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As charming as she is stylish, Tori Praver, model and founder of Tori Praver Swimwear grew up surfing and beach bumming in Hawaii before becoming a model for the likes of Sports Illustrated, Guess and Billabong! Now living in LA, she is mama to Ryan, an adorable three year old little girl with a boy on the way! Join us for a morning spent in sunny LA with the loveliest Tori chatting about how she met her long-time boyfriend turned hubby – on a blind date(!), her dream job when she was a kid, plus a few key pregnancy beauty tips. @toripraver @toripraverswimwear

Photos: Vanessa Tierney @vanessatierneyphotoMINIMODE-TORI-PRAVER-02

On getting your start as a model: I actually had a few starts… I was originally discovered when I was 13 and moved to NY to start modeling but wasn’t ready for it, so I went back to Hawaii to regroup and finish school. At 17 I returned and this time, I loved it! I was also fortunate enough that my first major job was a campaign for the Gap shot by Ellen von Unwerth. By 18, I was modeling full time and have been ever since. It’s only after I had Ryan that I began to slow down and take less jobs as I no longer wanted to travel as much –  although from time to time, I still model.

Most memorable ‘on-set’ experience while modeling: There have been so many crazy adventures, although there are a few that really take the cake! The time I shot a lingerie campaign outdoors in Iceland – think no clothes and freezing temperatures, all the while managing to look “not cold” on camera – basically next to impossible(!). And then time was the time we shot Sports Illustrated at Graceland – yes Elvis’ house. It was a pretty big deal as it was the first time they ever let anyone shoot in there – I’m pretty certain that if he were alive, he would have been into it. 😉

I look back at my passport from all the years and I’m blown away by the amount of stamps in it… so much so that a number of times, I even had to get pages added to create more space! I’m so fortunate to have seen the world this way, it’s been a ride.

On launching a swimwear line and the the inspiration behind it: I grew up in Hawaii and basically lived in bikinis, therefore as you can imagine swimwear was something that felt very natural. So, for some time I dreamed of creating a line of my own but truly I thought it would be years down the road, long after modeling and perhaps even after I had a few kids. However over time, I told so many people of my idea and everyone from editors to stylist to designers and they all encouraged me not to wait – so, I just went ahead and did it! That was about 7 years ago.

When it comes to inspiration, I have to be honest it’s really challenging to stay relevant and find inspiration for swim each year – there are only so many bikinis that you can really design – therefore it requires digging deep to be innovative. Plus, there are so many brands out there now it’s become harder than it used to be. But! I love it and it’s something that I invest a lot of time into making sure that we are different and stay on top of what is current in fashion.

We added the apparel piece as coverups because they kind of go hand in hand with swim – it rounds out the brand and it’s what our customer wants. We aim to please! We also launched kids, which I LOVE and has been super fun.  

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MINIMODE-TORI-PRAVER-07MINIMODE-TORI-PRAVER-11MINIMODE-TORI-PRAVER-10On surfing and teaching your kids: I grew up surfing and my husband is a pro surfer – we’re a big beach/ocean family. Ryan is a great swimmer and learned when she was 1.5 years old. We all love the ocean but funny enough she is protesting a bit on the surfing front these days, I’m hoping it’s just a phase. Truly, it’s the best to teach them at this age, because there is no fear and their balance is so strong. 

On life in Hawaii: I grew up in Maui and my husband is from Kauai. We planned to move back for years and definitely I would have thought we’d be back there by now. But the reality is, we don’t know what we would do in Hawaii. For the time being, we are staying put because the opportunities we have here in LA would be hard to come by there. And as it is, my husband lives in Hawaii from October through February, so we usually spend a month or so there and then he travels back and forth to LA during that time. I don’t know what it’s going to be like with 2 kids, but so far we take Ryan with us everywhere. She has been all over the country and the world for that matter – she’s been to Bali and Mexico – she’s seen a lot of places. I think this is important to expose your children to different cultures, but who knows if we will be able to continue this way once we have two kids in toe… stay tuned!

On meeting your husband and how he proposed: We were set up by a friend, kind of like a blind date. He was 23 and I was 18. It was super awkward, but we both knew that we liked each other. We started to date and shortly after that I moved with him to California and we have been together ever since.

He proposed in the morning on the mountain top at Whistler while it was snowing… it was magic! And then we sped down the mountain to announce it to our friends. We spent the day partying and celebrating all together!

We got married in Hawaii 2 years ago. Ryan was seven months old and at our wedding, so cute. It was perfect.

On complimenting each other as parents: He’s a great dad! He’s super hands on and Ryan has so much respect for him, which is really important since he’s traveling often. She also definitely has a little more fear – she listens to him more than me for sure!

On naming your kids: Ryan was named after my brother. I love boys names for girls. I’m still struggling to figure out a name for our little boy on the way. Boys names are much more difficult.

On being a role model to your kids: Mostly I want to instill in her kindness and to be a good person, especially at her age, I feel like this is the foundation for everything else. And as far as Ryan is concerned, I want her to grow up to be independent and strong. It’s important for me to show her that she is capable.

Advice those looking to start their own fashion business: Don’t do it on your own – find a solid partner that compliments you. If you’re a creative than find a partner strong in business/logistics or vice versa.

As a kid, you wanted to be: A whale trainer at Sea World. It was my dream for many years and then once I found out how much schooling it would require to become a marine biologist, I had to rethink my plan.

3 quick pregnancy style secrets/tricks to transform your look while pregnant: First, find pieces that hug your belly as I think it’s more flattering rather than loose silhouettes.

Seeing as I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, I would say a great pair of maternity jeans is a must! I love the Citizens of Humanity jeans, they have been a ‘go-to’ for me throughout my first and second pregnancy.

Also, shoes are your best friend when you’re pregnant, because they always fit… any accessory for that matter.

During my first pregnancy I bought all the expensive pregnancy clothes, however, now with the  second, I’m being super practical and shopping from the Gap and H&M. I realized with the first that it’s such a short period of time you wear these pieces, ultimately it doesn’t really matter – so I think it’s import to keep that in perspective. And bottom line, comfort is key.

Wearing throughout pregnancy: Citizens of humanity makes amazing maternity jeans – I’ve been living in them. My vintage rock tees – because they are oversized and still cute. I’ve been wearing a lot of caftans from my brand as well.

Loved her pregnancy style: I remember seeing Giselle pregnant and loving her style! Super simple, jeans, tees, lots of bikinis and sun dresses. Very ‘my vibe’ when I’m pregnant.

On ‘Mommy and me’ dressing… Yay or nay?: Love it Obvi!… just look at my insta 🙂  Although, it kind of freaks me out when you see a whole family dressed alike, but I do encourage a cute mommy and me moment.

Every women should own: An amazing black leather jacket. – This one is a staple for sure.

A great pair of black heels. – I love this simple pair I have from Celine..

And the perfect little black bikini – We make one, the Kalani bikini

Your teenage style was: Casual. Bikini.

On beauty tricks that instantly refresh your look, especially for moms-on-the-go: I wish I knew some more… do you have any? 😉 Since I’m pregnant, I can’t use anything with chemicals so my alternative for washing my face is a solution made from witch hazel + tea tree oil + distilled water. I mix the three together in my hand on the spot. And this one is not new, but drinking lots water definitely works to encourage the glow.

A beauty/health discovery for pregnant women: I love this body oil called Mother’s Special Blend- it’s a mix of almond oil, coconut oil, coco butter and vitamin E. I swear by it and have used it for both of my pregnancies to prevent stretch marks.

The start and end of each day: Ryan wakes me up. She literally takes my eyelids and opens them and says “Mom! Open your eyes!” She sleeps until 7ish, which isn’t so bad, but I’m a night owl so it feels early nonetheless. After she gets me up, we have our little routine – I make her breakfast, take her to school, and then I go to yoga.

We end the day with dinner at home, together as a family, provided we are all in town. This can be a challenge at times with both our travel schedules but we make this a priority whenever possible.

On fitness during and after pregnancy: While pregnant, I do yoga 3 days a week and from time to time I go to Soul Cycle – if I have the energy. Also we live really close to the beach so I try to walk a lot as well. And post pregnancy – once I have the energy back – I will likely do more of the same but probably add in core strengthening with things like pilates.

Favorite kids brands: Tori Praver Swimwear, Zara Baby/Kids, Jens Pirate Booty, Nununu, Freshly Picked and Loveshackfancy x Romy and the Bunnies.
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