This week on Oh'Woman we're joined by mother of three, nurse, sailor, horse enthusiast, cat mom and all round aspirational powerhouse, Zoe Nickolas. We met Zoe through her equally gorgeous daughter Thea (check out our previous interview with Thea here) We were lucky enough to have them both style and model our SS20 collection pieces together (dream O7D duo). We chatted with Zoe about her life, career, motherhood and style...
Who is Zoë ??
First and foremost I’m a mother. It’s my most important role. I’m a nurturer, I get a lot of joy out of nurturing others - my children, my partner, plants, animals, making food, and I guess myself to some extent, through exercise and things that bring me joy.
Where did you grow up and what was your upbringing like?
I grew up, at my very earliest ages, in the Blue Hills of Virginia in a little town called Crozet. We lived in a house with no electricity, no heating, and no plumbing, by the choice of my parents. My mother was a bellydancer and I remember coming home from elementary school and joining her lessons that she taught in our dining room. My dad was a filmmaker. We grew up as (what would be referred to today as) free-range children, and my favorite thing to do as a child was ride horses and spend time with animals. Horses and animals in general bring me comfort.
What's been a highlight in your career?
I’ve been a nurse for 22 years. I think there’s a lot of highlights to nursing and I can think of so many patients that have made a difference in my life, and hopefully I’ve made a difference in their lives too. But any time I feel a pure connection and I feel like I’m able to provide comfort, peace, and reassurance, that’s a highlight.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
I think one of the biggest challenges has been really knowing who I am, and then really being able to live authentically. And my advice to my younger self would be don’t be afraid to learn about yourself, embrace yourself, and be yourself.
What has motherhood taught you?
Motherhood has taught me everything that I just said. Really it’s taught me to not be afraid, and that’s something I want to instill in my daughters. To be strong and confident, not fearful, and the desire to teach that to them has helped me to become that.
What do you consider to be your last victory?
I value small victories that you can have throughout the day, I don’t think victories have to be big. In my last riding lesson I had a great connection with the horse and I felt like that was a victory.
How has your style evolved throughout your life?
I think that I put comfort before style on most days, and I’m learning how to integrate comfort with style. I think style can be an expression of who you are, and the more I have felt that I know myself, the more my style has come through.
What are your thoughts on 'fast fashion'?
I recently learned that term through my daughter, and I try to avoid it, it makes me sad. I try to get the most life out of my clothes as I can, I don’t feel the need to accumulate and replace. I buy things for the long term and when I do buy I try to buy consciously.
When do you feel the most content?
I’d say right now. In the kitchen with my daughters, holding my cat, having this conversation. I feel most content when I’m connected to myself and to the people I love.
If you had to live out your days in one outfit, what would it be?
My birthday suit - haha, is that bad to say?
Are you making steps to be more sustainable in your day to day life? If so, how?
Yes. My parents were very conscious about living sustainably, so that’s not a new concept in my life, but I have been taking steps to maintain that. I compost, I buy local when I can, I buy organic most of the time, and I try not to waste food. I bake from scratch, I make all of my own bread. I use reusable paper towels, I avoid plastics. I walk whenever possible to avoid driving, and I eat a mostly vegetarian diet.
What is the last thing you ate? Was it tasty??
We had homemade strawberry pancakes for breakfast and it was delicious.
If you could snap your fingers and be teleported somewhere, where would it be?
There are two places I would go. One is to Iceland, to ride Icelandic horses. It’s open, it’s beautiful, it’s rough, it’s gentle, and every piece of it is unique - but it will be there and I will go again. The other is with my dad, on his boat, sailing around Frenchman’s Bay. Because of COVID-19 I haven’t seen him since January, and I miss him.
Book, music, or podcast recos?
I love listening to “How I Built This” which is a podcast that interviews entrepreneurs. I find each one so interesting, even if I’m not familiar with the product or the company, I find their stories and passions to be inspiring.