Oleema and Kalani Miller have always lived their lives from swimsuit to swimsuit. The sisters were raised with the ocean as their backyard in the beach town of San Clemente, CA, in a family of surfers—meaning that the water was a second home. Only fitting, then, that they’ve come together to harness their creative powers in the form of MIKOH, their line of stylish-yet-comfortable bathing suits and beach-ready cover-ups. Influenced by a love of the sea—and Oleema’s time globetrotting as a sponsored professional surfer—each of MIKOH’s pieces enhances an active lifestyle thanks to hardware-free and seamless construction. Oleema oversees design while Kalani plies her talents on the business side, making for an unparalleled partnership.
We recently caught up with the Millers in the midst of their forever-chasing-summer world travels. After stopovers in Hawaii, Fiji, the Bahamas, Miami, and Tulum, we finally pinned them down in gorgeous Tahiti, where they were sourcing inspiration and working with a local photographer to lens their Spring 2018 MIKOH ad campaign. Thanks in part to the photographer’s insights, they went off the beaten path to see a side of Tahiti that’s rarely shown.”We worked with local photographer, Kim Akrich, who has spent years in Paris and grew up in Tahiti. The way she captures the human body, especially the female body, is incredible. Kim lives in Bora Bora, so having a photographer who knows the island like the back of her hand was so special—it felt like an authentic experience,” the sisters tell us. “You’re going to have to wait until spring to see the full photos, but every picture we took is pure magic!”
Between jaunts on private sailboats, swimming with sharks, hours spent at black pearl farms, and a hike to a vanilla farm in a lush mountain valley, Kalani and Oleema filled us in on all the not-to-be-missed spots on the serene, paradisiacal islands. Their older brother Jason was along to document the trip, as well as to spur on the adventures, since it was his first time to the islands—the sisters are regulars there. Scroll on for their inside tips and to see the stunning beauty that Tahiti has to offer, as well as to see the latest MIKOH offerings, which the sister wear throughout. And keep an eye out for the campaign come spring, as well as to see how the trip influences future collections. “Our upcoming seasons will definitely involve pops of color inspired by the foliage and the haku leis and flower crowns that the locals wear, neutrals reminiscent of the palm tree groves, deep greens like the valley filled with vanilla, and blues like the crystal water.”
SHOP ALL MIKOH
“We had finally arrived in Bora Bora to Pearl Beach Resort, which is one of the most special places on the planet. The water is crystal turquoise blue.”
“One of our favorite travel hacks is traveling with your own tea bags. I like to mix it up every single day depending on my mood and when I pack my own selection of organic teas, I always know that I will be prepared. Tea views were A+!” – Kalani
“On our first day in Tahiti, we decided to have a layover on the mainland, which is just called Tahiti. We were able to explore the capital, Papeete, which is also the town of the airport you fly into. Our longtime friend, Vaitmiti, took us around to all of the local haunts, including this black pearl store. It is incredible to see how many pearls come from French Polynesia.”
“Another magical day in Bora Bora!”
“Our preferred method of transport in Bora Bora is biking. These lilies had just bloomed, and it’s fun to explore the atoll via bike. The island doesn’t have cars and everything is boat-based, which is just fine with us.”
“At Le Taha’a private island—it’s hard to explain how magical this place was. Every day we woke up in our over-water bungalow with a view of Bora Bora in the background. Out of all our travels, this is the most special place we have experienced!
“The view from our bungalow. Le Taha’a, you’re perfect. That is Bora Bora in the background and there are several small private palm-tree-covered islands surrounding the island.”
“A coco a day keeps the doctor away! We went to this private island that was uninhabited and wild. The entire island was covered in palm trees, so naturally, we were in paradise.”
“When we traveled to Taha’a, which was a 2-hour boat ride or about 30-minute flight, we explored the local pearl farms. Learning about the process made us appreciate each pearl a lot more. There is such an intricate process to create each pearl.”
“The finished product! It was hard to choose what to take home as a souvenir, especially after learning about the process.”
“Another thing that Taha’a and all of French Polynesia is known for is its vanilla. We hiked up a lush valley to the vanilla farm, where the owner, an older Polynesian woman, had perfected the process. She took us on a tour of her farm and taught us the ins and outs of all things vanilla. Who knew it was such a process and such a prized crop? Once we took a smell of the sun-dried vanilla, we knew why. The entire valley had a light smell of vanilla in the air and was so lush and dense with foliage—it is exactly like a movie.”
“They created local products with vanilla infused in every which way. There was honey and maple syrup, coffee, and the actual pods. We definitely took some souvenirs with us and cannot wait until our home cooking can transport us back to the valley.”
“We swam with the sharks during our last visit to French Polynesia, so it made it easier for us not to be scared this time around. There is something serene about seeing the sharks moving in their natural habitat and interacting with each other. The blacktip sharks and stingrays were calm and used to having people dive with them. Seeing these creatures up close is always memorable. We felt so invigorated afterwards.”
We had an incredible guide, George, who is local to the island and knew all of the best private places.
“It is always incredible to see the bungalows over the crystal clear water. The tall peaks as the backdrop make every single photo you take seem picturesque.”
“I lost count of how many times I took an ocean dip throughout the day. I am wearing the Queensland Top here with our new Nanakuli Button Down over the top—I like to have an extra layer when I know the sun is more intense.” – Oleema
“I spend a lot of time on boats in the surf. I often get motion sickness, so I trained myself to fall asleep and take a nap instantly. It immediately makes me feel better, and a little sunshine and salt doesn’t hurt either.” – Kalani
“We shot with the most amazing local photographer, Kim Akrich, for our spring campaign. She really knows how to take stunning photos of a woman’s body. Our French model, Valentine, completed our Tahitian vision for MIKOH.”
“How is this for a backdrop?! Honestly, it’s hard to take an ugly photo in French Polynesia. Rain or shine, Bora Bora is what dreams are made of.”
“There always needs to be time for relaxing!”