Elyse Taylor was discovered at 18 and launched into the stratosphere, walking for brands like Dolce & Gabbana and being chosen as a face of Estée Lauder. Now based in NYC full time, she balances the chaotic scheduling demands placed on a working model with being a single mum to five-year-old Lila. As part of her role as brand ambassador for Nude by Nature, Elyse popped home to Sydney to celebrate the brand’s tenth anniversary, and sat down with us to chat about what she knows now. We are happy to report that after fifteen years in the industry, this older and wiser Elyse is more beautiful than ever, radiating a quiet confidence that comes from knowing exactly who she is.


Modelling has changed so much now. We didn’t used have a voice, but now
thanks to social media everyone has become three dimensional. The downside of
showing every facet of your life is that if you make one wrong move, everything
can end in five minutes.  Even when you’re a professional and on top of your
game, even when you’re hungry and determined and work towards your goals
for years, it can still all just go away.

When I started modelling, trends were so different – everyone was super skinny
and a lot of people had eating disorders. Now there’s a push for diversity in every
sense, both with plus size girls and in terms of ethnicity. Twelve years ago, being
blonde and blue eyed, I was getting the most work. Now, it’s refreshing to be on
a shoot and see I am the one working the least. It’s such a healthy change for the
industry.Everyone wants to see themselves reflected back at them and now
they’re starting to.


I’ve worked with Nude by Nature for three and a half years, and I am so in sync
with what they represent. A lot of women nowadays are trying to educate
themselves about ingredients which go in and on their body, and I love that
Nude by Nature has been cruelty free since day one, and doesn’t use any
synthetics, so that what you put on your face becomes one less thing to worry
about. We are very educated consumers who worry about ethics and bettering
ourselves. We think ‘what’s my footprint?’ and ‘what can I do better?’ – I don’t
see this being a trend, but the way things will continue to go forward, and Nude
by Nature fits with this ethos so well. It really is makeup that’s good for you,
which is so rare.



For me, how I eat and exercise is based on feeling comfortable at work in lingerie
and swimsuits, (and being able to keep up with my kid)! Modelling is more
competitive than ever. I’m constantly on set with 18 year-olds, and I need clients
to see us side by side and not think twice about my age. To make sure of this, I
follow an eating style that works for me – the blood type diet – unless I’m on
vacation or date night.

I work out every single day unless I’m spending the day with my daughter. I do
genuinely enjoy exercising, and find it really clears my mind and definitely helps
get my body moving when I travel so much. I used to work with a trainer, but
now I like to do my own thing, including skiing, climbing, swimming… really
whatever works with my schedule. I’m pretty active and so is Lila, and I want to
encourage that for her.



When it comes to my skin, I like to keep it as clean and clear as possible, and I’m
all about de-puffing. I’m obsessed with Cosmedix products. Melanie Grant got
me onto them, and I would follow her to the ends of the earth. I also like Dr
Barbara Sturm’s Glow Drops
, serums and acid, and the 111 Rose Gold Masks,
which I keep in the fridge and put on the morning. I am always trying to aim for
maximum hydration.

I keep my makeup as minimal as possible, and rely on key products in what I
like to call my fifty shades of brown. I start with Nude by Nature’s Flawless
, which is perfect for running around during the day or for special
events. It’s thicker than average so it really stays on, and it gives me good
coverage over blemishes and redness. I then go for a chocolate eye, bronzer,
some shimmer, and maybe a red lip if the event is black tie. Basically, I tend to
go for something classic and don’t really change it up too much.

Any blonde needs to use Olaplex. Don’t overdo it, but I like to use it once every
two weeks and then use a hydrating mask every week. I find my hair likes
chemicals, and the good old Garnier shampoo in the lime green bottle is great.
I’ve been using it since I was 14! My hair gets so tortured for work with hair
dryers and hot tongs that in my personal life I am very much about the wash and
go look. My good girlfriend Jenna Perry does my hair and we’ve become like
sisters over the years.



Remember that it is my job as a model to be taking care of how I look all the
time. An average woman doesn’t have the time, the energy or the finances to do
that. Even the Victoria’s Secret girls don’t always look how they look in those
shows – they prepare full time for months to look like that for one night. You
need to focus on yourself and do what makes you feel good. Instagram really can
be the worst. My best advice (and something I definitely do myself) is to
unfollow anyone that makes you feel awful. Models or not, we are all women.
We all carry our own baggage even when we try to put our head down and stay in
our own lanes. So don’t make it harder for yourself than it already is.


Lila is still not that interested in makeup or in what I do. Sometimes she will see
me on billboards or on TV and recognise me, but she just views it as ‘Mum went
to work and then she came back’. As she gets older my message for her will be
about enhancing her natural beauty. Don’t hide who you are or be ashamed of
your face. I see young girls all the time done up in a certain way and yes, they
look beautiful, but you can see they’re just trying to be clones of someone else.
I’d like to push my daughter in a healthier direction. It also really concerns me to
see young people morphing their bodies, especially in fairly permanent ways. I
want to tell them ‘just be your age and enjoy it’.

The reality is that getting older is inevitable, and there’s nothing for it but to
accept that it’s a natural progression and embrace your age and who you are. I
do take good care of myself, and one of the reasons why is that I want more kids
and want to be around for them as long as I can be. (And a nice bonus is that
because I put thought and effort into it now, I think I look better than I did in my
teens and twenties)! I’m at a different place now in my thirties and happier than
I have ever been. I think happiness really does comes from not worrying too
much about what’s going on around you or what other people think, and
learning to find it inside yourself.”


Story by Zoe Briggs. Photography by Michael Naumoff and select images from
Elyse Taylor’s Instagram account.

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