Brissie girl Ellie Gonsalves is not just another Insta-model. Despite a 1.6 million strong legion of followers on Instagram and over a decade in the industry, the self-made twenty-seven year old remains unapologetically real and personable, with the kind of infectious positivity that makes you want to be her best friend, and the kind of fierce work ethic that lands you in a movie with none other than The Rock.
After getting constantly knocked back for being “too much” or “not enough” in her early years of modelling, Ellie decided to pave her own way, taking to social media long before it was the standard and her hard work and authenticity has more than paid off. Now the co-founder of The Body Company and the face of up-and-coming activewear brand, FLIGHTMODE, she is on a mission to inspire women to live their best and healthiest lives. We caught up with Ellie to learn what a healthy life looks like for her, sussed out her “guilty pleasure” food (we can so relate) and got her to share the best piece of advice she has ever received:
What does a day in the life of Ellie Gonsalves currently look like?
These days I am really thankful I’m in a position where I get to work on larger projects and campaigns, so if I’m not on set or travelling, I get to wake up at a reasonable hour (not 3 AM or 4 AM) and go to the gym, grab a green juice on the way home, get work done in the office for a few hours (emails, interviews, proposals, Body Company commitments, contracts… the whole deal), generally fit in a few phone or video meetings, run errands then I try to shut off work mode before dinner.
Given your hectic schedule and the fact that it is always changing, how do you find time to prioritise your fitness?
It’s so easy for us to get caught up and try to do a million things in a day, but it’s about planning and making things a routine as much as you can.
I make working out the first thing I do for the day, once I get it done – it’s DONE! I believe taking care of my body and how I feel is one of the most important things for me, because when I am healthy and have good energy I can put that into my work, my relationships and it overall makes me a happier, more productive person.
Once you do things over and over again, it becomes second nature. No matter where I am in the world, I get up in the morning before my work day starts and get my workout done. It sets the tone for my day and puts me in a really good mood. I also really enjoy it.
My job doesn’t typically have set hours which can be hard for me to switch off. Some days can start at 4 AM and I won’t get home until 8 or 9 PM. That’s why I love working out, I focus JUST on that and clear my head for an hour in my mornings.
Tell us about your new fitness program, the ‘Best Friend Movement’.
I released my first program ‘Body By Ellie’ in late 2017 and that was based on my own personal transformation. Over the years, I have received thousands of emails from women about my eating plan, my workouts, how I take care of myself, etc., so I decided to compile everything I learnt over the years that got me in the best shape of my life, and share that knowledge with anyone who wanted to live a healthier lifestyle and achieve their goals.
I’m now about to release a second program called the Best Friend Movement, which my best friend Sarah and I created for women all over the world to do with their best friends! We both love working out together and saw so many benefits of exercising together, so we have decided to share it with as many people as we can.
The #BFM program is all about having that friend who you can work out with towards some common health and fitness goals. It’s not about your age, gender, body shape or size. Everyone has their own goals and this program is about helping you achieve that – with your best friend who will also help hold you accountable and give you support on that journey.
What sorts of workouts do you like to do and how often do you train?
I love training legs, so anything like cable kickbacks, weighted squats, donkey kicks and hip thrusters are awesome (and all in my program). I also love doing push-ups and chin-ups. That’s something I found I can really gauge my fitness progress on. When I first started chin ups I could only do 2-3 in a row, now I can do 10-15 in a row.
I train for the feeling it gives me, granted, I’m not always jumping out of bed motivated AF [laughs]. I just do something active every day because A) I love food [laughs] and B) exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands (best movie line of all time – excluding anything Mean Girls!).
It makes you feel AWESOME. Maybe not before you do it, during or right after, but once that sweat session is done, you are feeling good.
We all have that one exercise move that just kills us (did someone say burpees?). What’s one that always makes you work just that little bit harder?
Alright, ‘fess up… what is your ultimate “guilty” pleasure?
I will say so willingly! Donuts and cookie dough (the hardcore, raw cookie dough that says ‘don’t eat uncooked’ – living life on the edge here) while watching Kath and Kim.
When it comes to juggling health and life, what’s your secret to finding balance?
I don’t think there’s so much a secret to finding balance, but I think everything in moderation is key.
If I want sweets, I do it in moderation so it’s not detrimental to my health or the way I look. I won’t go hard on treats then not work it off the next day. That’s just like putting money in a jar, spending it all and just expecting that money is still going to be there. I go by the 80/20 rule of eating clean 80 percent of the time and the other 20 percent, I will treat myself.
If I do treat myself, I keep that in mind the next day while I am at the gym – maybe add some extra cardio on top of my workout and back it up with good, healthy food. I know how hard I work out, so if I want some sort of food, I will have it!
At the end of the day, you’ve got to enjoy life and be happy. So if that’s having a bit of chocolate, a drink, going away on holiday for a week and not exercising, just make sure you back it up with a commitment to balancing that out.
Having worked as a model for over a decade now, what is one thing you wish you knew when you first started in the industry?
That I didn’t have to change or be anything other than myself.
I can’t stress this enough, always be yourself and embrace who you are as a person. Don’t let anyone (a model agent, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or family member) ever tell you, you are not enough or can’t achieve something you really want to.
You can’t control how someone else sees you or sees your ambitions, but you can control how you let someone make you feel. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and motivate you to be the best version of yourself, not people who bring you down.
A little birdy told us you’re going to be in a movie with The Rock! What made you want to start acting?
I was always a very dramatic kid. I wanted to act from a very young age and would put on shows for my parents and their friends. Then I studied with NIDA when they put on classes during my school holidays. So, being in front of a camera comes naturally to me now. Modelling didn’t come into the picture until later on and it wasn’t something I particularly pursued until I was 18.
I’m incredibly grateful to have my acting debut in a movie that Dwayne and Seven Bucks Productions has produced and has also been written and directed by Steven Merchant. They are two people I really admire, their work ethic and attitudes are inspiring. I feel a lot of gratitude to have worked with them on this.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice I have taken away is just to be myself.
We live in a world of so many people pretending to be something or someone else, especially now with social media being as in your face as it is – it’s so easy to lose sight of who you are and to BE who you are, not who you think other people want you to be.
I use to get so nervous to be myself, thinking people would judge me or give me a hard time. But my dad use to tell me, when I’d come home from school in tears because some girls were bullying me, that all that rubbish they said about me has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with them.
What’s next for Ellie Gonsalves?
More and more of everything you see! I am going to continue to work hard and I’m sure that will also come with continuing to make sacrifices, but I love what I do and have such a passion and drive for it.
More modelling, acting, working with companies and brands I love – Lots of travel and tons of fun!
Rapid fire time! Finish the following sentences:
I can’t live without my… guy Rossgo and dog Daisy.
It’s slightly embarrassing, but I’m currently obsessed with… Dateline crime shows.
I love to work out in my… FLIGHTMODE Studio Mesh set.
My go-to exercise move is… the squat.
My most used emoji is the… wink face.
Love Ellie’s look? Shop it now at Stylerunner.com!
Ellie Gonsalves shot exclusively for FLIGHTMODE. Shop her entire look now at www.stylerunner.com.
Photography: Bonnie Hansen
Hair: Garry Lenagh for Prema Hair
Makeup: Max Made
Stylist: Suzy Eskander
Interview: Sukriti Wahi
Connect with Ellie @ellie_gonsalves