Behind the lens: Talking life’s realities with Elyse Taylor

Growing up there was Elle Macpherson. Then came Miranda Kerr, Alyssa Sutherland, and a strange obsession with Pania Rose (anyone else with me on that one?!) Then Australia found its new model-of-the-moment, except this one would prove to far outlast the normal window of time given to people in the biz. Elyse Taylor. An Aussie bombshell that would remain a highly sought after commodity despite having been first ‘discovered’ over a decade earlier.

Ensue covers for Vogue and Elle, runway shows for Dolce & Gabbana and Bottega Veneta, finding her wings with Victoria’s Secret, and last but definitely not least, being named the ambassador for top brands including Bonds and Nude By Nature.

With Elyse in town this week to help launch the latter’s upcoming Flawless Collection, we snuck in some time with her to chat about life in New York, why daughter Lila is enjoying the perks of the model life, plus what a typical day on her plate looks like.

Can you talk me through a usual day in your life?
I guess it just depends on where I am. If I’m in New York, I get up pretty early and get Lila ready for school, have breakfast, and just hang out with her until whatever class she has on that day. Just get in quality time with her. Then I’ll probably go to the gym – usually I just try and stay active and take care of Lila. If it’s work, I’ll probably wake up early and get straight into it. Pretty low key and easy. I try and be balanced – family time versus work time.

You’ve been in New York for a while now… Are most of your friends Australian or New York-based?
They’re New York! But I’ll always have my friends in Australia and they also come to New York. But I do have that Aussie ‘clique’ in New York – I’m still friends with a lot of the Australian girls in New York. We don’t see each other that much, but it’s like no time has passed when we see each other.

Who would you say is your main clique in New York?
No-one in the industry! I guess if we’re talking model friends, it would probably be Montana Cox and Jess Hart. I’m also good friends with Georgia Fowler, but we don’t see each other all the time because we’re always travelling.

At the Nude By Nature media launch.

Are you working most days?
It definitely fluctuates. There’s some times where it’s back-to-back-to-back, and then I’ll have one or two weeks off – then I’ll go back into it again.

Do you like the constant change?
It’s all I’ve ever known! Because I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, I think it would be strange for me to have an office job – that would be totally foreign! I think I would get restless if it wasn’t like this – so I feel very lucky.

Do you still have to do a lot of travel for work?
I travel quite a lot for work, but it’s constantly changing. Some weeks I’ll be mostly in New York, which is nice because you feel like you have a regular job. But then other weeks I’ll go to Australia, or LA, or to Miami, or to London… it changes constantly.

Does Lila like travelling with you?
She loves it! She’s been back to Australia now eight or nine times. She loves planes, just the whole experience – going to the airport, jumping on aeroplanes.

Does she always come with you?
She did until my Mum moved to New York… Mum recently retired and moved there – which is great because when I do come back to Australia, I can just condense the trips and bang it all out in four or five days versus three weeks. I use to come back for long times because I’d have Lila and we’d stretch it out and see the family and do that whole thing – so now I just bang it out and then go back.

How nice having your Mum help look after Lila…
It’s amazing! We have a nanny as well, but there’s nothing like grandma.

Is it hard juggling the roles of mother and model?
I think all mothers in general, and single mothers especially, you just find balance; It’s all you can do. Try and have a fantastic support system and then you just go from there – and just know that sometimes it’s not quantity, it’s quality time. You have to go to work and you have to do certain things, but as long as there is quality time and you make the most of the time you have together, that’s what is important. Lila knows I have to go to work, but I always come home and we have an amazing time when I’m home. You just try and find balance.

What are your favourite things to do together?
We go to restaurants and eat out. We love to go to the park – she loves the carousel so we go ride on the one in Chelsea. When we’re together, we’re just together – two peas in a pod, no matter what we’re doing. We just hang out and it’s fun.

Totally changing the subject here, but I can’t stop looking at your beautiful glowing skin today! Can you talk me through your skin prep?
Today we used both the Nude By Nature Flawless Foundation and the new Flawless Concealer. The Flawless Foundation is actually amazing, it’s more of a medium-to-heavy based foundation, whereas the brand’s BB cream is more of a light coverage. It’s also oil free so it gives you this satin matte finish, and it’s not heavy – so it feels like a second skin. The concealer’s also great. The thing I love about these products, and that you don’t always find with natural products, is that they’re long lasting. I also love that Nude by Nature uses Australian natural ingredients.

What would you say are your five essential beauty products?

  1. The Nude By Nature Flawless Concealer – I’m just obsessed with it! Only because usually when I’m not working, I don’t like to wear so much heavy makeup, so this is just perfect for dark circles under the eyes – even getting off a plane. It’s so great, just easy to go.
  2. The Nude By Nature Highlighting Stick in Rose to just give a pink on the cheek and a bit on the lip.
  3. I use Olaplex as a hair mask, so I love that.
  4. Throw in some pawpaw ointment because I’m Aussie!
  5. And then I use a lot of the Tata Harper face oils – there’s a replenishing serum that I really like and that’s really good for my skin. It gives it life again after a long day.

I love that you still seem to be passionate about Australian ingredients and products! Is it important for you to still associate with Australian brands?
I love coming back to Australia. It’s such a beautiful place and it will always be home to me no matter how long I’ve been in New York. And I love that my daughter has a little bit of an Australian accent. It’s sweet! I jump at the chance to come home to Australia – and the fact that I’ve been here three times in the past six weeks, it’s just so much fun. I’m an Aussie, I love it here!

At the Nude By Nature media launch.

Alright, time is running out… can you quickly talk me through your typical ‘day on a plate’?
Oatmeal and coffee in the morning, a boring chicken salad, fish, protein, maybe an apple for a snack… I follow the blood type diet, so I probably have lamb or steak for dinner. Usually high protein, veggies, some fish…

Is that the type of food you gravitate towards when you’re eating out as well?
I try to as much as I can, but then of course you have your day off where you just get a big pizza! But balance is important.

Are you mostly eating at home or eating out?
It depends. I’ll probably eat five nights a week at home with Lila because it’s just easier and we can relax and hang out – but we probably eat out twice a week. It also changes if I’m not in town as well.

Three last questions… Favourite Instagram filter?
FaceTune! There’s nothing that doesn’t go through FaceTune. And then VSCO cam.

Do you have a specific VSCO Cam filter you like?
No idea! I’ll click through 100 before I find the right one.

And lastly, where do you see yourself in five years?
Probably still in New York. I’ve got a few ideas, but I’ll still be in New York and Lila will still be in New York. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have more kids! Maybe I’ll be married! Who knows… [laughs]

All images: @husskiepress
The Nude By Nature Flawless Collection is on counters August 31.

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