I first met Elyse Knowles back in December 2015 when she was in Sydney as the new ambassador for Ulta3. I was just one of the many in a throng of media lining up for a bombardment of back-to-back interviews (and the obligatory selfie). But while incredibly charming and down-to-earth at the time, it wasn’t until twelve months later that Elyse truly won me over.
Picking me out from the crowd as a familiar face (which is pretty impressive given she’d met me for five minutes a year earlier), she gave me a wave before her face erupted into one of her trademark big grins. Now you might think this makes me a bit of a pushover, and I’ll admit it doesn’t take much to have me on your side, but I’ve been one of her biggest fans ever since.
But it’s not just me Elyse has managed to win over. With more than 600K followers on Instagram, Elyse has been rising the ranks as a bit of a crowd favourite. And she’s been putting this following to good use – utilising it as a springboard to help draw attention to those communities in need.
The latest project Elyse is taking on is WaterAid’s Water Challenge. This challenge will see her drink only water throughout March to help drive awareness about the world’s poorest people gaining access to safe water.
On the back of this campaign, we tracked Elyse down to talk everything from eating and fitness regimes, her typical day, and just why she’s prepared to make sacrifices for developing countries.
It seems you’ve had a very busy 12 months…
I have had some very exciting projects come my way this year, but the biggest achievement would have to be finishing the big rebuild on our home. My boyfriend Josh and I have been working on it for over two years and we are ecstatic to say that it is finally completed! I have also been travelling overseas a lot in the last 12 months, I feel so lucky that my job can take me all across the world!
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Most days I am up at 5:15am, heading straight to a gym class to burn calories and pump some iron! I then usually head home and make myself a yummy smoothie, shower, and then I’m ready for the day. One of the most exciting parts about my job is that every day is different! I love that I am always meeting new people in the most amazing different locations and work starts at a different time every day.
How did you originally get into modelling?
My modelling career started when my mum got me into it as a 10 year old. I was a very shy little girl, but for some reason I just loved being in front of a camera. I started doing loads of catalogues and smaller jobs, and my mum became my taxi driver to and from shoots!
Is it something you always imagined you would be doing?
There have been some stages in my modelling career where I thought I would never progress any further and thought about giving up. Going to hundreds of castings and not coming away with a single job can be pretty demotivating, but the modelling industry is full of ups and downs. At the end of the day, I feel that all of these experiences have made me a very resilient person.
How has having a successful Instagram account helped with your career?
Social media has definitely helped my modelling career along the way. It’s a more relaxed way to access prospective clients, easy for me to contact them, and an amazing tool for companies to use when they are trying to find the appropriate model. I also love the way I can express my personality.
How many days a week would you be booked on modelling assignments?
Every week is different, sometimes I can be flying in and out and working most days while other times it can be really quiet. It all just depends on the workload at that time. I love knowing that every day is different.
How many hours is a typical shoot and what tends to happen on them?
Most of my shoots are either a half day or full day. The morning consists of getting my hair and makeup done, which is my favourite part as I can sit and relax for an hour or so. Then for the rest of the day, I’m on my feet smiling. 🙂
What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment in your career?
It has taken a long time for me to get to this point of my career. At 22, I was offered the role of ambassador for the 2015 Rolex Grand Prix which was definitely exciting! In 2016, I also became the ambassador for cosmetic brand Ulta3 as well as Emu Australia – definitely some pinch me moments!
You have a killer body. Is this something you need to work hard on or do you naturally have quite an athletic figure?
I work on my body every day. I am constantly working out, watching what I eat and drink, and making sure my brain is healthy too. As soon as I start thinking negatively, everything else goes downhill.
What would your normal “day on a plate” consist of?
I start with a smoothie in the morning which consists of: banana, vital greens, maca powder, cacao, cinnamon, protein and blueberries, topped with nuts and hemp seeds. Lunch is something very simple like a salad with protein, and dinner is usually fish and veggies.
How much exercise do you do a week and what would we find you doing?
My weekly exercise is always different, depending on where I am with work so it’s a bit hard to give you an exact outline. I do gym classes, Pilates and boxing. I mix it up depending on what tickles my fancy. I think it’s important to stay motivated and have fun.
You’re working with WaterAid on their new campaign. Can you tell me a bit about this?
I have been working with WaterAid for a couple of years now. I have been donating to them regularly, and I think it is an awesome thought to know that I am helping those in serious need. I know that I couldn’t live without clean water, regular access to a toilet, or being able to shower – so it makes sense to me to give less advantaged people the opportunity to have these simple things that we often take for granted.
Why is this campaign important to you?
It kills me when people think that it’s a necessity to drink coffee every morning, or have a Friday night bev after work. No one needs these things, you merely want them! I implore people to see why this challenge is so beneficial to others as well as themselves. Everyone can find the strength to cut out those ‘needed ’liquids in their lives when people in this world need clean water.
How hard will it be for you to drink just water for one month?
It will be quite easy actually! There are so many ways to make water fun. It’s refreshing and delicious to add some fruit to your water jug, or lemon, lime and mint.
Do you tend to drink much alcohol normally?
Nope, I actually hardly ever drink! If I do, it will be once in a blue moon and I will make it worth it! When I am out with friends, I fake drinking alcohol. I always have soda water with lemon, but instead I will be having water and lemon during the WaterAid challenge. I am also looking forward to people asking me why I am only drinking water so I can tell them about this amazing cause.
As your profile grows, do you have to think more carefully about which brands and campaigns to align with?
I have always been conscious about this. I often think: ‘Would I wear this garment? Do I already use this product? Would I use this on the daily?’ I would never align with something I didn’t believe in or love.
When you’re not working, what can we find you doing?
You can find me replying to emails as I can’t stand being unorganised. Otherwise I am keeping active by walking the dog or going to gym. On the weekends, we love to do something adventurous such as camping at the beach and surfing in summer or we hit the river wakeboarding or riding my motorbike in the colder months. I love getting out of the house!
Where are you hoping to see your career in five years?
This is a big question! It’s hard to predict as you never know where you might end up! I would love to be travelling between Australia and America so that I am always in the summer sun.
Click here to find out more on WaterAid’s Water Challenge.
All images: @ElyseKnowlzy