BODY & SOUL
Australia’s newfound love affair with model Elyse Knowles just shows our obsession with the underdog, especially when she’s good peoples.
Despite being criticised and underestimated when they were announced as contestants on this year’s The Block, the 25-year-old and her long-term partner, Josh, won the series – and as Knowles admits, there’s nothing like a $547,000 paycheck to prove your haters wrong.
“There was a lot said about us being the young and ‘pretty’ couple, which we didn’t think at all. We worked as hard as we could and that work ethic put everyone back in their place,” Knowles tells myBody+Soul.
It made the win even sweeter for the Melbourne resident, and the life-long friends she made.
“People like to judge a book by its cover, but it makes me even happier to prove them wrong. I just like to rub that in a bit,” laughs Knowles, cheekily.
That cover reads like this: blue-eyed, blonde-haired, toned, tanned Millennial, with an 852,000 Instagram following, who wears clothes for a living. But Knowles, who’s as comfortable in work boots as she is in stilettos, has really proved to Australia, she’s the surprise package.
“It was good to show both sides of me. I’ve always loved fashion and I’ve always been a tomboy, going motor bike riding, camping, surfing, and just being adventurous. You can be both.”
Her no BS, sunshiny approach to life, has won the Seafolly face a legion of fans – and not just of the hot-blooded male variety – but families who are happy to have a role model they respect.
“It’s really nice when you hear parents say you are a true role model to kids. It feels good to show everyone’s not perfect, especially with the pressure of social media these days.”
The year of the bogan
With both Knowles and Bachelorette Sophie Monk's star rising, you could say 2017 has been the year of the bogan.
“Aussies love a bogan girl because they’re real, fun, energetic, and happy. I always try and be as happy as I can with a smile on my face, be warming and loving towards everyone. I believe what vibes you put out to the world is what you get back,” explains Knowles.
It's solid advice, with The Block winner revealing her end game is to be signed as the face of an Australian department store, and to have a successful modelling career with global contracts.
“Something here that’s really recognisable is my goal. You just want to be a loved, Aussie girl, and that’s what I am aiming for.”
With Myer and David Jones in her sights, renovating will remain a hobby for now, a talent the interiors-natural says is a "blessing" to have discovered - and when asked what’s tougher, renovating or prepping for a bikini shoot, Knowles can’t help but laugh.
“They’re both very hard, in different ways. When we were renovating I was showering outside for six months, cooking on a barbecue and living with no walls. It was a challenge, as was the exhaustion. Most weeks we didn’t sleep Friday or Saturday night. Your body doesn’t get to recover.
“Bikini shoots are a challenge too, but mentally. If you feel good, you have good outcomes on the shoot day. I always feel good with exercise. It keeps me stable and happy,” she says.
For Knowles that means going to her local gym most mornings for a 45-minute weights and cardio combo workout – and some healthy competition.
“I’m motivated by my heart rate and keeping that high. At my gym, you compete against other people. That really gets me going. You want to keep in the red zone and you walk out of there wanting to throw up, but you feel amazing after.”
As for the rest of her bikini shoot prep, it’s eating a lot of fish, vegetables, and drinking lots of water, even if that means she’s “on the toilet all day, but I feel good.”
Growing up and growing into herself
You could argue that a calendar packed with photo shoots, events and TV appearances, is an interesting, if not uncomfortable, career choice for a self-confessed “introvert extrovert,” but Knowles is nailing it in her signature humble style.
“I’m actually quite shy you could say. I’ve always been a nervous person and I do need my me time to recharge. I’ve gained a bit of confidence in talking, but you get that along the way with this job.”
It's lucky, because Australia is listening, watching, and cheering to see what Knowles does next. FULL ARTICLE HERE.