Elyse Knowles on her family, health and the environment
Model Elyse Knowles gets real about life as a mum and following her own path when it comes to health and beauty.
It’s official. Elyse Knowles has retired from reality TV.
The former star of The Block told the House of Wellness November liftout she’s now far too busy raising her real-life Byron baby to be a reality TV “Byron Bae”.
Rumours circulated earlier this year that Elyse would be among the cast of Byron Baes, the Netflix series following glamorous Byron Bay influencers.
It’s easy to see why Netflix was eager to sign her up. She is gorgeous, has a huge following on social media and has lived in the NSW coastal village since 2019.
“Yeah, they did (approach me) and then they dug me into a big hole by saying I was on it,” Elyse says with a laugh.
“I had to slam that one down pretty hard. I already have ticked that (reality TV) off my bucket list. I was pregnant (when they asked me) and so I had bigger things on my mind than being on a TV show ever again.
“I think I’m done. My world’s all about Sunny and kids now.”
The great outdoors
Elyse and partner Josh Barker have a shared sense of adventure and a great love of being outdoors, which they are instilling in Sunny; the couple took Sunny on his first camping trip when he was just a few weeks old.
“He went four-wheel driving, he went on the beach,” she says.
“We were camping by the ocean, so he slept really well because we had the sound of the ocean all night. We just wanted to get him used to being out and about from a young age.”
As he gets older, Elyse is looking forward to introducing Sunny to some of her other favourite pastimes.
“I can’t wait to get him on a skateboard with me,” she says.
“I can’t wait to get him a little PeeWee 50 (motorcycle) when he’s old enough to ride it. I can’t wait to get him on a board behind the boat, and Josh is looking forward to getting him out on the water on a surfboard.
“There’s just so many things to look forward to.”
Of course, life with a small baby isn’t always a walk in the park. Elyse says that even the crazy hours and chaos of The Block didn’t prepare her for the sleep deprivation of motherhood.
“The Block was more out of the blue, so your body kind of goes into shock,” she says.
“But you know that it will just be three months of not sleeping, then it’s over. But as a mum this could go on for years, with no end in sight.”
Since Sunny’s birth in February, Elyse has been easing herself back into a daily fitness routine, starting with daily walks in the sunshine with her two dogs and building up to pilates and weight training in more recent months.
But she also emphasises that she hasn’t been exercising to conform to social pressure to get back her “pre-baby body”.
“I did it for my mental state, not for anything else or anyone else, and I am still not doing anything for anyone,” she says.
“And I really don’t care what anyone says. We’re all different, we’re all different body types, we all react differently. We all evolve differently.
“It’s just part of the (motherhood) journey and we should really just cherish and love our bodies, and what it’s turning into and what it is, now.”
Elyse says her priority has always been Sunny.
“I just brought a baby into the world, and we should be so grateful to have that opportunity, as many people don’t have that opportunity,” she says.
“And I’ll do anything for him and his health. I really didn’t care about myself. You should soon realise that when (you’re a new mum) you feel dishevelled and look like a mess for about 80 per cent of the day.”
Luckily Elyse has a trusty weapon at her disposal — Klorane dry hair shampoo.
“We all know that it can be hard to have a shower,” she says with a laugh.
“To be able to spray my hair with the dry shampoo has been a game changer for me.
“You’re saving water on a shower and you’re saving time. You can quickly run out the door because you don’t have much time to think when you have a baby.”
A Klorane ambassador, Elyse says the no-fuss, natural product is a perfect fit for her lifestyle and her passion for saving the environment.
Bringing Sunny into this world, I’ve been so into discovering brands (like Klorane) that are not only safe for me but have been around for 50 years,” she explains.
“Klorane have never stopped exploring and supporting the plant world. They’re committed towards preserving biodiversity as well.
“It’s not just for me, it’s for Sunny because I’m putting products in my hair that are also going down the drain into our waterways that will be affecting the marine life and our ocean. So, it’s all a flow-on effect — you have to think about every element of the day and what you’re using.”
Working as a model from the age of 10 spurred Elyse to first take a more natural approach to her beauty routine.
She hated having to cake her face in heavy make-up and has since streamlined her routine.
She now uses a simple sunscreen and tinted moisturiser on her face, and is good to go for a day out with her young family.
“Growing up it was all about more, more, more, more make-up products,” she says.
“But as I’ve gotten older (I’ve) realised it’s important to simplify it and just get a few items that are made with natural ingredients and that are not going to soak into your pores with nasty chemicals.
“Simplify what you use. Be fresh. Be young. Don’t cover up your natural beauty.
“Just let yourself shine through.”
Written by Siobhan Duck