Mimi Elashiry is a boho princess. The Egyptian-born Aussie grew up in the surf at Bondi Beach, and kickstarted her modeling career at an absurdly young age.
Now nineteen, the Aussie hippie has a loyal army of young followers and a commitment to holistic wisdom. We were lucky enough to catch up with her in New York and get the down low on ethics in modeling, blogging, and the importance of questioning the rules.
Hey Mimi. How’s New York treating you so far?
It makes me feel quite small. There’s constant energy.
ou started your modeling career while you were in school. How much were you modeling then?
Nowhere near as much. A lot of the modeling has come through the growth of the social media. When I finished school I remember them teasing me at the formal for having twenty two thousand followers and that was in September 2013. Now it’s like seven hundred and something thousand. It’s a ridiculous amount of growth.
Props to you, though. Were you into photography before you started modeling?
he crew around Bondi I was exposed to when I was quite young used to film a lot of surfing. They all had film cameras and cool tattoos, so I got into taking photos on their little cameras. I’ve always found it so interesting, and love the way that film photos tell a story. If I’m shooting something where I’m uncomfortable-like underwear-I get my friends to shoot on film because it’s more natural and less harsh. I carry my Leica with me everywhere. I love writing too.
Do you ever see yourself expanding into those areas, professionally?
I’m excited to expand to an older audience through my blog, and show people that I have depth. Having pictures of me on Instagram and using emoticons all the time is obviously based in a younger audience. I’m really into a holistic health and dance and exercise. I think through my blog I’ll be able to target a broader audience.
Onward and upward. How do you decide on what brands to represent?
I say no to a lot of brands that don’t suit my style. I want my brand to be all about integrity. I’m not going to promote something I don’t like or think is unethical. At first I was just doing things for free, but as it grew and brands would pay, I started to seek out brands that I wanted to grow and share with the world.
Do any examples come to mind?
Some of my favorites and people I have developed close relationships with outside of work are a Hansen and Gretel, The Lair, Homage, Alethia Phos, Liberated Heart – and I work for them constantly, but I don’t ask for anything from them. They’re definitely my most loved little labels. And then sometimes, more so at the beginning it was about people who don’t have the money, but have the talent and need the promotion that I want to help. I mean, thank you to all the big brands that got me here, but I love helping the handmade brands.
Where do you see your career going? Will you stay focused on social media?
I can’t be sure to be completely honest and I prefer the uncertainty- it’s invigorating, exciting and daunting all at the same time. I see myself traveling for work- this year coming moving to NYC and spending some time here, experiencing the world, the cultures, the colours.. And sharing it all with my audience.
What keeps you grounded and focused?
I’m just pretty chilled out. In Byron where I live I do yoga most days. Jump in the ocean every day and go for runs on the beach or walks in nature. I have a friend named Rita and she wrote a book called Hippies in the City, she’s somewhat of a mentor for me. She’s taught me heaps about aromatherapy. I know that book by heart, and that acquired knowledge that keeps me sane. I’m really, really interested in being mentally, spiritually and physically healthy. I exercise and eat healthily. I don’t eat things that are processed and made with chemicals.
What do you think of rules?
There’s nothing wrong with rules, but some of them are so ridiculous. You need to question whether they’re worth following completely. If you follow all the rules then you’re never really going to be challenged.
Do you feel like your rise to fame on Instagram broke some unwritten rules of the modeling world?
After going through all the modeling agencies hearing “you’re too short, forget it,” I guess I am breaking the rules.
What does the word ‘convict’ mean to you?
Someone who has been displaced. Someone who has been put out of their comfort zone. Being somewhere where you don’t belong but still making it work, taking advantage of your situation, taking advantage of what the place has to offer and making the most of it.