A Model and Her Mini Me Share Their Charming Hometown Just Outside NYC



We asked the rad ladies behind OHK to identify five women they admire to take us on a spin around their neighborhoods. Next up is Mikaela Simila, with her daughter, Lux, shot by Lucka Ngo in Montclair, NJ.

Model and mama, Mikaela Simila lives just a hop, skip, and jump from NYC in charming Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, Diego, and their two-year-old daughter Lux (with another little on the way). For the ethereal Simila, life outside the city, which she left three years ago, is simple and joyful, focused on celebrating small pleasures: fresh berries at the farmers market, autumn leaves fallen in the park, a cup of hot chocolate and vegan cookies at their neighborhood coffee spot (she’s all about that plant-based diet). Come spend a day with us hanging with Mikaela and her mini me Lux, as she shares her best advice for new moms, a few of her favorite places in her beloved Montclair, and the sneakers she and Lux can always be found twinning in.


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You lived in New York City for several years before moving to Montclair. What lured you to NYC originally?

“I’m originally from Seattle and I moved to New York mainly to pursue a modeling career. It was a lot to take in all at once, as you can imagine, but so amazing.”

Was New York everything you dreamed it would be?

“It was more. New York City is like no other place on the planet and I fell in love hard and fast. The city forces you to develop grit real quick but also gives you the freedom and space to discover your own style.”



“I think motherhood has made me less urban. Or maybe I always have been and it’s just brought that out of me.”

  • Mikaela Simila

Fast forward several years: You’re now married and a young mom living in Montclair, NJ, just outside of New York. How has that transition been?

“It felt really organic. We moved to Montclair because it’s only a 30-minute commute to the city and we were both still working in the city when we moved. There’s so much space. And I love not having to take a subway to get groceries. Not to say I don’t miss the city from time to time, but living among trees suits our family better. I think motherhood has made me less urban. Or maybe I always have been and it’s just brought that out of me.”

It sounds so lovely! What kind of house did you guys move into?

“It’s an adorable split-level home, designed and built by the owners before us. It’s spacious and allows us to keep our doors wide open, figuratively speaking. We love it!”



You make motherhood look effortless, but surely that’s not always the case! For all the new moms out there, what’s the one piece of advice you’d like give to them?

“Oh man. I get Mom-guilt so bad sometimes. It’s easy to put crazy pressure on yourself because raising a human is an extremely important job. Everyone has an opinion and it can feel like you’re doing it all wrong sometimes, but at the end of the day you know your kid and you know what they need. Just listen to your gut. And I’ve learned that she watches everything I do, so I’m trying to walk out those daily decisions with more confidence and ease and model that security for her. These days are fleeting and I love soaking them up.”

How has your style changed since becoming a mom?

“It hasn’t really. But I do think I subconsciously coordinate our outfits!”

We love all the dynamic duo photos with you and Lux. What are some go-to sneakers we can catch you guys in?

“We’re always matching in our Cons. Or some colorful Vans.”



“In middle school I would often wear two different-colored Converse, like purple and green. Maybe I should bring it back!”

  • Mikaela Simila

Did you wear sneakers as a kid?

“In middle school I would often wear two different-colored Converse, like purple and green. Maybe I should bring it back!”

You should! How do you tend to style them now?

“I love pairing sneakers with a vintage boho dress.”

What are some of your favorite ways to spend your time?

“I’m always thrifting or experimenting in my kitchen. In the spring and summer we’re at the beach almost daily.”


Mikaela’s Recs for a Good Time in Montclair

Breakfast for me means vegan pancakes with Lux at Le Salbuen. They do them in the shape of an animal, which is amazing.

I get caffeinated at The Local. Though I don’t drink coffee much these days and if I do it’s a decaf almond milk latte. Lately it’s been a hot chocolate, they make it with 100% dark chocolate and it’s heaven!!

The shops I never pass up are Parcel for whimsical vintage stationary or decor. Lux’s room is full of little finds from here. And Dot Reeder for natural makeup, candles, and perfume.

When I want to get outside Lux loves running around Brookdale Park.

I always love a glass of red at Halcyon.

I always hit the farmers market for a bouquet of wild flowers and a huge bunch of kale. In the summer I love stocking up on berries.

On Sunday mornings you’ll find me at church.

When I’m in need of an art fix I head to the Montclair Art Museum. They just had a Matisse exhibit.

The best bookstore is Watchung Booksellers, a cute little hole-in-the-wall with a cafe attached.

My dinner go-to is Dai-Kichi and I always order the avocado, cucumber, and sweet-potato rolls.

For live music I always go to the city! Too close not to!

When they visit, friends from the city come for the nature.

The place we always take guests is the beach in summer and local farms in the fall. And spend a lot of time around our table in the winter eating and playing cards.


Mikaela’s ONES

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Written by Kelly Lack. Photos by Lucka Ngo.


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