We’re kicking off the week of International Women’s Day with model, actress and wildlife warrior, Ellie Gonsalves. This absolute babe has a social media reach of over five million, counts The Rock as a friend, has just been named the face of FLIGHTMODE by Stylerunner, and is just an all round gorgeous, down to earth girl boss with many more exciting projects on the horizon. I managed to get some time with Ellie amongst her frantic schedule to find out more about her career to date and what she’s got coming up next.
How did you first embark on a path into the world of fitness and wellbeing?
When I was approaching my twenties I noticed I wasn’t feeling good about how I looked and also how I felt, but what really made me take action on taking care of myself was when I saw a photo of myself around 18 years old (my before photo featured in my Body by Ellie program) and I decided that I needed to do something about how I felt and how I looked. It was around that time when I started to get serious about my career and life goals, I really knuckled down and educated myself on health and fitness.
In the past you’ve partnered with much loved fashion brands such as Guess. How did that partnership come about? What was it like to be the face of Guess?
Being the face of such an iconic brand such as Guess really was such a dream come true. Guess was one of the first major companies I worked with when I moved to LA and I shot with them for numerous look books, then went on to test for a campaign. A week later I was shooting at Guess Headquarters and they told me I had booked my first Guess Campaign – I literally burst into tears, it was such a special job to me as it was one of my oldest dreams that I shared with my dad who had passed away only a few short months before, so it was a bit bitter sweet and one of the last things he said to me about Guess was, “I’m so proud of you, it will be a Guess campaign next – I know it!!” A few days later I booked my second campaign and I was jumping around my apartment on the phone to my partner and best friends.It was one of those moments where I thought “Wow, a Brisbane girl who was always told she wasn’t good enough is here now following the likes of Claudia Schiffer, Adriana Lima and Candice Swanepoel”
It really cemented the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to
Starting a career in modelling at only 13 years old – how did you cope with industry pressures at such a young age?
To be honest, I had a really kickass dad. I was bullied through school and he not only helped me with my self-confidence, but also with how much I valued myself and to be strong on my beliefs. I always looked up to him and he always believed in me. It’s all about your circle of influence (the people that you surround yourself with on a regular basis). He would always say, what they say about you has nothing to do with you, it has everything to do with them. So that’s really stuck with me over the years.
Alongside modelling and acting, you are also a global ambassador for the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors charity. We love that you are giving your time and energy to such an amazing cause! Have you always been passionate about nature and wildlife conservation?
Yes of course, being Australian and growing up in the bush surrounded by animals I loved and adored them. I’ve always thought that we all need to do our part and give back when and where we can to a cause we are passionate about. Without our help, our animals and the environment wouldn’t be what it is today. We are so so lucky to have the wildlife we do in Australia, we should 100% protect that.
You’ve accomplished so much in your career to date! Do you ever give yourself the time to stop and reflect on how much you’ve achieved?
Absolutely, I think it’s incredibly important to reflect on your journey. It makes you appreciate your successes, and failures, so much more and you also gain a lot of lessons from those experiences. When I reflect on these things, I feel so grateful for what I have been able to achieve and the experiences I have had at such a young age. There’s been a lot of challenges and lessons along the way I have been very thankful for as well, they’re lessons I can pass down to my children in the future.
But I really wouldn’t be where I am without the people who have stood by me, loved me, helped me and have kept me grounded through all of this
That’s what it’s about for me. You can be the most successful person in the world but if you have no one to share it with it can be very lonely.
What do you believe the key to wellbeing is?
For me, it’s balance. Life is about enjoying yourself! It’s not about killing yourself in the gym and measuring absolutely everything to the point you are miserable and can’t even go out and eat with your friends. Over the years I’ve come to find I have been at my happiest when I have been active everyday while also treating myself from time to time.
Everyone is different and you have to find a happy medium for yourself though. If that’s a bit of chocolate that’s not on your “treat day”, have it. Just keep it in moderation, work it off the next day at the gym and follow it up with healthy nourishing foods.
In terms of maintaining a balanced diet and healthy nutrition habits, what is your number one rule?
I go by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I eat healthy and the other 20% I treat myself. I work so hard in the gym and enjoy eating healthy, but I also enjoy a cocktail here and there along with some donuts or cookie dough – can’t beat that combo.
What is your favourite exercise routine from your program, Body by Ellie?
I love weighted cable kickbacks or hip thrusters. They’re such great exercises for your legs and butt. I do enjoy all of the workouts in my program though, it was the exact program that my trainer and I worked on to get me in the best shape of my life, and I had to enjoy it.
Tell us, what’s next on the cards? What are you looking forward to in 2018?
I really do love what I do and there’s no slowing down. This year has already been so busy, kicking off the year as the face of Rpple at the Portsea Polo. I have been absolutely loved being back in Australia, it truly feels like home and you can’t beat it. This year I’m super excited about my new workout program that my best friend and I have been creating called the #BFM (Best Friend Movement), continuing working with incredible brands and of course, I can’t wait to get back behind the camera running lines. I also recently shot the first campaign for Stylerunner’s new activewear label FLIGHTMODE which launched online last week, so if you’re looking for some cute activewear, you know where to go.
Feature and above image credit, FLIGHTMODE