Nicole Trunfio is a 26-year-old Australian model based in New York whose passions spread beyond fashion to her jewelry line, Trunfio Jewels, and to music. Here she talks to Billabout’s Pete Maiden.
See more pics of Nicole in our photo gallery
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Dubbo, New South Wales.
How did you start modeling?
I was scouted on the street in Perth, Western Australia, when I went to visit my sister. I was 15-years-old and my best friend and I went into this fancy, high-end store and this woman was looking at me and I was like, ‘Ah, I’m in the wrong neighbourhood, I gotta get out of here.’ She kept kind of stalking me and so I walked out and she followed us out and said, ‘I’m Christine Fox from Vivien’s Model Management in Perth.’ She asked if I wanted to be a model and I said ‘Absolutely not!’ so we left, but then we were like, ‘Maybe she’ll give us 50 bucks if she can take my photo’ and so we went back, and I let her take my photo and she gave us 50 bucks.
Eventually I let her pave the way for my career and then I won Supermodel of Australia in 2002, then I did Supermodel of the World and got a contract with Ford in New York — it just snowballed from there.
How did you start your jewelry business?
The jewelry line is based around this bracelet, which is called the Universe Bracelet. I came up with this concept about having a bracelet that changed to your every whim as a modern woman; it’s like a modern day charm bracelet. You can unlock the charm and put the charm in different ones. I like just the plain one because I love classic, but you can get diamonds, quartz and all sorts of things. Every collection revolves around this kind of bracelet.
The pyramid is such a profound structure and is a timeless shape that I wanted to work with in an architectural way. The whole collection has an architectural feel, it’s very clean, modern, which is hard to make simple jewelry, because you can see every single imperfection. Everything is made in New York by really good jewelers, a talented team of people.
What materials do you use?
We’re making everything in solid gold so it’s a really good investment for the customer too. It’s expensive, but it also goes up in price. I believe in investment pieces: I wear a gold Rolex, a gold Cartier Love Bracelet and a Universe bracelet. I don’t like wearing jewelry unless it means something to me.
How do you find working in NYC?
I love it. I’ve especially started loving New York City this past year. Moving away from Australia was really shocking for me, I felt like a fish out of water. But the majority of my friends are Australian, so we’ve created like a home away from home here.
Why are Australian models successful in the US?
I think Australia is a great multicultural country, so you get mixes of different ethnicities and it just creates these beautiful babies and then they turn into beautiful people, and then their personalities are good to go along with it so it’s just a great combination [laughing].
Any advice for aspiring Aussie models?
Keep a good head on your shoulders and be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Modeling is a tough business. You have to be really skinny, you have to be disciplined with food and exercise.
We hear music is your other passion?
My dad played music around the house as a kid I played the piano we had every instrument around. When I moved here I got a guitar and as I was traveling a lot it was my best friend and just started writing music for fun. I hang out with a lot of musicians. I’m very attracted to them and I have every musical instrument in my house, so people love to come over and jam. I feel really connected with music, but modelling puts bread on the table. I’m going to finish the EP and see what happens.
Nicole’s NYC Food and Drink Guide:
Best date place: Freeman’s like you’re in the middle of the country in an alley in New York. Great pork dishes, cocktails and spinach and artichoke dip.
Best cafe: Ruby’s for a burger and soy latte.
Best Chinese food: Shun Lee is up near the Lincoln Center. It’s gangster-like with old New York characters serving your food.
Bars with music: Pianos and The Living Room, both are in the Lower East Side.
You can find Trunfio Jewels at B_Space on Mulberry Street, NYC.