To celebrate the launch of our Power of Femininity Campaign, Who What Wear caught up with Elliott Sailors for an exclusive interview centering on her refreshing take on fashion.
Who What Wear Australia: What part of your job would people find most surprising?
Elliott Sailors: I work as a model and perhaps what some people might find surprising is that I model both womenswear and menswear. There have been men's castings and even jobs when they didn't know I'd have a female body when I got there, so I guess definitely a surprise for some!
WWW: How would you best describe your job?
ES: I moved to NYC to start modeling full time when I was 19 years old. Since that time my career has evolved in so many different ways. At this point in my life I look at my job as an opportunity to empower and uplift others. I choose to see my job as a chance to give a voice to those around me—whether that be telling the designer's story this season, or working with a brand to bring about social change.
WWW: What does femininity mean to you?
ES: I have no idea what femininity means! I find femininity vs masculinity confusing in many ways as there have been such huge changes to their definitions throughout our past. Recently I appreciate when others recognise the part of me that wants to sometimes wear dresses or heels or make up, although all of these have historically been equally worn by men. Too often society expects us to choose feminine or masculine and once it seems we've chosen, we're then expected to stick with that choice. I choose power. I choose fluidity. I choose both.
WWW: Do you think fashion is important?
ES: I think fashion can be very important as a vehicle for self-expression. Fashion is also important as a platform, as we saw in recent fashion weeks with so many designers making important statements—bringing awareness to a wide range of global issues both societal and environmental.
WWW: How do you think fashion can be used to send a positive message in 2017?
ES: I think we in the industry need to continue using fashion to send positive messages—empowering feminism, diversity, social justice, the health of our planet and most importantly in finding messages that bring us together and not apart.
WWW: What is the outfit you feel most comfortable in?
ES: I think my favourite go-to outfit will always be a blazer, jeans and sneakers.
WWW: How did your partnership with Talulah come about?
ES: Natalie Cantell [creative director] contacted me to say that she and Nick Hudson had both had their eye on me for some time and found this shoot as the ideal opportunity for us to partner.
I was excited to work with a brand who is looking to present their designs in a new light, celebrating an even broader expression of femininity.
WWW: What advice would you give your younger self?
ES: Be more gentle—with yourself and others.
WWW: What advice would you give aspiring models?
ES: Always have something else going on that is equally or more important to you than modeling—something that keeps your mind off yourself. Get ready to work hard! Don't waste anyone's time. Don't let anyone talk you into anything you don't want to do. Know your worth and value everyone else's.
Be true to yourself and empower others to do the same. #BeYouBeTrue