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.
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.
“UNDERSTAND THE INS AND OUTS OF YOUR CAREER
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.
MAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE TRUE TO YOUR PRINCIPLES
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.
IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @ELYSETAYLOR
WORK OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
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.
IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @ELYSETAYLOR
TRUST THE EXPERTS AND KEEP IT SIMPLE
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 Concealer, 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.
IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @ELYSETAYLOR
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO UNREALISTIC STANDARDS
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.
PUT OUT INTO THE WORLD WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE
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.”