When we first meet Elyse Knowles, she looks fresh, energised and glamorous, so it’s hard to believe she’s been on the go pretty much nonstop since 4am.
But it’s all in a day’s work for the 25-year-old, who has more occupations than most people will ever see in a lifetime.
And she says her ability to stay on top of it all comes down to a vitamin supplement she’s been taking since she was a teenager called Vital All-In-One, for which she is now a spokesperson for. One of her many jobs.
“If I’m looking after myself, then I’m happy with myself,” she says.
“It’s not just from the outside, looking great, it’s also from the inside. Making sure you’re healthy.”
It’s not the only thing she does to take care of herself.
Elyse says she’s a sucker for hot water. Yep, plain old hot water.
“I love hot water. I boil the kettle a lot. I’ve always got hot water – no flavour, just hot water. It warms my insides. I just like it,” she says
She also takes good care of her skin.
“I have regular peels. I have to wear a lot of makeup for work, so I take it off as soon as I can,” she says.
So, does she have any guilty pleasures?
Elyse says it’s “food”.
“I’m strict, but I treat myself a lot. I love sweets. I can’t hide that. I’ll probably never be able to stop myself completely from eating sugar. If I’m training really hard for something, I’ll cut it out. But I’ll eat sugar every week,” she says.
“My favourite thing is raspberries with white chocolate around them. Ohhhhh!”
After years of working as a model, Elyse’s profile really skyrocketed when she appeared on last year’s season of The Block alongside her longtime boyfriend, Josh Barker, 29.
But she says it almost didn’t happen.
“We worked so hard to get on the show, and then we found out we got in, and we kind of had this shock feeling of, ‘Oh my God. Imagine if this is going to have a negative effect on my career. I’ve been working so hard since I was 10 years old on modelling, is this going to make me or break me?’ It was a really big chance that I took,” she says.
“I didn’t know that I could do it… I was really jumping in the deep end and I was really scared about it. It was two days before and I was like, ‘Nup. I’m not doing it. Nup. No way. I can’t have this break me or my career.'”
Ultimately, she ended up having a great time on the show, and it gave the couple the push they needed to start their own development company.
“It’s given us the motivation and the drive to want to do our own renovations. If we could do our own projects, we’d be pretty damn happy,” she says.
“It would be our dream just to do our own and we might take on client work along the way, depending on where we are at… Just being able to put your ideas on paper and then build it. It’s pretty cool.”
It may sound daunting, but despite both still being in their 20’s, the pair are already veterans of the Melbourne property market.
Elyse bought her first house when she was just 21 – “One side of the house was on the ground, and the other was 60 centimetres higher. You literally walk in the door and you roll down the hill.” – and they’ve just purchased a home on the beach.
But she says it was still “hard” walking away from their apartment on The Block.
“It was hard [not getting to keep the apartment]. We were very, very attached to it. Literally, you would look at every skirting, every door handle and just go, ‘Oh my God. I can just feel the pain we went through for that.’ It’s weird,” she says.
Elyse says that ultimately her experience on the show made her and Josh an even “stronger” as a couple.
“You learn a lot about each other… To get through that together, you kind of feel like you can get through anything,” she says.
And when she’s not renovating houses, Elyse is also a social media influencer.
Despite her prominent following on Instagram though, she says she tries to switch off whenever she can.
“I am a fan of social media, but it depends how you use it and how you use your time. I found I was using it too much, and I didn’t have enough time to myself, and that is so valuable when you’re a busy person and you’re surrounded by it all the time,” she says.
“Being able to tell yourself, ‘I need to switch off now’ is really valuable. I’m trying to tell people, you need to do it as well, because you’ll get a lot out of it.”
She says it’s also important for her relationship for her not to be so engrossed in her phone all the time.
“I make sure that when I’m home I put [my phone] down. It’s important to just talk. Ask your partner, ‘How was your day? How did you go?'” she says.
“I love music, so I don’t really put the TV on. I just have music on, good vibes in the house, you can talk, you can cook, walk the dog together. It’s nice. And Josh appreciates it, because he’s not really in this social media world… Well, he is. He doesn’t know it, but he is. But I have to do it for him, so that’s another job. I love just having quality time.”
Although it took her a while to get out of the habit of constantly looking at a screen, Elyse says it was worth it.
“When you wake up, don’t look at emails straight away, don’t look at social media straight away, because then you’re instantly in it,” she says.
“I get in my car and go to the gym, then come home, and then I can look at emails. We’re all becoming too available. It’s like, ‘No, no, no. This isn’t work time. I just woke up.'”
She says one of the strangest side effects of having such a huge social media following is having people think they know her in real life.
“People feel like they know you through social media, but there’s a lot more than what you see,” she says.
“It is weird [having strangers approach you]. I’m always like, ‘Do I know you or do you just know me?’ The key is to be nice to everyone. Have a smile on your face and ask questions about them, because you never know who they are.”
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Ultimately though, her first love is and always will be modelling.
She walked for Myer last month at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, something she is clearly still excited about.
“The first time I went out [on the catwalk], I was a little scared, I’ll give you that one. But, after I got out there, I was like, ‘Yes! This is my time to shine,'” she says.
“I feel like I did my best and I rocked it and I had lots of fun. Especially alongside Kris Smith, he’s a legend and we just had so much fun. We’re dancing and mucking around. That’s what I love in a job – still professional, but you can have fun.”
When asked what’s going through her mind as she’s sauntering down the catwalk, Elyse just laughed.
“‘Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall…'” she says.
“You’ll have blisters all over your feet because you’ve been doing rehearsals, but you don’t even feel it when you’re out there.”
She says being backstage can be “deadly” for the bank balance, too.
“You get to see what’s coming out. What I want to rock and what I want to buy. It’s deadly as well though, because I’m like, ‘I want that, I want that, I want that…'” she says.
As for the secret to her success, she thinks it all comes down to being “honest” about who she is.
“People get found out by that stuff pretty quick. If you talk to someone, you find out pretty much straight away if they’re the same as what they portray on social media or if they’re hiding something or trying to be something else,” she says.
“You’ll get caught out one day, so just be yourself.”