Supermodels Ashley Graham and Karlie Kloss Share the Toughest (and Easiest) Parts of New Motherhood

Photo: Courtesy of Coterie/W+G Creative
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Supermodels Ashley Graham and Karlie Kloss are real-life friends who have navigated various life stages together, including their modeling careers and their biggest jobs ever—being parents. In fact, it's through the latter role of motherhood that they've deepened their bond, growing closer amid the highs and lows of becoming moms just a couple years apart.

Graham, who has a three-year-old son and one-year-old twin sons, and Kloss, who has a two-year-old son, have also joined forces as investors and ambassadors in Coterie, a direct-to-consumer baby product company known for its soft, leak-resistant diapers and plant-based wipes.

In collaboration with the brand and in honor of their new campaign, Graham and Kloss spoke with Well+Good about how their friendship has informed their parenting, the most challenging parts of new motherhood, and the benefits of having each other—another new mom who gets it—to lean on for support.

Well+Good: How has your friendship helped you navigate motherhood?

Karlie Kloss: Ashley has saved me all the struggles, and she’s been such a guiding light on the path to being a new mom. She normalizes this path by sharing so many of both the beautiful moments and the challenging moments. That really helped prepare me. It’s overwhelming at times, but it’s also such a beautiful chapter of life, and it makes it even more special to go through it with people like that.

Ashley Graham: It’s just nice to know I can call Karlie and that I have access to somebody who I would take advice from for [anything]. That’s kind of what you need when you become a new mom, to have those outlets that aren’t family or your partner...someone who has a sound mind and can give you some great advice.

W+G: What's the best thing you've learned from your other parent friends?

AG: A lot of my questions were scheduling questions, because for me, if I don’t have a schedule, I feel so chaotic and not productive. I know that if I’m not productive, it’s not going to be good for my mental state. I’ve especially leaned on my friends who have a lot of kids because when you add two and three, it’s like, holy smokes—how does this work?

KK: Ashley, yet again you’re paving the path for me. Someday, you can just give me the Cliffs Notes on how you do this. My advice is to find a friend like Ashley who is just slightly ahead [in terms of experience in parenting].

W+G: Ashley, you have a set of twins. What's that like, and what has having twins taught you about parenting?

AG: It was probably harder when they were really little because I was so much more sleep-deprived, but it’s easier now that everybody is sleeping and on a schedule. These days, it’s just a constant playdate. I don’t necessarily have to call anyone for my kids to socialize, and that is such a blessing now because they are one another’s entertainment.

A series of Polaroid photographs showing models Karlie Kloss and Ashley Graham.
Photo: Courtesy of Coterie

W+G: What is the hardest thing no one told you about parenthood? What is the most effortless thing?

AG: For me, the most effortless part is just getting on the floor and playing. I love it—I just like getting on the floor, being a dinosaur, and building those LEGOs. It does get exhausting, but it’s still the most effortless part of parenting [for me] because I like that childlike play. The hardest part is probably waking up every freaking morning at 6:30 a.m. so I can have a little bit of me-time before all the little dudes wake up and start begging for food.

KK: It’s so funny because this is exactly where the difference between one and three [kids] is. With one, now that my son is sleeping through the night and I’m also getting sleep, I wake up every morning so giddy to run to his room and scoop him up out of bed. It feels like such a gift. The most effortless thing is the same thing.

During the pandemic, when I was pregnant, I had time to read the books and do the prep, and I think there’s only so much you can really prepare for this chapter of life and how much you grow, as well. I’ve found that there is something really instinctual in this experience, but I’ve been surprised about how natural I feel knowing in my gut about what feels right and what doesn’t for him. It’s not coming out of a book, and it’s not going to come from family members or unsolicited opinions. Ashley is somebody who has reinforced that confidence [I have in myself].

W+G: If you could go back in time before having your first child and tell yourself one thing about parenthood, what would you say?

KK: I would say, don’t be in a rush to figure it all out—and enjoy the moment.

This interview’s been edited for length and clarity. 

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