EXCLUSIVE: How Elyse Knowles Went From Shy Teenager to Successful Model

Elyse Knowles

Myer ambassador Elyse Knowles knows all about staying true to yourself.

A successful international model-turned-interior designer and renovation guru, Knowles has achieved a lot since she began modelling at the age of ten, however, the 27-year-old used to be painfully shy, something that almost saw her go in a completely different direction.

A key figure in the new Myer Layers of Me campaign, Elyse chatted to TheLatch— about being true to yourself, what she’s passionate about and she went from being a shy schoolkid to an international model.

Anita Lyons: Let’s talk about the Myer Layers of Me campaign. How important is it for you to be a part of something like this?

Elyse Knowles: It’s just so nice to see that such a big company like Myer is really going in-depth into the layers of life. It’s not just about the clothes that we wear but it’s personality, our values and the different elements of each individual.

It’s about letting your vulnerabilities and the things you sometimes don’t want to talk about, and the happy times as well and letting yourself express those emotions. It’s really nice to see that Myer is not only talking about fashion but about how we feel.

AL: The campaign is all about being your “true self”. What does that mean for you?

EK: My true self is about being the real me, not hiding behind a filter or behind clothing that’s not me and being the down-to-earth person that just loves to embrace the outdoors and smelling the fresh air. That’s me.

I also think there are multiple layers and different sides to every single person so it’s nice to embrace all of them but showcase all of them as well, because we can’t put a façade on all of the time and fashion can do that to us, so it’s about going more in-depth.

AL: Being a model, there’s a need to have a confident sense of self. How did this come about for you?

EK: Self-esteem is something that I’ve learned to evolve over time. I was a shy girl at school, so I’ve had to learn to be confident and strong and have opinions and just stand up for what I believed in. I’ve really had to work on It.

Growing up, because I had such big dreams of modelling, I thought I had to be a certain way to get the dream job. But I decided when I was in my 20s, ‘Hey, this is me. If you want to book me, this is who I am and I’m not going and I’m not going to hide that anymore’. Or at least I’m going to let the real Elyse shine. So, I was like, ‘If you don’t like it then don’t book me, and if you do, let’s go ahead.’”

“My true self is about being the real me, not hiding behind a filter or behind clothing that’s not me.”

AL: You say that you were a “shy girl” at school, how did this change?

EK: When I was younger, I went through hundreds and hundreds of castings being a model and I always thought it was me that was ‘not right’ or they didn’t want me for who I was. It does take that first couple of big jobs that I got and it just gave me the confidence to shine through and to be silly and to have fun and to just be Elyse. It gave me the motivation for the rest of my career because that’s what they actually really like.

Elyse Knowles

AL: What’s one thing that you need that nobody really knows about you?

EK: That’s such a good question and it’s really hard to answer because my life is very much in the open. But one thing I need is “balance”. I need to have home time and family time a lot and that really suits my soul.

If I’m travelling a lot and you know when your life revolves around your work, it can get quite difficult but for me, it was about finding balance and making sure I spend enough time at home to make me feel warm inside and comfortable.

Every weekend we [boyfriend Josh Barker] just make sure that we go on adventures and really get outside because I feel like nature really does take me back down to ground level and to support.

AL: Nature is the best medicine, that’s for sure! How do you like to help the environment?

EK: I’ve become very passionate about educating myself on how we can have different alternatives in our day-to-day life and how easy it is and I like to use my platform for the better and educate others and show the easy ways that we can change.

We have children that need to grow up in our beautiful country and on our land that need to enjoy it in the same way we have, if not better, so these kids have the power in their hands to make a change. I just feel passionate about the environment, climate change, rubbish and using natural alternatives for everything and just caring for the environment.

“I just feel passionate about the environment, climate change, rubbish and using natural alternatives for everything and just caring for the environment.”

AL: We’ve just celebrated International Women’s Day. What does being a woman mean to you?

EK: Just being yourself, being powerful, say what you think and not hide everything. Just come out and be yourself. Strong, powerful and have fun along the way.

AL: What message do you want to share with other women out there about success?

EK: Follow your dreams. I know we’ve all dreams since our childhood and if you’ve got them, work hard for them because they’re not all going to land on your doorstep. You have to work hard for them. Step outside your comfort zone and just go for it.

WATCH NEXT: Elyse Knowles in the Myer Layers of Me campaign.

About the Myer Layers of Me campaign

Myer has launched its new fashion campaign, Layers of Me and features Myer ambassadors Elyse Knowles, Kris Smith, and Asher Keddie, alongside model and social worker Jasmin and model and wellness leader Rhys.

Myer is aiming to understand its  customers and ambassadors as “nuanced people”, not just as faces.

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