Cover Story: Nico Bolzico and Solenn Heussaff On Love, Life, And Their Daughter, Thylane
It is picture-perfect. Nico Bolzico and Solenn Heussaff Bolzico, glamorous and successful and now first-time parents, sit casually and comfortably on the sofa, while daughter Thylane Katana or Thylane for short, is happy with her toys in her playpen. Nine years of togetherness have brought them here today.
“I think neither of us was looking for anything serious,” Bolzico starts, speaking on their initial meeting in 2011. Heussaff agrees. “It actually started as a fling because Nico was set to be based in another country after three months, but then he fell in love with me,” she shares. “Actually," Bolzico interjects, smiling, “Solenn fell in love with me first.”
The couple’s relationship, prominently featured online, has always been fun to follow. Together with Thylane and their roster of Instagram-famous pets—the dog Pochola, the cat El Gato and the tortoises Patato and Pechuga—the Bolzicos project the image of a perfect family. Yet, the two admit that much like everyone else, their lives, and their relationship, are far from perfect. “Every day, [you have to make an] effort in order to be able to have a successful marriage,” Bolzico shares. “It’s a bit of hard work, right? Enjoyable hard work but still, you cannot let yourself go.”
Heussaff’s view on their dynamic is also refreshing, especially at a time when “co-dependency” and “toxic” have become common throwaway words. Heussaff shares that the secret to their compatibility lies in their own individuality. “The reason why it still works with Nico and I is that whoever I was or whoever he was before we married is still pretty much the same person [we are today]. We’ve had to compromise on certain things, but nothing changed [about] who we are as people.”
Now four years married, the couple have a ten-month old daughter, the apple of their eye, and a sweet manifestation of some of their best traits. “We expect Thylane to get the same talents as Solenn: painting, singing, the whole right side of her brain,” Nico jokes. Heussaff, on the other hand, says that Thylane is “literally Nico”. She shares, “She’s all over the place, she’s loud. She eats a lot.”
If there is one thing both mum and dad agree on, however, is that Thylane has been a huge blessing in their lives. Heussaff, who has been open about her difficult pregnancy, had appointments at the hospital once a week during the last four months of her term. There were sacrifices and painful treatments, all of which the couple went through together. “I think we have found a deeper appreciation of one another [because of that]. I’ve always respected [Nico] but now when I see him with Thylane, I know that I made the right choice marrying him. He’s such a great father: he’s so good with her and he’s so good with me,” Heussaff says. She also shares that going through those stressful circumstances made her want to be more hands-on as a mother. “[The experience] made me stronger as a mum. I’m willing to give up way more than I probably would have if I had an easier pregnancy,” she shares.
Thylane, born 1 January 2020, is a healthy, bouncing baby. Having come into the world at the beginning of the year, Bolzico and Heussaff were spared from having to deliver a child during a pandemic. Yet, the new parents are not exempt from the anxiety that surrounds the times. “It is a mix of emotions,” Heussaff muses. “When [the pandemic] first started, obviously, we were both like, ‘What kind of world are we bringing our daughter into?’ But you know, there is a silver lining to this whole thing. We really got to spend time together and get to know Thylane and witness all her milestones.”
Now that both of Thylane’s parents, who are often so busy with work, are sheltering at home, there has been more time to focus on parenting. But as with most new mums and dads, the two have had their fair share of doubts.
“We were so scared to be parents,” Bolzico shares. “We didn’t know what it was about. Are we ready? Are we good enough? There are a lot of questions that we still have no answer to. But I’m sure that when the time comes, [we] will know the right thing to do.”
The couple also expound on their style of parenting by reminiscing on their childhood experiences. Coming from Western backgrounds, Bolzico (who is Argentinian) and Heussaff (who is half-Filipino and half-French) both admit to adhering to a more relaxed style of parenting. In fact, their philosophy is straightforward. “We want
her to be happy and a good person. That’s it. The rest is secondary,” Bolzico says. Thylane’s mother agrees, noting that they want to guide their child, without imposing too much on her.
Of course, it’s important for both of them that Thylane learns the value of respect—how to treat people properly, and how to succeed in life without stepping on others. Staying humble is also important for Bolzico, as is learning how to be independent. “Be yourself, don’t be forced to do anything you don’t want to, and be a good person. I think that’s all,” Thylane’s father says.
Bolzico, a multi-hyphenate in his own right, also stresses the importance of hard work. “I grew up in the farm,” he says. “[I was] surrounded by hard work.” Taking a cue from his childhood, Bolzico attests that the best way to teach your child is through example. “[My parents] always pushed me to study. They knew how important it was, so they focused on that. They always explained [why it was important], and they always tried to show [me] why [I] should do it and why they couldn’t. [They were] showing or leading [by example].”
With such relatable values, it’s easy to see why Bolzico and Heussaff are so popular. Under the scrutiny of social media and show business, the pair seem to have passed the test—they are likeable, relatable and without pretension. As people involved in media, this type of genuineness can be hard to come by. “We don’t want to mislead people as to the kind of life we have,” Heussaff explains. “If you see any of our posts, we’re very much organic. I don’t curate my feed, I don’t only post travel photos. I have my art, my everyday problems on there.”
True to his word, Bolzico has been a constant source of support for Heussaff, who’s a known multi-hyphenate. The new mother, who has recently launched a maternity line called Elin, has also been working on ideas for her future art exhibit and her collection of self-designed carpets. Having been in show business for years now, Heussaff says, “I’m going to be more careful with the projects I choose and not be afraid to say no. I feel like now is a good time [for me] to take a step back and have the time for Thylane.”
Bolzico, a businessman and a restaurateur, also spoke about his three main ventures: his agribusinesses which include LM10; his restaurant Chingolo Deli, which carries the Bolzico Beef brand; and his new fitness app, Rebel. One of his biggest achievements in this pandemic was keeping the staff of all his businesses intact. With lesser restrictions for travel these days, his agribusinesses have been picking up. The Bolzico Beef has also been able to transition easily into deliveries and meat distribution, keeping the business afloat despite dine-out restrictions.
With so much happening in the lives of the Bolzicos, it’s a wonder they’ve managed to keep it so together. Their secret? Making time. “We do make an effort [with each other],” Bolzico shares. “We take our coffee together in the morning. We have dinner together every night. We have conversations and we actually make time for us to be able to [bond].”
And with that, Bolzico and Heussaff have finally revealed the magic to their marriage — and it’s a surprisingly straightforward answer: effort. Be it through romantic dates, or words of affirmation, Bolzico and Heussaff agree that though their marriage may not always be easy, it will always be worth it.
- PhotographyMark Nicdao
- StylingMonique Madsen
- OutfitHermès and Tiffany & Co.
- JewelleryHermès and Tiffany & Co.
- Make-UpROBBIE PINERA
- HairJOHN VALLE