Entrepreneur, influencer, and model, Nicole Williams English has a worldwide stage on which to speak. What she says, what she does, what she wears, and most recently, what she sells, is absorbed by thousands. This could be daunting, but for Nicole, her reach is an opportunity to encourage others to be happy in body, mind, and spirit.
At the forefront of her efforts to spread happiness is her business Nia Lynn which will soon announce the release of its third and most ambitious collection. Nicole launched Nia Lynn as a luxury swimwear collection designed to help women find their true beauty through the exquisite suits. “I wanted to have a suit for the woman who wants to feel confident, sexy, risky, or conservative whether she’s an extra-small or triple X,” Nicole said. The idea for her business was sparked as she was doing body work, modeling swimsuits and lingerie, and realized how comfortable she felt in her own skin. She wanted to find a way for all women to have such confidence and to be happy with who they are.
Nicole has poured her heart and soul into Nia Lynn not only designing the suits and curating the perfect materials, but also researching production companies, manufacturers, and distribution factories to ensure the highest quality pieces. She relies on a steady stream of customer feedback to guide what she designs, which has meant expanding her range of sizes, adding some suits with more coverage, and playing more with colors. Nicole simply wants every woman to feel more beautiful and confident and believes her suits help women attain those feelings. Emboldened by her success so far, she plans to grow beyond swimsuits to accessories and loungewear. “Nia Lynn will be bigger than ever, I want to make it perfect, but I am so excited to drop this next phase very soon.”
While she is proving herself as a designer and an entrepreneur, Nicole has spent the majority of her career as a model—a career she aspired to from her early teen days. “My mom was a seamstress and made everything for us, from clothes and Halloween costumes, to curtains and bedcovers,” Nicole remembers. Learning to create clothes at her mother’s side and relishing in the wonder of seeing herself draped in something she made, that fit perfectly, sparked an early interest in fashion. That spark was further ignited as she obsessed over fashion magazines. Entranced by the glamorous clothes and exotic locales she saw on the pages, she decided at age 12 she wanted to be a model. Ever supportive, her mom enrolled her in modeling school—not an easy find in Newfoundland where the family lived. Realizing that a career probably couldn’t be launched easily where they were, the family picked up and moved to Toronto.
To say her career took off may be an understatement. At age 16, Nicole had a signed contract and moved to Taipei for two months. With two small boys at home, her mother could not go with her as most parents of younger models do, so Nicole was left in the care of the modeling agency. Her first campaign was for a blow-up inflatable chair that was sold in Wal-Mart. Seeing her on the boxes in their local store thrilled her family. That first taste of international modeling was all it took for a love to grow. She soon left for two months in Spain and from there began seeing the world. “I didn’t leave my mom for more than two months at a time. I missed her so much. But I saw so much growing up and experienced so much that has become part of who I am today,” Nicole said, adding that she encourages everyone to experience other cultures and learn the history of other countries.
When Nicole was old enough to have her own home-base she looked towards New York City as the obvious choice to keep growing her modeling career. After a start living in Brooklyn, she eventually found her home in an apartment by Liberty State Park in Jersey City. “I wanted to be close to Toronto and stay east. I thought I’d never leave that apartment.” But in her travels to the west coast for work, she met the man who would become her husband, former NFL player Larry English, and, maybe a bit reluctantly, became a west coast girl.
Her relationship with Larry launched a new side career for Nicole as she was approached to star in the E! series WAGS (an acronym for wives and girlfriends of high-profile sportspersons). Nicole said the modeling world was a bit leery at the time of reality television, but after three seasons she admits the show was responsible for skyrocketing her career both directly through the show and also by building her online followers who now number 2 million on Instagram. “I loved filming with my husband and close friends and think now maybe I should do my own show about juggling my career, my business, and my family. And also do something on traveling since travel makes me so happy,” she said.
Pursuing things that make her happy is all part of Nicole’s plan for better living. She is perhaps happiest when she’s connecting with her followers. As an influencer she is on Instagram daily posting tips she finds like using Tiger Balm to combat migraines, to sharing her endless supply of beautiful travel photos. “I like to make my followers feel they are coming somewhere with me. I am so humbled and grateful for my life and what I’m able to do and I want to share that. I respond to my DM’s. I love to because the reactions I get just melt my heart. They’ve made me what I am, and I just have to speak to them and make them feel good.”
Outside of her many connections, Nicole finds other ways to keep herself feeling good that go to more practical matters. Nicole is acutely aware that a model must keep up her appearance and no matter what genetics has provided this takes exercise and healthy eating. A trainer works with Nicole several times a week and she admits that she started to see signs of her body falling with each passing year so now is fully focused on combating any sagging. “I’ll do 100 sit-ups and use bands while I watch TV each night. Right now, I’m also trying to learn to do the splits, so I work on that nightly too,” she said.
Nicole eats a plant-based diet, having shunned meat for more than eight years now. Dairy has also been removed from her diet, but she loves healthy carbohydrates and embraces drinking tons of water. Water provides many health benefits including the skin which for Nicole is a top priority. She limits the makeup she wears when she isn’t working and when she does wear it, she never goes to sleep without first washing it all off. Essential oils, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and retinol are all part of her routine and she never skips sunscreen.
Looking good and feeling good are the building blocks to Nicole’s own happiness as is her focus to help make others feel good too. As she grows her reach through the expansion of Nia Lyn and tallying up more followers, she has become one person changing the lives of many for the better.