SHOP THE LOOKS
Mimi Elashiry is a model, dancer, and activist. But if you’re one of her 930,000 Instagram followers, or perhaps read her last TOMBOY feature here… you probably already know this.
At 23, she spent a large part of her formative years online, and as the Hollywood coming-of-age cliches exhibit – this can either be really great – or pretty damaging. For Mimi, it’s the former. With her passions deeply rooted in wellness and positivity, her feet remain firmly planted on the ground.
A transcript of our chat follows, where we discuss her ‘influencing-ethos’ and the change she strives to make in the world, using her social platform.
TB: Who is Mimi Elashiry?
ME: This is something that has shifted only in the past 12 months, but I really identify with being a dancer. And I know that I don’t do it as a paid job and it only crosses over sometimes, but I always tell people I’m a dancer, and the more I put it out there I feel the more it comes back to me. I really identify with that. I can’t give a one worded answer, but I just have to give you that because that’s the first thing that came to mind.
TB: You travel a lot, what are some things you do to stay grounded wherever you are?
ME: I think there is a big part of me that just enjoys going with the flow, and in a way when I travel, being in the moment and the distraction of that flow kind of id grounding, if that makes sense. I think that going with the flow can be quite grounding for me, this is in terms of travelling for leisure I suppose. If it’s work travel it’s a bit different because I’ll have a schedule. I think that being a dancer, as long as I’m moving, whether that’s doing a class or finding a gym or even just going for a really big walk or just laying down in my hotel room and doing some AB exercises or whatever it is, that’s enough to keep me grounded. I guess it is a ritual in a way because I can do those little exercises everywhere in the world. That definitely keeps me grounded, moving my body.
TB: I know you’re quite into health and wellbeing, and have been for a while now, was there anything that drove you to be more health conscious?
ME: I have to say there were definitely two people at the crux of a pivotal point of me actually recognizing that wanting to be healthy was a thing. My mum always cooked amazing food, she’s always been a wonderful cook. We were never unhealthy, but you know we ate wheat and dairy and normal food. I met Rita Balshaw who wrote the book ‘Hippies In The City’ and she somehow randomly got a hold of me and sent me her book. I must have been in year 9 or 10 in high school and someone just gave it to me and said “my friend Rita thinks you’ll love this.”, even reading the first page of it changed things for me instantly. It’s based all around a holistic lifestyle, so it kind of touches on spirituality etc. one of my favourite quotes from the book is “all you have is here and now so surrender and just be.”, and I remember reading that and thinking it was amazing. My diet is kind of just based on whole foods. I do have wheat, dairy and meat, but it’s in moderation and it’s generally locally sourced unless I’m travelling where there is give and take because I want to enjoy myself and experience the culture.
TB: You lead a pretty fast-paced lifestyle, do you have any tricks to make sure your mental health doesn’t suffer?
ME: It again just take sit back to the movement thing for me. Whether it’s going for a walk, or doing a gym class or a dance class, it could be anything but that movement completely helps me deal with stress. If I have a crazy day ahead of me and I don’t get up and start with a form of exercise I find that I can be quite manic, but if I make sure that I move at some point in the day then I can relax into things a bit more. For me, movement is my meditation and stress relief.
TB: You’ve been doing what you do since you were pretty young, what advice would you give to young girls aspiring to lead the same lifestyle?
ME: I think there was an exponential growth in my following around 2 years after I first got on Instagram, which started in my last year of school and I was doing lots of road trips and festivals and I think it kind of went hand in hand with this resurgence of the whole Bohemian thing, to really pinpoint it. It’s a difficult question because it’s so different now! I do my absolute best to make sure that I am standing by what I believe in and any opinions or views or knowledge that I’ve learnt and believe in, I try and really put it out there without ramming it down people’s throats, but I also think that of course, there’s an element, as with any influencer where you need to pay the rent, so there’s always going to be that. A lot of it comes down to: you either have a character on social media, or you really are yourself, it’s kind of either one or the other. Because some people don’t like to have that personal aspect where there are family and relationships, you know? They’re just a character and their personal life isn’t included. And then there are people like me, I’ve always included my personal life on it, which can become difficult, because people side with old boyfriends and stuff. I don’t think I could even give people tips on social media these days because I can’t even wrap my head around it. I just do my best to make sure that what I’m putting out there is really me. I think enjoying it is the key really. It’s difficult because people use it as a business tool, but for me I just like to document what I’m doing and when I’m inspired, if I’m not inspired then I’m generally not on it.
TB: In an age on Instagram where everything is filtered, do you think it’s as important to show the more real moments, as well as all of the amazing stuff you do?
ME: I don’t think that there is a responsibility to show the bad moments, but if you feel comfortable with sharing that, and you think that you could either get some really good advice or there is someone out there who would benefit from seeing it, then go for it, but a personal experience is a personal experience at the end of the day. If you’re not comfortable with sharing it then you have no obligation to do so. I think that people sharing their experiences is really great, I empathise with people when I read it online, I can’t say that I do that very often and I think that’s because naturally I’m not really someone to show a lot of my emotions, so why would I speak about it unless I’m feeling really open, but I really love the accounts where girls and boys are sharing more of their emotional experiences.
TB: Your life on Instagram seems pretty perfect. Do you think that it’s up to the consumer or audience to take everything with a grain of salt when observing your feed?
ME: I really like it when people share that sort of stuff but for me, I work with
Plan International which is a young children’s and women’s organisation that deals with women in poverty all over the world. I’m a big believer in people’s problems being relevant to their situation, of course. But I just think for me to put out on social media a bit of a ‘woe is me’ moment, doesn’t feel right to me because I know at the end of the day that I’m so lucky. I think that’s a big part of why I don’t choose to share those moments, because like everyone, I have those moments where I don’t feel good, but I just think that in the grand scheme of things, I get to live between Sydney and Byron, I do ballet when I feel like it, I take photos, I travel, I get to live this amazing life and I’m able to be around my friends and family and I don’t really think that it’s relevant for me to share those moments of unhappiness because I’m actually so lucky and most of the time and really grateful.
TB: Do you switch off from social media ever? If so, what does that time look like?
ME: I just hide the Instagram app and I just don’t go on it! I went down to Melbourne a couple of months ago and I just said to myself ‘I’m not going to go on Instagram for five days.’ And I didn’t, and it was great, I didn’t take photos or document anything, I felt inspired and I was having a great time but I just wasn’t online and it feels good but I also don’t have an issue with sharing what I’m doing. I think I’ve been doing it for so long that it just happens naturally and it doesn’t feel like a chore. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes it gets too much, but I do like to have a break, I kind of have to be forced into it because I do enjoy sharing what I do so much.
TB: You seem to lead a fairly environmentally conscious lifestyle?
ME: It’s been something that I’ve been properly aware of for the last 12 months. So yes I’ve always cared about nature and animals and all of those things but I think that in the last 12 months I’ve really found my own direction and understood my own morals and beliefs and standpoints. I’m someone who does eat meat occasionally and I own a lot of leather clothing, I really sat down and thought about what I believe in, and what do I think is an issue? and what do I actually stand by?So that’s where I started to delve more about climate change and the environment and all of the ways you can alter your life to be a little more eco-friendly from a waste standpoint, because that’s something that I can consistently do, I think that with a lot of animal cruelty and animal testing, I really do believe in stopping it, but my actions don’t show that. But I want to stand by things that I strongly believe in. I’ve been doing a lot of research and gotten in touch with the Climate Council and have started finding more ethical labels. I also think that there’s been a huge resurgence of people actually caring about this stuff as well which is really amazing. I really want to use my platform to get the word out there and implore people to think and talk about it.
TB: What’s next for you
ME: At the moment, I’m really taking some time to go inward. I’ve been travelling a lot, been to a lot of festivals, fashion weeks, been here and there, lived in LA, lived in London, I think that I’ve spent a lot of time putting a lot of energy out, which is great and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it but there’s a big part of me personally that wants to settle with the work that I’m doing at the moment, let it sink in and really go inward and see how I’m feeling, figure out what I want.
I think that you have to be still and sit for a moment to figure out what you really want from that because when you’re constantly putting energy out it makes it difficult to listen to your body and mind.
Words and interview: Ella Jane
Photography, styling and art direct: Ella Jane
Hair: Anthony Nader
Makeup: Katie Angus using Charlotte Tilbury
Talent: Mimi Elashiry @ KULT
Assistant: Gemma Brookes