It doesn't say much to describe a model as lean and gorgeous, but the fact that Cindy Bishop is still so after recently giving birth to her second child Aiden does bring about an element of wonder.
You can check out Mama’s Secret at Baby Best Buy Fair at Sirikit Center until tomorrow. PHOTO: PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
The 34-year-old Caucasian face has been known among Thais for over a decade, since she first exploded onto the entertainment scene after representing Thailand in the Miss World pageant in 1996. Cindy, also known by her former name Sirinya Burbridge, has graced countless catwalks and Thai television series, but today all that jazz is pushed aside so she can commit to being a full-time mother, which she gleefully accepts.
This includes dealing with daughter Leila's pouts every time fans ask to take pictures with mum, when she finds herself having to explain the situation to her four-year-old first-born.
"My daughter doesn't like it when I have to [have photos taken with strangers], but I try to let her understand that it's part of my job and not who I am," she says.
And Cindy is pulling off the mum role looking fabulous, as if she never gained 22kg during her first pregnancy and 20kg during her second. The long-time model is as charismatic as ever, despite donning a simple black-and-white colour palette and minimal make-up. While she says that body-slimming courses do help, most women could get back into shape by simply exercising and eating right. As a frequent visitor to the gym, Cindy strongly discourages working out hard when breastfeeding is still required, but reckons that not making the nanny do everything is in itself a good workout.
"It helps a lot when you take care of the kids yourself - you get a lot of exercise just running after a little boy up and down in a townhouse," she says. "[My husband] Byron and I still do everything ourselves because we don't want to miss a thing, but you still need to have discipline to make time to exercise. People have the misconception that exercising alone is enough, but you have to eat right also.
"If you can find a place to jog three times a week to get the cardio in and get some weight training by using everything in your house, that's good. The muscle you gain will help you burn the fat. Some yoga also gets everything back in shape and it helps to have a support group to motivate each other at the gym."
She adds with a laugh: "We used to go out and have late nights, but now we're all mums and our new incentive is to get back into shape."
Regardless, getting back into shape was a gradual act this star slowly eased into as she hosted Modern Mom on Channel 5. Hosting a parenting programme, she was able to work throughout both her pregnancies due to the flexibility on set and also to reflect real-life mothers. After that, television series and runways had to take a back seat.
"The focus of my life was Leila, but then when people start contacting you for work and you can't fit into their clothes, you just feel so ugh," Cindy says.
"I wanted it to be all gradual and healthy though, so I wasn't too concerned. Plus, I think it's cuter when you can go to work and be like, 'Hey, I just had a baby!', and how it's completely normal and not like you let yourself go."
While soap operas and fashion shows may no longer be the "big" things in this jubilant mother's life, Cindy is now on the tube in Parp Attun - a series on Channel 5, after being off-air for almost five years - and is emceeing and doing one-off modelling gigs. Nevertheless, it's a new juggling challenge she seems to manage smoothly, on top of raising her children and running her new beauty line Mama's Secret.
"I realise that one thing mums are very interested in is looking good, especially after they give birth," she observes. Recently launched is her pre-natal skincare line for mothers.
"[When I was pregnant] I used a lot of products and made sure my stomach was moisturised all the time, so I didn't get any marks. Stretch marks are also hereditary, so some people still get them unfortunately, but I do believe that if you can prevent it as much as you can, it can help." After going through a handful of products and her own experience, she's settled on her line smelling like lavender, which doesn't aggravate morning sickness.
"The scent is very important because many good creams smell too strong and it makes you feel sick. Lavender also induces calmness and makes you relaxed, which is much needed, because pregnant women can get really crazy!" she laughs. It may seem like every other entertainment star is on the bandwagon to start some sort of business, but Cindy explains that it is just the nature of their occupation.
"You get to a point where you need to start making sure you have something to fall back on, because you won't be on the catwalk or in front of the camera for the rest of your life. The industry is very fickle and the turnover is very fast," she explains. "Byron and I are always looking for opportunities to do businesses that don't rely on the outer appearance, because it's all going to change. We're going to get old and this will be gone! I want to break that perception in Thailand that if you're married and pregnant, you're over the hill."
Cindy insists that looking good can merely mean simply putting effort into grooming and wearing bright clothes instead of sweats - not turning stick skinny and wearing full-on make-up, when simple add-ons that enhance the natural features are more than enough.
"We're under a lot of pressure to be the perfect working woman, mum, wife, and partner, but I think women are much stronger than people give them credit for," she says.
For some mothers the baby blues come back every now and then, and Cindy says her own journey hasn't been easy.
"Sometimes I'm under a lot of pressure to be a certain thing, too, and I need to make sure that people know that it's not easy and I worked hard for it as well. Don't have unrealistic goals, but most importantly, be kind to yourself. If you want to get back to looking a certain way, you will, but give yourself some time," she says.