lynn, maybe even hit your TV screens again because I would love to have a show that suits me and my passions.
If you could have lunch with any 3 women (alive or dead) who would they be and why?
Oprah- She’s so empowering to me. The success that woman has created for herself is just mind blowing. She started from the bottom and just sky rocketed. She also cares for others and gives back.
Beyoncé- She is such a boss, so talented and so well put together. Her success is massive because she is such a hard worker and i love that she does all of that while being a Mom and wife. I appreciate that she shares all of her flaws with her fans and let’s everyone know that not even her relationship is perfect. I have so much respect for her. Plus she is stunning!
Cindy Crawford- I’ve always looked up to her as a model, she was and always will be my muse. Her poise and demeanor are just so attractive to me.. and I love that she’s also smart! She’s used her modeling to take her to another level in her career and is a genius businesswoman.
Who is your biggest supporter?
I don’t think I can answer that! We will start a war here. My Mom, Dad, my husband Larry and my mother in law will all be mad if I don’t say them!
We know you are a dog mom - tell us about your dogs. How did you name them? How did that change your life? When did you first start championing animals and what lead you to that?
I grew up with animals; my Mom and Dad are animal lovers. I believe that they deserve to be treated with love and kindness just as we treat our children. My dogs are my babies! When I rescued Ace, his name on his birth certificate was Moose, but his foster mom named him Murphy. When I saw his photos I immediately thought he looked way more like an Ace! For Jasmine, when I first saw her I took one look at her little almond shaped brown eyes and said she looked like Princess Jasmine! Whenever I see an animal in need I use my platform (Instagram) to help. I’m really hoping it makes an impact on others and encourages them to consider animal adoption.
What’s your go-to statement piece in your closet?
I like to dress things up with a Jennifer Fisher big hoop earring, my jersey material Chanel bag, and a transparent Alevi Milano strappy sandal.
What’s your morning routine? Any beauty secrets or essentials to share?
I keep it really simple. When I wake up I take a hot shower and put Vitamin C all over my face! I love to use natural oils and Vitamin C is so good for anti-aging. Then I make my tea, check my emails and feed my fur babies.
What inspires your style? How do you choose what to wear?
Honestly I have always been a bit more risky in what I wear, I never stick to one style, so If I see something i like I wear it. If you are confident in what your wearing it’s going to look amazing!
What are your favorite brands/designers?
For higher end fashion I love Stella McCartney. Stella has changed the game in terms of creating luxury vegan pieces. I also love to discover up-and-coming designers before they become mainstream. I love Nanushka (insanely lux vegan leather) and KITH (cool streetstyle vibes). I am pretty sporty and love to find ways to be comfortable all day. Alo Yoga has some great pieces that easily transition from gym to lunch. I think it is important to mix high and low pieces because fashion is fun and should also be affordable (sometimes)!
What item is always in your purse?
Lip liner, lipstick, Canadian Passport, keys, and credit card. I also usually have a water - right now I really love the Vital Proteins collagen water. I love Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, and Covergirl for makeup. I am really big on finding the right shade and they have great pigments across the board.
What song is on repeat on your playlist these days?
No Guidance / Drake and Chris Brown is on repeat right now. Occasionally some Shania Twain!