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Sarah Ellen Reveals How Her Approach To Style Has Changed & Her Euro Summer Essentials

ELLE logo ELLE 4 days ago Maddison Hockey (1)

Sarah Ellen first found notoriety in a viral clip uploaded by a friend at just 12 years of age, but the model, artist and actress was always destined make a name for herself.

One of the original—and most successful—Australian fashion influencers, her impressive resume isn't the by-product of the one-off clip but a pioneering of the fashion influencer landscape before the term "influencer" became what it is today.

"No one really understood the power of social media at that time," Sarah Ellen tells ELLE Australia while in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. "So, I was like, 'Oh cool, all these random people online are wanting to see my every move basically', so although it was weird it felt kind of normal."

The clip, showing Sarah perfectly mimicking Cadbury's iconic eyebrow advertisement, had little to do with the style icon's already burning desire to "work in the entertainment industry" and subsequently making a name for herself.

Sarah has since become a Fashion Week regular. © Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Sarah has since become a Fashion Week regular.

Instead, she puts it down hard work and meeting one person while studying at The Fashion Institute: Margaret Zhang.

"She kind of picked me out of the class and took me under her wing," Sarah says of Margaret, who was teaching there at the time.

"She introduced me to [modelling agency] IMG and we would do fashion weeks together in Paris and New York. I was only like 15, 16 at the time, I was so young and so I had a pretty great mentor almost in her. She's amazing, the hardest working person I know."

Outside of finding a mentor in Margaret, Sarah says making it in the industry was all about putting in the groundwork—literally.

"In the very beginning, I didn't know much about the industry. I wasn't being booked on massive jobs or anything, but I knew I wanted to be at Fashion Week and get amongst the fashion crowd and the circuit."

So, that's exactly what she did. With two girlfriends in tow, one a stylist and one a makeup artist, she headed to New York for her first international Fashion Week.

"We booked a ticket to New York and the three of us shared one bed in a hotel," Sarah recalls.

"My friend who was a hair makeup artist would do my hair and makeup, my friend who was a stylist did my styling and then I would go to the shows by myself and just meet people. I'd be standing, not seated or anything, but very quickly it turned into me working with some of the biggest brands."

Sarah in Birmingham with Longines for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. © Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Sarah in Birmingham with Longines for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

One of the most notable brands she's worked with is luxury watchmaker Longines.

Like much of the style set, Sarah's spent the past few months enjoying the European summer but happily diverted her plans for a stop at the Commonwealth Games as a friend of brand.

Having spent three months travelling before sitting down to chat with us, we had to ask the first three things Sarah packed with her for a summer getaway.

"I have this lucky vintage tee I bought at the markets 10 years ago, I bring it with me everywhere," she says, before adding: "A good pair of boots, and a timeless timepiece, you can dress them all up or down."

Sarah has been travelling and working in Europe for the past three months. © Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Sarah has been travelling and working in Europe for the past three months.

Joining the luxury watch brand in Birmingham has seen the model reflect on her astronomical rise to fame and how her approach to fashion has drastically changed over time.

"Time is so important to me, it's a luxury. Looking back, it really makes me appreciate the present moment."

Speaking on her style evolution Sarah says: "If you would've asked me 10 years ago when I first started going to Fashion Weeks, I would've been like, 'It's all about the look', I used to think that I was just a victim of fashion [laughs]."

"Now, I know I'm the most confident and perform at my best when I'm comfortable. That's what I think true style really is, it's a feeling, not overthinking or following trends or rules."

Steal Sarah's Style

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd

HydroConquest XXII, $2,900 at Longines

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Anine Bing Vintage Bing Tee, $145 at Tuchuzy

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© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd

Alohas Sandals South Boots, $380 at THE ICONIC

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