Elley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get into modeling world? I’m a hydrological and economic geologist with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Reno, Nevada in Geology Science. I have loved modeling since I was a little girl. This first dress I used to “model” around my house was a vintage yellow flowy dress with a waist tie I could synch up and make my waist look as tiny as possible. I’m based near Phoenix Arizona.
What is the best thing about being a model? What makes you happy? I love to do my make-up and get dressed up. No matter how bad my week is or was when I have a look completed I feel beautiful and so happy, maybe it’s my need for instant gratification that I fulfilled, or how pretty I feel in make-up, maybe both.
How has modeling experience changed your personal/professional life? What is something new or positive you learned from modeling? Modeling has taught me to say no, and to take time for “me”. It’s has been the hardest word to learn to use. At one time I said yes to everyone, worried I would miss a great opportunity and hoping I would gain favor with co-workers, models and photographers. All it did is spared me too thin and make me angry with myself. I have since made sure to pace myself. I have learned, don’t just judge the cover, we are all books with many stories, people are always watching, and action will always speak louder than words.
A common misconception about models is that we…? We must be stupid because we are pretty… I have often been judged for what I look like. As if I could not be smart if I were pretty. An example is when I was in a college Chemistry class, our professor asked us to find lab partners for the semester and form no more than two groups per table. I walked around and not one person wanted to work with me I thought to myself, do I smell bad… then I overheard a group behind me, “she is too pretty to be smart, look at her, what a bimbo”… So, I did my first lab alone. My professor said this is much easier with at least two people. I explained that I would be ok. I finished the lab first, turned in my work and left. I found out that after I left the professor said aloud, if you want an A be more like her. I have since learned that I can rely on myself and I will never be let down.
From your point of view, what are the most difficult aspects of professional modeling? People always want more than they are willing to give. I have put in long days and hours of prep and received nothing in return. I politely choose to never work with that person again.
What is going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? Hoping that a moment of wind-blown catch your breath scene happens and it’s caught on camera and won’t be happening when I fall (smiling).
How do you keep your confidence up? That’s the hardest part. People think that because you model you have unbreakable confidence. Truth is half the time I don’t have confidence until I put my make up on and I’m standing in front of the camera, sometimes I think that, that image must be someone else, not me. I wish I could find a way to harness the confidence I have in front of the camera to use it in everyday life.
What was the craziest thing to happen to you at photoshoot? I made an outfit (something I love to do) and the pants were a little tight, I was doing great and killing it and when I went to get my other prop the pants ripped from butt to mid-thigh.
What modeling experiences have you had so far that have been your favorite or stand out? I have so so so many shoots that stand out to me… My parachute shoot, cosplay shoots, theme shoots anything done by water…. I was able to do a dream shoot with a tiger, leopard, serval and a wolf (all alive and in different cages) for Rare Beauty calendars coming 2019.
Do you have any beauty secrets or products you swear by? First, don’t pick it, NO! Second, exfoliate and sheet masks, I love the Farmacy sheet masks.
What are your thoughts about organic/natural beauty products? Have you ever tried any? I guess I go both ways, I love, Origins and Grown Alchemist, but I love Algenist and Glam Glow.
Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could? Age should not be a factor for older models. When people look at me they can’t believe how old I really am, but on paper when you put done your age you are turned away if you are “too old” age is a number not who you are what you can do.
Who is someone you feel has really influenced you as a model? My Best friend Danni, she has told me for years that she has loved watching me grow and loves my work.
Elley, can you please share some tips on how to look good in front of the camera. Learn to work your side angles and your profile. These are some of the harder angles I feel for models to master.
What advice would you have to a young model working toward building their social media profile? Post quality work, be friendly and professional, you never know who you are talking to and who they influence. I get a lot of interaction on Instagram and some of the “real” people sound close to the fake fishing ones, but I treat them with respect. Check out their page and see if it what you want to see on your own page.
How do you feel about the fact that Photoshop has created a skewed perception of the ideal body image? First, I think we should all agree that no one is perfect. Second, I think that women should be proud of their bodies, no matter what height or shape. Even though Photoshop has had a bad name in giving younger girls the wrong idea about what a women should look like in some cases. There is a flip side to this. We all go through stages of thinking we look great and thinking we look terrible. Even though some photos are over doctored by Photoshop, I feel it’s a useful tool. I have seen great shots ruined by bad light, wardrobe malfunctions, photo bombers, and blemishes. Even though we may like to think we are perfect, we are far from it. I have bad days like everyone else, I get sick and don’t work out for a month, or I work hard at my job and have a bruise from falling on a rock, or I indulge on Peanut butter, and bam, I have a breakout… so thank heavens for Photoshop to help (in the eye of the camera) me look my best on a bad day. I feel that if a younger girl is reading a mag she should be educated that some of the images she sees may not be a real to life as they seem.
In your opinion, how important is social media in changing and developing concepts of woman and her beauty? I feel it’s our biggest tool. I think for me it is also a double edged sword. I love to post my most recent work, in hopes that it’s well received and “liked”. I love to get ideas from people I follow that inspire me. At the same time, I get caught up in some people and how much better/prettier I think they are at the moment, or how well they are doing. It pushes me to be better at my craft, but can bring me down and that cuts at my self-confidence for that day.
Is there anything you would like to do in the future, someone you would like to work with or something you would like to accomplish? It’s a pipe dream, but Walt Disney say’s “in Every Dream There is Magic” with that said, I would love to be in an editorial in Vogue.
What is the most courageous thing you have ever done? I was sitting down having lunch with my family (FYI my family has an exotic animal rescue center, and my tiger was getting close to having cubes any day) I jumped up from the table and said “I have to go she is having them” I ran out the door and into the park to my tigers cage. I swung open the door to the cage, and there she was, a small bundle of white fur in the corner of the cage. I ran to her and there was mama tiger, greeting me and so happy to see me. I told her what a good job she had done… I picked up the just born white tiger, put her to my chest and left the cage. (tigers in captivity have to be watched closely when having cubs. Most captive tigers were born in captivity and don’t have the natural instinct to have cubs without accidentally killing them) I took the baby to the house and said here mom look… I knew she was having them. My mom was shocked that I had such a close bond with the tiger to know without being there, that my tiger was having her cubs. As soon as we cleaned the baby tiger I took her back outside and sat with her and her mom, so the cub could nurse for the next 8 hours. In total I have raised 75 tiger cubs.
When you are not doing shoots/booking work, what can people expect to find you doing? Crafting! I love DIY projects. I make my own cosplay and have a blast doing it. I love to rock climb, horseback ride, back-packing, ride stand-up jet skis and my race quad, act, and last but FAR from least sing.
If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? Be unique!
What superpower do you wish you had and why? I would want to be able to go back in time and change just one moment. I think we all regret something in our lives and to be able to change that one thing would be wonderful or could be catastrophic.
If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? A cat, because they are fast, curious, soft, cuddly well-loved and the cutest critters on earth.
What is one thing that you are obsessed with that people might be surprised to learn? Drawing, I have a special leather notebook I take with me when I travel and I can’t wait to put new adventures or obviously, cat faces in it.