When 16-year-old boys coined the term MILF, they had Elyse Taylor in mind. International model and mother-of-one, she’s effortlessly beautiful. So much so in fact, she basically fell into modelling. “My girlfriend at the time was modelling and we looked similar and it looked pretty easy so I made her take me to an agency,” she laughs, recalling where it all began. Years on, she’s one of the biggest names in the industry.
Years on, she’s one of the biggest names in the industry but it has to be said, she remains as down-to-earth as ever. She’s reassuringly genuine—which is one of many reasons she was selected as the brand ambassador for Australian makeup label, Nude By Nature—even confessing she is a “creature of habit” who has porridge “like a dork” for breakfast. And while it may seem second nature to someone so natural, she takes her job very seriously. “It’s competitive and you have to treat it like that,” she says, justifying her strict diet and exercise regime.
Ahead of the launch of Nude By Nature’s new Flawless Collection (dropping August), we sat down with the former Victoria Secret model to discuss her beauty and fitness routine and to find out why she follows the blood type diet.
Be honest—has it been a dream job or is it not as glamorous as it appears?
I think any job has its ups and downs, it just becomes work after a while, you know what I mean? (oh yes, we do) but it’s fantastic. I have a daughter now so it’s amazing because I don’t have a set structure and every day is different so I really get to enjoy my daughter and have days with her. There is a lot of flexibility and I get to travel and meet new people. There are a lot more pros than cons. Do you pick and choose jobs on account of Lila? Yeh, I’m more vocal and active about saying no to things now especially if it’s back to back. It affects me and I don’t work as well. My head is somewhere else and you can see that in the shots. She’s three. It’s a funny age. She mimics everything I do. Every now and then she’ll be like, “I’m going to work.” And I’ll be like, “no you’re not, you’re not going anywhere!”
It’s obviously led you to work with some amazing people and brands, like Nude By Nature. Why is it important to you to choose natural and cruelty-free beauty products? Has this always been a priority?
I started getting really interested in natural products when I was pregnant with Lila and I started taking an interest in educating myself, becoming aware of what I was putting in my body and on my skin and it evolved from there. I think nowadays more women are concerned about ingredients and focusing on makeup that’s good for you. The Nude By Nature products have such amazing ingredients. (She picks up the new foundations laid out on the table). It has Australian native Kakadu plum (one of the richest sources of vitamin C) bamboo powder, which minimises your pores so it’s makeup that’s good for you and that’s what you want as you get older—to take care of you more.
She adds … the foundation is a little thicker than the BB Crème. It’s got no oil in it as well so it’s got that satin matte finish, which makes it feel like a second skin.
Do you extend this concern to the rest of your beauty regime? How about food and household products?
Once you’ve got a child it becomes very important—everything goes in their mouth (she laughs) so you become more aware. I buy organic where I can.
Talk us through your daily beauty regime.
Like anyone, I cleanse my skin. I used to do a lot of cream moisturisers but now I’ve switched over to oils because I think my skin has changed so it has been very dry. It depends on what I’m doing that day. If I have castings, I like to use a light moisturiser like the BB Crème because it’s not heavy and when I’m not working I like to have a lighter, dewy look.
I’m obsessed with the Nude By Nature highlight sticks, in rosé. I put a little bit of that on my cheek and it’s kind of dewy but a bit pink as well and you can also use it on your lips. The sticks you can kind of use on anything really … and then just a light mascara and that’s it really. Are they your favourite products? Yeh, they’re the ones I kind of use the most. The new flawless concealer is also really great. I got it a couple of months ago and it’s great for travel too because often I’ll have to go straight to work from the plane so you can quickly cover your dark circles and spots and stuff like that. Because I’m a mum as well (read: busy) … the highlight sticks, the concealer, it’s just quick and easy!
What’s the key to nailing that no-makeup, makeup look?
I think you need to go with how your skin is and what you need. Everyone’s skin is different and everyone looks different so it’s key to enhance your features not cover them up. A lot of young girls these days wear so much makeup—it’s like war paint! One of the big themes with Nude By Nature is that they’re trying to enhance your own beauty, not cover it up. As a mother, you want to enforce that. You don’t want to cover up who you are.
We love to know how successful women start their day, can you talk us through your morning routine?
I try to get up an hour or half an hour before Lila does so it’s anywhere between 5 and 6 am. Then I have breakfast, start her breakfast and get her ready for school. Usually, I then go to the gym and then figure out if I have castings or work or an event or travelling or dinner—that’s in New York. If I’m in Australia, I’m usually jet lagged so I’m up at 4 or 3 and have back to back work. It changes what city I’m in. Do you come back a lot? Yeh, I’ve been back three times in the last two or so months. I really enjoy coming home. My mother was here but she has just moved to New York, which is great as she can spend time with Lila.
As an international model, you must travel a lot, (I’ve just been to Hawaii and I know my jeans are tighter!) how do you manage to stay disciplined with your diet and exercise routine when travelling? Do you get tempted by the exciting new cuisines?
It’s my job so I have a little more incentive than most people (she laughs). I’m quite strict, I go to the gym every other day and my diet is probably more strict than yours but it’s also about balance. I take my job seriously. It’s incredibly competitive so you need to treat it like that.
I’m a creature of habit. I have porridge for breakfast (like a dork, she adds). With water or milk? I probe.
Milk. I’ll never give up that milk! And then coffee and probably a salad for lunch, an apple for a snack. I keep it light. I follow the blood type diet so I eat a lot of meat … a lot of lamb, fish, vegetables. (We’re both O, I discover, which means heavy carnivores and no avocado…I’m doomed).
What about your exercise regime? Do you have a personal trainer?
I run. It depends on where I am. I’ll use the gym in the hotel or my apartment. Every girl has their own floor workout. And if I’m by the ocean or a pool, I swim laps. I did [have a personal trainer] for a while but I don’t love it. I saw a great one for a while—Justin Gelband—he did a lot of VS girls when I was doing VS (slang for Victoria’s Secret). But after a while, you learn their routine and it gets to a point where you know what they’re going to tell you before they do so you think, I could just do this at home.
With so many followers on IG, it’s safe to say you’re an inspiration for many around the world. Who do you look to for lifestyle or style inspiration? Is there anyone you insta-stalk?
I follow a lot of my girlfriends. A lot of my friends are models so it’s all within the family I guess! You get in these Instagram tunnels and you get lost but I just follow friends, family … the usual suspects.
A lot of Mother Denim. It’s super comfy jeans my agent gave me the other day. A lot of Reformation dresses—I think I have 995 of their dresses. The girls at Realisation Par send me stuff all the time … Alexandra Spencer, I wear a lot of that. I’m pretty casual … and when I’m chasing around my kid it’s gym clothes! Victoria’s Secret? I presume. Yeh, they do amazing tights. Hands down the best gym tights.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give your 20-year-old self?
Things happen for a reason and just enjoy now. I feel like when you’re 20, you’re impatient and you want everything yesterday. Just enjoy where you are. In a year everything changes. Your life is different every year and no one really takes the time to enjoy where they’re at, at that point in their life.