Australian model Elyse Knowles has been the face of campaigns including the Rolex Australian Grand Prix, Surf Life Saving Australia and Billabong and is a social-media star with more than half a million Instagram followers. She also has her own fashion label, Evrryday, which raises money for WaterAid Australia. The 23-year-old chats to KATE WATERHOUSE about her secrets for staying fit, her boundaries on social media and her ambition to become Australia's next Jennifer Hawkins.
What's a day in the life of you? Everyday is different with modelling. But I'm up at 4.30 in the morning to train with my boyfriend at the gym. It's a good way to start the day together. Then I walk the dog and after that I'm straight into the shower and off to work in Melbourne or on a plane to Sydney.
How did you get your big break into modelling? I don't know. Everyone asks this question! I've been doing it since I was 10 years old. So it has been a long process and I was always waiting for that "break". I was like, "When am I going to have my time?" I went through points where I felt like I was going to give up. But then Mum would go, "No, keep going." I think, you have to get that first big job, where it gets your face out there. And for me it was when I was 14 when I got my first JJ's campaign, and then it has just trickled on.
What's your biggest career achievement so far? Doing the current Chadstone autumn/winter campaign – that has been amazing, especially being on all the [Melbourne] freeway billboards and my face being plastered over the whole shopping centre. Another big achievement I think was I went to Hong Kong when I was 15 and I lived there by myself for four months. To be able to do that when I was so young, I learnt so many things. I also did six months in the US and I did really well there, but now my main goal is just to dominate in Australia. I'm a true Aussie girl. I love the beach and our culture and our cities. So now I'd rather be in Australia, doing the job I love here.
What's your biggest goal? To be an ambassador for a big department store. I would love to be the face of an iconic Australian store.
And you have such a big social media following. Is that important to you? Yes it is. I think just being true to yourself is the most important thing to me. It doesn't matter how much work from social media you might get or money is flowing into it these days – I won't do anything that doesn't resemble me as a brand. Social media has been really good in the modelling industry because it gets your face out there. So many people can see you in different elements and different looks and you don't have to be in a magazine for someone to see you, like it used to be.
Have you found that social media can help you get jobs? Yes, for sure. That's how most [clients] find you. It's not by going on to an agency or management website any more. It's basically through social media; they will see what you're doing. You've got to build your brand and through social media I'm able to do that so easily. So it's a great tool. But they're not seeing your whole life. You've got to keep some things under wraps. You've got to have a boundary.
What are your boundaries? Basically, my love life. I don't like to put that on … [her boyfriend] is not a fan of social media. He gets I have to do it and he supports that, but if he doesn't have to be in it, he's so happy. He would rather go for a surf or something.
How would you describe yourself? I don't know – I think people would say I'm pretty laid back. But I think people can see that [in social media]. I'm laid back and I can be a tomboy or I can just be chilling in some shorts and a singlet on a weekend, and not dressing up the whole time. I like to prove to people that I'm not just a pretty face or a model.
Is there anything you would change about yourself? I have a pretty fat head [laughs] and my hips basically are one of the things I don't like. If you work hard though, they do go down. You can always change those things.
How do you stay in shape? I do F45 training; it is a 45-minute high-intensity, involving a cardio workout or muscle toning. Everyday is different and it is such a good little community. Every time you come home, you feel like you can't even get out of bed again, which is good. If you could feel the burn you know it's working.
You like to skate, surfboard and motorbike. Where did these talents come from? My family has always been into water sports. We've always had a speedboat and a wakeboard boat. And my boyfriend is a surfer, so he got me into that. We've always had motorbikes as a kid and we've got a block of land we go up to and just run around and play in the mud. As busy as you get, I always make the time to be able to do those activities because it's family time. Plus, I like getting back to the real me, like doing the activities and playing and camping in the dirt.
Tell me about your fashion label. I sell my label, Evrryday, on my blog. I design garments that I love such as casual denims, crochet and fashionable basics. We also donate 10 per cent to WaterAid.
Why is WaterAid important to you? It's such a great cause and I like to help others by supporting them to live a sustainable lifestyle with clean water and sanitation.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time? I would like to be living in Sydney, on the beach. We plan to move there after we finish renovating our house in Melbourne.
WE WENT TO
Sky Bar at the Crown Metropol, Melbourne
Croissants and a fruit platter
Herbal tea and orange juice
Zara top and Kookai skirt
The story Model Elyse Knowles talks fitness, Instagram and being 'not just a pretty face' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.