From international modelling to foreign correspondent journalism, Elise has travelled the world creating, capturing and exploring the glamour and the grime. She is the creator of StellaMuse, a guide on holistic beauty, substance and soul, made from love and the soon to be published author of her debut novel Runway.(http://www.stellamuse.com/runway/)
Tell us three things about yourself
- I have to create something every day, be it writing an article or post for the blog, painting or drawing a piece for a client, or whipping up something exotic (and often raw vegan) in the kitchen.
- A deeply treasured part of my life is quality time with loved ones of my Tribe. Both intimate at our homes or out enjoying Mother Nature with nourishing and divine homemade food (and I will rarely say no to accompanying champagne.)
- Exercise every day! Either helping my mum take her Total Body aerobics classes, yoga, Pilates, beach runs, swimming or vacuuming the house – yes it’s cardio!
What’s been the biggest health challenge you’ve overcome and what did you learn from this experience?
A few years ago I found myself in hospital a week after returning home from modelling in Asia. After my heart stopped they discovered I had a cyst on my ovary that ruptured, then my heart stopped a few times from the toxicity and strain on my body. While after surgery the cardiologist told me I was “disgustingly healthy”, my body and heart had gone through a lot of emotional stress. From living abroad, excessive exercise and an erratic lifestyle – I didn’t party hard or choose to go down the drugs and drinking path but I was pushing my body hard at the gym, in the studio on location and runways, sticking to a very strict mainly plant based diet and was isolated from loved ones.
Out of hospital it only took a couple days to walk and weeks to drive and exercise again (despite being told I needed 2 months off), but I was lost and broken inside. My belief in self was shattered. I was unable to work, my ‘soul mate’ at the time broke up with me and I didn’t know what to do to bring myself back to life, let alone use my degree hanging on the wall.
Learning to be grateful for the ‘extraordinary in the ordinary’ was one great lesson I gained from my experience – being able to wash my own hair again, make my own bed, walk let along go for beach runs and slowly tap back into my inner warrior. Feeling so detached and broken only left room for a break through and an unearthing of my truest desires and purpose. Focusing entirely on myself for the first time in years I found work in environmental communications, managed a volunteer group, booked every show but one in Fashion Week, went back to study my masters and started writing my first novel. I may still be modeling full time if I didn’t get sick. While the world of international modelling offers it’s own wonderment (grit and glamour) that alone was not my true-life purpose.
What’s your top tip for getting your day off to a great start?
Waking up with a grateful heart. Before I put a foot on the floor I say 10 things I am grateful for and follow each with three “thank you’s” – From perfect health and finishing a creative project, to waking up in my Champions arms and inspiring other Beautiful Souls through my work.
Your brekky usually consists of…
Warm lemon water to start then a smoothie – jam packed with superfoods like chia seeds, MSM, maca, raw sprouted brown rice protein powder, chlorophyll, berries, spinach leaves and celery. My Top 22 Superfoods are here:
… if it’s a Sunday brekky I do love hitting up a fabulous healthy café for some gluten free toast, eggs, avocado, tomato and mushroom with a fresh mixed juice – my top 13 Healthiest Café’s in Perth are here:
Which foods do you eat to nourish your body and give you vitality?
I’ve grown up with the awareness that ‘we are what we eat’, eating in season is ideal and eating for your body is essential – so I always factor that in. I have an intolerance to gluten so I avoid that. I also don’t eat processed foods including sugar, additives, preservatives or dairy. I listen to my body, if I am craving something sweet I know my blood sugar may be low or perhaps I need hydrating so I grab a big glass of clean water and make a mixed green salad with seeds and nuts. If I need a pick me up I do love homemade raw cacao chocolate and may enjoy one or two pieces of something like these here: http://www.stellamuse.com/stellas-choc-caramel-queen-of-hearts-goji-berry-muse-triangles/
Nourishing the body is so important. I believe we should commit to treating our body like a temple, so I joined forces with another fellow model/presenter/food blogger Sarah Joy Danze, from Dining with Sarah to create Svelte Kitchen; a YouTube channel dedicated to showcasing an array of health conscious recipes that will delight taste buds and inspire Svelte living from the kitchen and beyond!
Studying to be a holistic nutrition and life coach is broadening my nourishment and vitality foods list. Particularly learning more about movements like macrobiotics and the traditional native Indian medicine, Ayurveda. I’ve since started including more sea vegetables and medicinal mushrooms like reishi into my meals, as well as spices like tumeric and cayenne.
A couple of my go to fav’s would also be:
- Avocado for the essential fatty acids
- Organic Blueberries for antioxidants
- Blue Green Algae as a super healer
- Certified Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil has a great combination of fatty acids with medicinal properties. (I also love to use coconut oil in making body scrubs, body butters and even pop it on my face and body straight from the jar to moisturise and as a light sun protector. DIY body butter here – http://www.stellamuse.com/stella-body-butter/
- Goji Berries are a powerhouse of amino acids and iron, calcium, zinc, selenium and more
- Hemp (protein powder, oil and seeds) – Not keen on smoking it but I will rub it all over my body and eat it – Hemp is a great source of vegan protein, classified as a ‘perfect food’ it is also an ideal form of fatty acids
- Raw Cacao (nibs, butter and powder form) – with a long list of fabulous qualities, once you go raw you don’t go back! (Several StellaChef recipes here use raw cacao. http://www.stellamuse.com/stellachef/
- Lemons for electrolytes and alkalizing the body
- Maca for its nutrient density and energizing qualities – also known as an aphrodisiac, so watch out!
- Raw Bee Pollen a multi fabulous vitality booster, from energy enhancing to immunity boosting and aiding the digestive system.
Why is fitness an important part of your life and do you have an exercise routine?
Probably because at 2 years of age I was watching my mum instruct aerobics – sitting by the pool at her aqua classes or in the studio. Despite having healthy snacks and colouring-in books I wanted to join in. So by 3 I had a matching leotard to mums, my own plastic weights and mini equipment and was learning the grapevine to 80’s dance tunes!
Moving my body started then and progressed from aerobics to dance, jazz classical and contemporary ballet, to then exploring various styles of yoga, Pilates, boxing, surfing, weight training, running and swimming.
I love variety and tailor my workouts to the seasons and how I feel. If I have plenty of energy I love to go for a run along the beach then get into the ocean to cleanse and swim. If I feel like I need a stretch and resistance work I’ll do some yoga, fit ball, bands and weights at home.
In an average week I do two Total Body aerobics classes, one dance class, a beach run/swim, the 5 Rites http://www.stellamuse.com/the-5-tibetan-rites/ / yoga / fit ball / weight training. All sessions end with a 20 minute meditation. Meditation is an ideal way to wrap up a workout, clear the mind and prepare for a day of creation and inspiration!
I also love floating. Nothing compares to the tranquility of weightless relaxation; lying naked and buoyant in the magnesium rich water of a float tank. Shut off from the noise and stimulus of the outside world, floating is an ideal post workout experience. It’s fabulous if I need an energy boost, want to relax my muscles, or to help stimulate my creativity (learn all about that here http://beyondrest.com.au/)
Your ‘perfect day’ in a nutshell would be…
Being alive at this time of enlightenment in a safe, beautiful environment is ‘perfect’. But if I am specific: Waking up beside my Champion, doing beach yoga/meditation and having a swim before a nourishing brekky together. Journaling and writing before hitting the farmers market and preparing an exotic healthy banquette for my Tribe. A bit of afternoon painting or drawing in my studio then watching the sunset on the beach with my Champion, a picnic and champagne. Dancing to tunes on the sand before a relaxing and exotic oil bath and slipping between fresh sheets.
Describe what motivated you to choose your current business or career path?
Modelling, writing, art, public speaking and mentoring have been a part of my life in some form since I can remember so it feels like natural evolution to gradually combine them.
I love modelling and I have no intention of hanging up my heels. Though I’ve never called myself a ‘model’. I often found myself feeling like the fly on the wall wanting to write about the backstage and unglamorous reality to educate and entertain young girls and women who were under the impression; the life of a model was slinking down runways and swanning around at party after party. That’s the investigative journalist with a hunger for truth telling and awakening consciousness bubbling up inside of me … it bubbled so much I guess my heart stopped a few times and the Universe told me to, “get to it, write that book, enlighten these women, share the lovelight!”
What business or career challenge have you overcome and what one piece of advice would you like to pass on to others?
The greatest challenge was writing, rewriting and editing Runway over and over again while fighting to sustain my belief in self, knock backs, tears, years of hard work and learning the craft of creative writing. I went through editors and the publishing industry all the while draining my entire life savings. It’s been the biggest undertaking of my life to date and I know, I believe and I feel, that these almost seven and a half years will be a fabulous platform to get the word out there – ironically at it’s most fundamental that word is belief-in-self, because that is our foundation. With strong self-esteem or self-belief, the self-love will blossom and follow, and then the rest will flow.
As the StellaMuse mission states; Believe. Love. Achieve.
I Believe a Stella LoveRevolution is in order and to Achieve that we need to commit to ourselves and each other.
Your favourite book or movie of all time is? And why?
Asking a writer that is like asking Carrie Bradshaw to choose her favourite shoes!
Two books which greatly impacted me are:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
The agreements are:
- Always be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Never make assumptions
- Always do your best
These agreements are jewels. Each is a Toltec life philosophy to live by. I made a commitment after reading this book to apply them to my life on a daily basis.
Another Stella book that had a life changing influence on me is Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the 21st Century, by Naomi Wolf.
I found this book in a second hand bookstore in Guildford one afternoon and instead of reading it I studied it. It was my introduction to ‘feminist literature’ as a young 20-something woman, there was even a short section on ‘models’, which brought to the surface my ambivalence about the industry and it propelled me toward gender & women’s studies and equality.
While studying my masters I saw Naomi speak at the 2008 Perth Writers Festival. Watching her I thought that woman is remarkable, her energy, honesty and poignant eloquence is captivating. She was and is an activist for humanity. She actively lives what she loves and she shares that with her tribe for the greater good, to awaken and raise consciousness and incite action. THAT is what I want do through my work; my writing, art, mentoring and beyond, I said to myself. And so the zygote of StellaMuse; starring inspiration, was born. My dissertation for my masters was the creation of a magazine called StellaMuse targeted at women to inspire their inner StellaWarrior; from embracing, nourishing and loving their bodies and minds, to their heart and soul, and those of their tribe. StellaMuse also fanned the flame of self-belief and making conscious decisions for the greater good of humanity and our beautiful Mother Earth. While I didn’t go into publishing a magazine, stellamuse.com was launched and the StellaTribe was born. And now StellaWarrior: Awaken the Warrior Within Coaching is starting soon!
A list of my top inspirational, motivational and enlightening reads you may like to check out are here; http://www.stellamuse.com/stellas-bedside-table-all-time-top-picks/
And lastly, do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us?
Sure do! ‘Svelte Kitchen’ episode 2 has two delish recipes, from Sarah and myself. You can watch while you whip up some vegan ‘Chili Muse Bites’ and Sarah’s ‘Arancini Balls’. http://www.stellamuse.com/chilli-muse-bites/
Episode 3 & 4 will be live by the end of summer. Enjoy, Beautiful Soul! XOX