Exclusive: Elliott Sailors Opens Up About Why Fashion Is So Important

When it came time for Australian fashion label Talulah to shoot the campaign and cast a model for its latest collection The Power of Femininity, Elliott Sailors was the obvious choice. Today marks International Women’s Day, and the release of this campaign couldn’t come at a more fitting time. Elliott Sailors is a pioneer of the power of female expression—a true role model in what femininity actually means.

A few years into her career, Sailors decided to try her hand at male modelling. She explained to Huffington Post in 2013, “It started out as something I thought would be very cool and a great idea and kind of a revitalisation, not just of my career but of fashion and what’s possible”. Sailors would get frustrated early in her career because she thought she looked too masculine, so she took her career in a new direction, on her own terms, and opened up a worldwide conversation about identity and gender in fashion.

To celebrate Talulah’s latest campaign, we caught up with Elliott Sailors. Read on for her refreshing take on fashion.

Photo:

Nick Hudson for Talulah

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. 

Photo:

Nick Hudson for Talulah

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. 

I choose power. I choose fluidity. I choose both. 

Photo:

Nick Hudson for Talulah

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. 

I think fashion can be very important as a vehicle for self-expression.

Photo:

Nick Hudson for Talulah

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.

Photo:

Nick Hudson for Talulah

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 

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