Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Pho­tog­ra­phy EDDIE NEW

ike a lot of young Aus­tralian women, El­yse Knowles grew up ad­mir­ing model Mi­randa Kerr. But unlike the av­er­age wide-eyed teenager, Knowles would then grow up to fol­low in Kerr’s very fa­mous foot­steps.

“I al­ways re­searched her,” the 25-yearold says of Kerr, who once mod­elled for Seafolly – a cov­eted gig now held by Knowles. “I had a folder on my com­puter of all the poses she would do – what she loves, what she would eat and drink. Any­one who [ mod­elled for] Seafolly I would think: ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be her.’ Now I’m walk­ing past posters, see­ing my big boof­head!”

It’s a big ad­just­ment for some­one who re­calls a child­hood in sub­ur­ban Mel­bourne in which she was a “shy lit­tle girl, who wasn’t some­one that ex­celled in school”. En­cour­aged by her mother, she be­gan mod­el­ling at 10. “It brought me out of my shell,” Knowles says. “[Mod­el­ling] gave me con­fi­dence, and a drive to want more, I guess. I loved it.”

Win­ning the 13th sea­son of The Block last year with her boyfriend of nearly six years, car­pen­ter Josh Barker, 29, took Knowles’s pro­file to a new level. And while her life as a model and so­cial me­dia in­flu­encer – she boasts al­most one mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers – may seem at odds with a child­hood spent “go­ing camp­ing, rid­ing mo­tor­bikes, and get­ting dirty”, Knowles says she will only ac­cept jobs that al­low her to sim­ply be her­self. “I’ve turned down clients who have said that I’d have to stop mo­tor­bike rid­ing, or what­ever,” she says. “I’m not go­ing to stop do­ing the things I love. That’s who I am, and I’m not go­ing to change for any­one.”

It is a mind­set that has served her well – par­tic­u­larly this year. In the six months since she last caught up with Stel­lar, Knowles has signed on as an am­bas­sador for in­ter­na­tional beauty brand Aveda, as well as Myer, and siz­zled as the face (and body) of a global cam­paign for iconic brand Seafolly. She also works with the Aus­tralian swimwear la­bel on Fit Is A Feel­ing, a cam­paign that pro­motes body pos­i­tiv­ity and pushes cus­tomers to re­mem­ber that men­tal strength and con­fi­dence are just as im­por­tant as phys­i­cal fit­ness.

“Seafolly has been a big dream of mine,” she says. “I had my list of things I’ve wanted to achieve in my ca­reer, and at the start I never thought I could get there.but I kept chug­ging along, changed that mindspace and said, ‘I can, I can.’

“You put it in your mind and work out a way you can get there. Whereas if you think you can’t, you’re never go­ing to get there – be­cause you never try. You won’t find a way. When you think you can and you want it, you work out ev­ery pos­si­ble way to try and get it.”

As for spec­u­la­tion over ten­sions be­tween her and out­go­ing Myer am­bas­sador Jen­nifer Hawkins, Knowles is adamant there are no hard feel­ings be­tween them. “We’re in the Myer fam­ily to­gether, which is nice,” she tells Stel­lar. “Jen was a big in­spi­ra­tion to try and get there my­self one day.i feel like I’m tick­ing off a lot of dreams this year, and I’m pretty con­tent. But we al­ways want a lit­tle more, don’t we? If I got to 50 and hadn’t tried, I’d be pretty an­gry at my­self.”

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