Photography: Julie Adams Videographer: Sam Hastwell Makeup: Elsa Morgan Hair: Paloma Rose Garcia from Oscar Oscar Salons in Paddington Words: Georgie Abay Location: Contemporary Hotels and Houses
When there’s a Victoria’s Secret model in the room, it’s a little hard to focus on anything else. In the flesh, Australian model Elyse Taylor, 28, is just as you’d expect: drop-dead gorgeous. But what makes her even more captivating is her brilliant sense of humor. She’s half way through getting her makeup done, recalling the time she was on a shoot for Victoria’s Secret and broke the chair she was perched on. It isn’t exactly an anecdote you expect to come out of a model’s mouth, especially one that makes a living from strutting her stuff down a runway at the worlds most famous fashion show. “I was around five months pregnant. I was starting to show, my boobs were really big, and I was shooting with Martha Hunt, who is the size of a toothpick. I was sitting in this chair and then suddenly it broke!”
Eleven months into motherhood, and the blonde bombshell has already got her pre-baby body back (note to self: must try the blood type diet). ”I tried a lot of different diets but the ones I used to do just weren’t working post-baby”, says Taylor, who took five months off work after her daughter arrived. She used that time to settle into her new role as a mother and also work hard to get her body back. ”I’m on the blood type diet now, which is great. I tried Pilates but it wasn’t getting my body back into shape, so I tried a regular trainer, but he wasn’t the right fit. My friend opened up a gym in New York called Model Fit. Justin Gelband is a trainer there and he does a lot of the Victoria’s Secret girls, so I jumped on him and he abused me back into shape. It’s like torture, but it works.”
So how has motherhood changed her? For starters, she’s swapped the short skirts for styles that are stroller-friendly. “I used to wear some very short outfits before I was a mum!” she says. ”Now, I spend so much time on the floor so it’s more about function than fashion. Short dresses arent really suited to bending over the stroller so everyone can see your underwear!” Then there’s her meticulous organization skills. ”I’m a little bit more OCD now that I’ve had Lila, she admits. With a baby there is no control, everything is constantly changing. The more prepared you are, the less stress for everyone.” With a young baby at home, she’s also more selective about the work she does, particularly when it comes to travelling. “If I have a trip that’s more than three days then Lila comes with me. If I have a trip that’s in say Miami for a couple of days, I’ll take her with me and extend the trip so we have some time together.”
Looking back to the first few months, she does what most mothers do, she just laughs. ”Oh god, it just felt like an endless tunnel. It was just so different. You don’t really know your baby, every noise they make you think they’re possibly dying or just that something’s totally wrong. You’re just constantly staring at them… Are they ok? Right, theyre okay. Then you’re not sleeping. It’s a lot to deal with, but you adjust.” Taylor breastfed for the first six weeks. “[Breastfeeding] is exhausting and there’s so much pressure surrounding it. It’s like if you fail at breastfeeding, you’re a bad mum these days. Everyone’s so organic. I started supplementing Lila at six weeks as my supply was too low. My mum’s a nurse and when she came over to New York she was like, Enough! Just give her the bottle. From then on, Lila was a sound sleeper.”
The only thing that can distract the team from Taylor is when her mother arrives with the model’s bubbly baby girl (‘Lila the smiler’ as she’s affectionately known), in tow. Despite going through dreaded teething, she’s full of smiles, cooing adoringly. “Every birth is different and every child is different and every mother has a different reaction to their new baby. There are mums who are like it’s so amazing, it’s so great and I’m doing this and it’s so by the book. And then other mums who have such a horrible time, and feel like they’re failing. I think try to find a balance, and know that every baby’s different. There’s no right way, it’s what’s right for your baby. Just to let go of all these unrealistic views on motherhood. Things go wrong!
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