SUPERMODEL DEVON WINDSOR ON STAYING REAL, BALANCING BUSINESS AND PERSONAL LIFE AND CONQUERING HER ULTIMATE DREAM JOB: MOTHERHOOD.
Norma Kamali black two-piece bathing suit, normakamali.com
Versace full look, versace.com
It's one of those idyllic Miami Saturdays when the sun is shining high and there is not a single cloud in the sky. We’re situated at a breathtaking waterfront property in Miami’s private Key Biscayne neighborhood, listening to the sounds of the soft waves as the trees gently blow in the breeze. Approaching with big smiles and palpable warm energy is our photographer-model, husband-wife duo—power couple extraordinaire Jonathan Barbara and Devon Windsor. Radiantly glowing, the naturally beautiful Windsor is casually dressed for glam with general ease as she greets the crew. What you may not know upon glancing at her is that she is actually four months pregnant with her first baby. If she hadn’t dropped the news of her and Barbara’s growing family just a few weeks prior, it would have been nearly impossible to tell. Even more, Windsor’s work ethic is unwavering. She comes in with an excited, ready-to-work attitude, while her husband simultaneously goes into full creative director mode, bringing his vision to fruition.
The two have a complementary dynamic, each easing into their individual roles while interjecting only briefly to enhance each other’s jobs.
“Hair dry or wet? Extensions or no extensions?” our hair guru Gianluca Mandelli ponders with Windsor and the crew. Easygoing as ever, Windsor shrugs her shoulders. “Whatever you think is best is fine with me,” she says. “Johnny?”
“Wet. Absolutely,” Barbara asserts without a trace of doubt. Decisive and efficient, Barbara gives his input into each look to tell the story. “I know my wife,” he says with a proud grin.
It’s evident within the first 30 minutes of meeting the two that they are the embodiment of true soulmates—while each is extraordinarily gifted in their own right, they are unstoppable together. Before COVID-19, they had only worked together on the sidelines, but when the world went into lockdown, they were forced to get creative.
“It was a happy accident, honestly,” shares Windsor. “He is so talented, and it kind of came out of nowhere. Last summer, we needed a photographer and couldn’t shoot as normal due to the restrictions. We shot our first campaign with Guy Aroch, which came out amazing, and I never dreamed I would be using him for anything. But after, Johnny stepped up and the opportunity really let him capitalize on all of his camera and photography dreams. He shot the campaign, and it came out incredible.”
Chanel full look, chanel.com
Barbara serves as not only the CEO and art director of his own womenswear brand, Alexis, but also the CEO and art director of the Devon Windsor brand, which originated with just swimwear and has rapidly grown to include resortwear, sports and activewear, and accessories from headscarves to sunglasses and bags. DW Swim also features men’s swimwear and shirts.
Serving as the founder, designer and owner of the namesake brand, Windsor oversees the process from start to finish. Pulling inspiration from her travels, her personal style of the moment and trend forecasts for the upcoming six to 12 months, Windsor designs each drop with a different vision in mind.
“I feel like committing to one theme is too difficult and restrictive. When I’m designing each drop, I like to include different styles for each body type with different colors, textures or patterns,” she notes. “Our first drop in May is more spring-oriented, and the other is more summer. Both are completely different. The first has some animal prints and tweed-inspired patterns with creams, natural tones, blacks, golds—that kind of vibe. In summer, we have some floral and bright colors. I feel like everyone loves a little color in the summer.”
She models a few standout pieces during the shoot to showcase the vibrancy of the collection, one in a beautiful rust tone and the other in an eye-catching cobalt blue. “Perfect with a summer tan,” she notes with a smile.
She also wants to ensure her offerings are inclusive of all sizes of women, styles and body types.
“We have something for the young girl who wants to be sexy, or the more reserved woman who wants to feel more covered or conservative, a busty woman or someone more flat-chested. I try to make it so I cover all of our bases, rather than focus on one theme that would only work for one type of woman,” she says.
Before finalizing the designs, she works on perfecting the samples with her team in person.
“Fit is one of the most important elements of swimwear because it needs to hug your body in all the right places and there are so many different body types, so we try the styles on all different people with varying body types—mostly right here in the [Miami] office.”
Her trend forecast for the upcoming swim season is reflected throughout her summer drop.
“I think colors and patterns are going to be major—I don’t want to say they’re having a comeback because I’ve always loved both patterns and colors in swimwear, but I feel like this season especially everyone is gravitating toward bold, bright colors: oranges, bright blues and fun prints—animal prints for me are never out of style. So that is what I based the collection on.”
Fatefully timed with the announcement of her pregnancy, Windsor also collaborated with Barbara’s brand, Alexis, for an adorable mommy-and-me collection. While it may have seemed to be planned to perfection, Windsor boils it down to just really good luck.
“I wish I could get pregnant in December and then launch this collection just four months later!” she says with a laugh. “This had actually been happening for, like, a year. It was so much fun, though. I die for those little kids’ clothes because I think they’re literally the cutest thing ever, so definitely in the future I would love to dabble more in that concept with the Devon Windsor brand. Especially now that I’m going to have this little nugget—[she’s] going to have to be well-dressed!”
A few weeks following our conversation and our shoot, Windsor shared her gender reveal video where she and Barbara revealed that they were expecting a baby girl—poised to be the best-dressed toddler on the playground, no doubt.
While Windsor has been preparing for her biggest role yet—motherhood—she’s taken us on the journey with her every step of the way. Priding herself on authenticity, whether in-person or through a lens on social media, she’s given us a glimpse of the good, the bad and the day-to-day monotony.
“I’ve always thought it was important to be real, and honestly, I don’t like to paint too perfect of a picture,” she shares. “Obviously, that’s what social media is—it’s showing the best parts of our lives— but I think if there is a time and place that I can be honest or say how I’m feeling, or if I’m having a bad day, or not feeling well, or struggling with my skin as I have been for the past few months, I think it’s a reassuring thing for my audience to know.”
If you follow Windsor on social media, you know that this is true. While you’ll glimpse her fun, silly side, her at-home cooking videos or her covetable outfits of the day, you’ll also view her no-filter, no-makeup self, discussing her battles with her skin and other aspects of her appearance that make her self-conscious.
“I like to normalize the conversation and humanize myself, because people look at models or celebrities and think we’re all perfect, we have no flaws or struggles, and it’s easy to think that, but it’s powerful to open up and show young girls, especially, that we are all human and we all have our own struggles,” she shares. “It is for all of these young girls that need to feel like they aren’t alone in their struggles and insecurities—that is the most important part.”
While she notes that there are and always will be haters on the internet who have something negative to say or comment on, she glazes over the hate.
“I do what I want every day and sometimes I come on stories with no filter and I’m like, ‘This what I look like all the time,’ but other days I want to put makeup on, or a filter on my skin, and that is normal too. I would love to get to a point where I don’t feel the need to do that because I think that would be amazing, but I am still human. It’s a balance of what to share, how to share and to balance your personal life.”
For example, while she thrives in front of the camera, her husband, Johnny, prefers to stay behind the lens.
“He hates social media. Sometimes I beg him to be in my YouTube videos, and he obliges, but he has his limits and I respect that. Everyone has a right to that. I feel the good of sharing outweighs the negative, and for the haters, I am so unaffected. I can deal with it.”
Norma Kamali black two-piece bathing suit, normakamali.com
Outside of her typical workouts, which she often showcases, including flows and Pilates, she also finds respite in cooking at home and self-care practices including face masks, bubble baths or meditation. At the end of the day, her number-one method of self-love and destressing is surrounding herself with those who love her most.
“I’ve learned to appreciate each moment every day, and I’ve never spent so much time with my family, my husband and my friends,” she says.
She keeps her work and personal life close in the family, with her husband and sister both part of the Devon Windsor team.
“I can’t imagine launching my brand with anyone else,” she says of her sister, Alex, who moved to Miami to join the team. “To have someone be there and be dedicated, to think how I think, to have someone be honest with me—that is so important, especially when you’re starting your own business. A friend would never tell you what she will tell me, and the same goes for working with my husband. Nobody’s going to give advice or be as honest as your own family, so it’s a good balancing board,” she says. “It’s not always easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
As for what’s next for Windsor—she seems to have mastered it all at just 27 years old, between a devoted husband, close-knit family, wildly successful modeling career and now her own fashion brand—she’s looking down at her growing belly.
“My lifelong goal has always been to be a mom,” she asserts. “I think it’s possible to still be a boss woman and a mom. That’s the ultimate job. I look at women like Gisele [Bündchen] or Heidi Klum, Lily Aldridge, and admire women who have families and can balance work life and home life.
“There is this weird stigma that if you have kids, your career goes down the drain, and I think every year we prove more and more how we can do it all, and that’s just the coolest thing.”
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN BARBARA; LOCATION HOME PRESENTED BY BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES EWM REALTY AT 610 MASHTA DRIVE, KEY BISCAYNE. LISTING PRICE: $16 MILLION. AGENT: MARIA DEL CARMEN ESCOLAR, 786.213.5919