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The Wright stuff Instagram couple tell how launching athleisure brand 'made us stronger'

Both have trained as personal trainers and have found a haven in the gym.

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Brook Wright and Sian Walton have been working on the launch of their clothing range since 2019 and moved in together during the pandemic.

Brook Wright and Sian Walton have been working on the launch of their clothing range since 2019 and moved in together during the pandemic.

Brook Wright and Sian Walton have been working on the launch of their clothing range since 2019 and moved in together during the pandemic.

Instagram often perpetuates perfection, but if you scrape the surface, there can be an inherent vulnerability to the people we think lead idealised lives.

Sian Walton, 24, and Brook Wright, 33, are testament to this. Billed as one of Instagram's rising power couples, the duo would not look out of place in this season's Love Island line-up.

But away from the curated squares of social media, they're fallible, flawed and happy to admit they're leading perfectly imperfect lives.

Having previously declined offers to appear on the reality juggernaut, the couple have no intentions of moving mad, except when it comes to building a business empire.

Decked out in their KoKo activewear clothing, a brand the pairing has laboured over since 2019, the dynamic duo are bringing a new range of athleisure and swimwear to the Irish market.

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'People might be shocked to find out that I’m
quite shy. I can be very, very insecure as well,' Sian confides

'People might be shocked to find out that I’m quite shy. I can be very, very insecure as well,' Sian confides

'People might be shocked to find out that I’m quite shy. I can be very, very insecure as well,' Sian confides

So far, so normal - that is until we dial into a chat with the Dublin model and influencer. "I'm sorry but I am really shy," says Sian. "I'm quite nervous about the interview - I'm not great at these things."

With 257,000 Instagram followers and rising, Sian's picture perfect social media projects a far different image from the self-deprecating and oft unassured woman speaking to Magazine+ on the phone.

"It is amazing the boost the business has given me over the last two months," she says. "I feel now that I have a purpose on social media in a way. Now that I have my own brand to share, it's very, very special and to share it with Brook is amazing."

The couple's foray into fitness wear should come as no surprise. Both have trained as personal trainers and have found a haven in the gym.

"I got into the gym when I was sixteen because I hated school. It was somewhere for me to escape," admits Sian, "so I have always been into fitness."

While Brook has a family dynasty, which includes a roster of restaurants and bars in Dublin, to bolster his business credentials, Sian has cultivated her brand on social media, but it hasn't always been a linear path to success.

"I started my Instagram when I was 19, but because of that I lost my friends from school that I had been friends with for 10 years," she explains.

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Sian Walton modelling gear from the KoKo activewear range with Brook Wright

Sian Walton modelling gear from the KoKo activewear range with Brook Wright

Sian Walton modelling gear from the KoKo activewear range with Brook Wright

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"Social media wasn't a thing back then so when I was posting my bikini and gym selfies, they frowned upon it. They told me I was selling my body.

"I knew I didn't want to waste my time and my parents' money with college, so I went to DCU and did a personal training course which was only a couple of months long.

"My school friends went to college, and we all went our separate ways and completely fell out of touch.

"At the time it was awful because I was left with no friends. I think that's why I put all my effort into social media. So that's why I think it was so successful.

"Brook is so smart and has such a brain for business [even though] he has no degree to show for it. It just shows that you don't necessarily need it."

Learning the ropes in his family business, Brook credits that hands-on experience for giving him his entrepreneurial edge.

"I was brought into the family business from an early age clearing glasses when I was 13 or 14 and then moved up through the ranks," he says.

"I've heard that people think I have been handed things. It's not the case. I started working as a barman and I've worked my way all the way up to managerial positions. I've always worked 40-hour weeks and then I shifted into marketing and then personal training."

Brook can also add his title as the one and only Mr Sunday World to his resume.

"I remember there was a final in Lillies and I also worked on a couple of photoshoots. I am the longest reigning Mr Sunday World - eight years and still going strong," he laughs.

Combining their talents to create KoKo activewear and KoKo Swim, the real question is what it's like working with your other half?

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Sian Walton modelling gear from the KoKo activewear range with Brook Wright

Sian Walton modelling gear from the KoKo activewear range with Brook Wright

Sian Walton modelling gear from the KoKo activewear range with Brook Wright

"It's good. It can be testing at times, obviously," he admits. "We live together and we're obviously with each other 24/7. We are in the office and then go to the gym together, so it can be a lot. But ultimately, we get to share the highs and lows together.

"I feel like the business has brought us closer together," agrees Sian. "In a way it's made us stronger. We were lucky because it doesn't always necessarily go that way.

"Of course, sometimes we kill each other!" they both laugh.

"We moved in together during the pandemic and we really were killing each other over the smallest things. You really get to know the person you are with even more and the little things they do that annoy you and vice versa."

After first locking eyes in Number Twenty Two on Dublin's South Anne's Street, their romance was something of a slow burn.

"I don't think it was love at first sight for either of us," says Brook. "Sian is quite shy and I'm naturally a bit shy as well, I wouldn't really approach people. It's a weird one. It just kind of happened and kind of grew.

Sian adds: "I thought he was gorgeous. I saw him on Instagram and had known of him. There was just something about him. He really did play it cool. It took him a while to make a move."

With offers to join Love Island stacking up, it's fortunate that the couple have their relationship locked down.

"I have been asked a couple of times to go on Love Island but I honestly don't think I'd be able for it," says Sian. "Can you imagine? 'I'll see you in a couple of weeks , Brook!'"

Bravely opening up about disordered eating and body dysmorphia, the businesswoman wants their brand to be inclusive of all women.

"When I was in school I had an eating disorder," she tells. "I was in an all-girls school and that kind of put pressure on me too. Since then, I've always been quite hard on myself. I've always had slight body dysmorphia, which is not good.

"But now I have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. So that's why on Instagram, I try to be the best example that I can be, especially for young girls.

"When I was 15 or 16, I remember absolutely hating myself, but you're just so young back then that you don't realise that you have so much growing up to do. I worry about the impact social media has on young girls.

"I want the brand to have all different types of models in the campaign. I want women to feel amazing wearing our collections."

Mindful of the unrealistic beauty standards young women are bombarded with every day, the fitness model adds: "I haven't used filters in a while. Some of them are shocking, they completely change your face.

"I've been accused of Photoshop and genuinely I'm taking it as a compliment. I don't and I wouldn't - I would only be fooling myself. I would never give younger girls a false impression either. I try to be the best example I can be.

"People think I am very happy with my body and I'm very confident and I think people might be shocked to find out that I'm quite shy. I can be very, very insecure as well. I think people think I'm probably very full of myself or I'm very happy with myself and that's not the case at all."

Brook, who regularly competed in bodybuilding competitions, has also faced his own demons.

Promoting the importance of men's mental health, the Dubliner reveals: "I experienced bad anxiety throughout 2018. I didn't want to get out of bed, I didn't want to go out or talk to anybody. I still get a touch of anxiety, but nothing major anymore. I've learned to be able to control situations. Now I take time out, go for a walk or go down to the beach and it is manageable. I am in a great place now."

With such prominent profiles, the couple have inevitably been the target of trolling.

"YouTube is a much different platform to Instagram. It's so much worse for hate," explains Sian.

"Someone once told me to drink bleach before. If someone takes time out of their day to make a fake account to send me a message I'm flattered because I obviously annoy them."

Since the launch of the business Sian reveals that she has unearthed a new-found self-confidence.

"One thing I would say is just always believe in yourself. That's something I lacked. I didn't believe in myself and I wish I did. I would probably have thought I'm not capable of doing things but now I have my own business. Since the launch I feel like a completely different person - I am so much more confident."

As far as being a power couple, Brook jokes: "I don't know about that - maybe come back to us in six months or a year's time!"

  • Check out the full KoKo active and swimwear range at kokothecollection.com

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