Model And Social Media Darling Rocky Barnes On Overcoming Fear Of Sacrificing Her Career

Fashion star and social media darling, Rocky is refreshingly real and pregnant with her first. 

Here, this sparkling mama-to-be sounds off about overcoming her fear of sacrificing her career to have a family, raising a boy as the roles of men (and women) shift, plus feeling empowered by other moms in the fashion industry, her bump style, spicy margaritas, and avoiding pregnancy books. @rockybarnes

Current state of mind?

We’re in the home stretch, and I feel great. I know everyone has such different experiences, but mine has been relatively easy so far and I’ve stayed active throughout the pregnancy. Interestingly my mom describes her pregnancy with me as being similar. She also had a ton of energy. My parents bought a house in Manhattan Beach just before I was born, and my dad likes to recall how my mom was helping remodel the kitchen and lay tiles at eight months pregnant! Perhaps the way we carry is genetic?

Road to pregnancy?

We were married in September of 2018 and ready to start a family — Matt especially! After having been on the pill for fifteen years, I went off birth control last Spring, assuming it would take at least six months to a year to get pregnant. However, that was not the case. A few weeks after we pulled the goalie and closed on buying our first home in LA together, we found out I was pregnant while hiking Mount Toubkal in Morocco. 

I was winded and exhausted the entire time. Considering I’m typically full of energy, I didn’t understand why. Unbeknownst to me, I was eight weeks pregnant and had no clue! I never even got my period back — it’s been nearly fifteen years since I’ve had it!

Were you nervous about becoming a working mom?

The truth is, timing is never perfect for changing your entire life. There’s always another job or another trip and I struggled with this for years as a model. However, at 34 years old, I’ve worked hard, traveled all over the world, and hit significant milestones. I’m confident with where I’m at in my career and ready to start our family. 

I was married before, years ago, and we never had kids because I wanted to establish myself in my career. At the time, I worried that having a baby would affect whether I’d be booked for a job or not. In my industry, you overhear people saying things like, “she’s a mom now,” as if she’s lost her sex appeal or youth.

That said, the tone seems to be changing with Ashley Graham pregnant on the cover of Vogue, along with so many other influential mother figures featured in fashion. It’s empowering to see and has made me understand that I can do it all, and in fact, I don’t have to sacrifice my job to have a family. I feel fortunate to be having a baby now, as the conversation is shifting.

Boy or girl?

We’re having a boy! Matt, of course, was over the moon when we found this out, “my legacy!” Not gonna lie, I was a little bummed as I initially wanted a little girl (hello, cute mommy & me outfits!). But truthfully, my only concern is that we have a healthy baby, no matter if it’s a boy or girl. 

My brother has a three-year-old born with Digeorge syndrome and congenital heart defects. He was admitted to the hospital for the first year of his life and we almost lost him a few times! He’s a miracle baby. Having gone through this with my brother made me realize how special it is to have a healthy baby.

Thoughts on raising a boy these days?

Oh ya, men are in the shitter for sure. It feels like a lose-lose situation. The balance and social expectations for boys have become more complicated, with no clear definitions. Traditional roles of males (and females) are changing. Girls want everything these days. They want their men to be masculine and take control, but they also want them to be fair and equal. They want them to be hard and soft at the same time. It’s so tricky. 

As we raise our boy, I’m going to let Matt lead by example. He’s a “boys’ boy” with a soft spot, strong yet in touch with his emotions and empathetic towards others, which I love. I’m hoping our little guy will take after him.

Has your style changed with pregnancy?

Yes! I miss high-waist everything! That’s all I wore before pregnancy, and of course, my vintage Levis were the first thing to go. Other than that, my style has not suffered. It’s fun to find clothes that work with my changing body and still look cute. 

Recently I have been into enhancing the bump rather than hiding it. I’d say my maternity style is “showing it off” as I love seeing people’s reactions when they notice I’m pregnant. Before it got so cold, I was living in slip dresses, which worked surprisingly well with the bump because they’re cut on the bias. 

Now that it’s winter, my go-to has been stretchy knit dresses worn with boots and a cute jacket. However, this is my first New York winter, and I’m pregnant, so we’ll see how it plays out! 

Honestly, the hardest part has been bending over to put my shoes on. Whether I can get my shoes on or off quickly has become the deciding factor for what I wear these days. Women don’t think about the shoe thing beforehand, but not being able to bend over and put shoes on is a big deal! 

Any cravings?

Heavy on the carbs! More than cravings, I’ve had aversions. For a while, chicken and fish weirded me out, followed by a period where I only wanted burgers which quickly transitioned into pasta-everything. 

At some point, I worried I was not getting enough protein, so I went to a nutritionist. I was tested for food sensitivities, and it turns out I have a massive sensitivity to gluten and shrimp. Which, of course, I had been living on pasta with grilled shrimp! Perhaps, I ate my way into this allergy. Or, maybe I’ve been allergic forever, and I’m living at a lower efficiency level. Who knows!

Also, I have a massive sweet tooth now which I never did before, but then again, I’ve never gone this long without tequila. I think I’m replacing the sugar in tequila with cookies!

First thing you want post-pregnancy?

Spicy margaritas! And sushi. I’ve had a couple of bites of sushi here and there, but I’m looking forward to indulging and not feeling guilty. For example, last week, the waitress at Bond Street in New York (which is a super high-end sushi place), did a double-take when I ordered a tuna roll. She politely said, “You know it’s raw fish, and you shouldn’t have that.” Yes, thank you. I know. Everyone has an opinion, especially now that I’m showing.

What has been your wellness routine?

I’m super blissed out; it’s wild! Everything that used to stress me out, doesn’t. A sense of calm has washed over me with pregnancy, and I love it. 

Plus, as mentioned, I went to see Doctor Nancy in Beverly Hills — she’s an internalist and a nutritionist. Along with understanding my food sensitivities, I wanted to know what vitamins I was lacking since I was eating so many carbs and nervous that I was deficient. Apparently I was super low on B-12, omegas, vitamin A, and vitamin C because I wasn’t eating enough protein. Powered with that information, I was able to supplement appropriately. Now that I’m in my third trimester, I feel energized and have traveled all over throughout my pregnancy. I believe this has a lot to do with proper nutrition. 

She also helped me find the right balance in my diet and healthy alternatives for cravings. For example, I love eating Cheese-Its, so instead, she suggested I eat little squares of hard cheese. Also, since I wasn’t eating enough protein and only wanted carbs, she has me eating rice and beans together, which creates a complete protein. Lastly, I wasn’t sleeping well, so she gave me a magnesium supplement. These subtle little tweaks have made an enormous difference.

Will you travel with your baby?

It’s part of our lives. Matt and I both love traveling, and while we may cut back a bit, in the beginning, we certainly won’t stop. I traveled a lot growing up and want to do the same with our son — we plan to take full advantage of his free fare before he’s two-years-old. This summer we have two weddings in Italy a couple weeks apart so we’re thinking to stay in Italy for the month rather than fly back and forth with the baby. We’re renting a place in Puglia and chilling out as a new little family. I can’t wait!

Tips for traveling while pregnant?

We’ve been all over the place over the last eight months from Mexico to London, New York, LA, Miami, and Sicily. The key to pregnancy-travel is making sure you have all your creature comforts with you. I brought my pregnancy pillow with me on the road because I couldn’t sleep otherwise. It’s enormous, but important. Also, I always pack snacks!

Any advice to share?

Embrace the little things.

So much of this experience is mental. For me, embracing pregnancy and taking the time to enjoy the process versus focusing on the negative has made a world of difference in how I feel. Of course, my pants don’t fit, I’ve gained weight, I can’t do everything I used to or go out partying with my friends but finding the beauty in the little things has been incredible. 

Also, find your tribe.

I’ve leaned on my girlfriends with babies for support. I feel there’s an unspoken bond and understanding when you have kids. Without them, I would have felt isolated. Plus, since I chose not to read any pregnancy books, I’ve been able to pick their brains as my go-to guides for information. Also, being around babies has helped familiarize me with the process by assisting my friends with feeding and burping. Doing this has made me comfortable and removed any fear of the unknown. After all, what better way to learn than “on-the-job training?” Something a book will never give you.