Elle Ferguson: Fashion influencer, model and brand founder


It’s the quintessential beach day in Bondi—hot, humid and the ocean breeze is beckoning—which is fitting since we’re visiting the quintessential Bondi babe, Elle Ferguson. The fashion influencer, model and entrepreneur’s tan brand, Elle Effect, landed at MECCA earlier this year to a sell-out response. In a crazy short time, her one-and-done product has become a holy grail tanner.

Ferguson’s home, which she shares with fiancé Joel Patfull, is everything you’d expect if you’re one of the 650K followers regularly double-tapping her Instagram account. There are surfboards, crystals, a bursting beauty cabinet and then there’s the fashion. Her sunroom is custom designed with shoe and handbag racks to hold her expansive collections. A second room holds myriad wardrobe options for an upcoming trip to L.A., while her 80-plus denim short collection has a special place of its own. Shorts are Ferguson’s signature look since before her days as a General Pants Co. visual merchandiser, though she’s yet to find the perfect cut and colour. Still, she has a knack for finding (or creating) her perfect things.

TM: Talk us through your current morning beauty routine.
EF: “In the morning, I always wash my face with warm water and nothing else, and I put on a cold cream or sometimes the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. I love it as a mask and a moisturiser. I let that settle into my warm skin while I spray some dry shampoo in my hair and tie it in a low bun. Then I brush my teeth, apply a second moisturiser and eye cream, and then I do my makeup. First a primer, then I mix the Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere with my foundation and apply. Next, concealer, setting powder, NARS Laguna Bronzer, and white eyeliner in the waterline of my eyes, Kevyn Aucoin Volumizing Mascara and a cream blush. Lastly, I’ll draw on the NARS Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita and finish my hair, brushing out the dry shampoo, tonging and setting it with hairspray."

How does tanning night usually go?
“For me, it’s usually a Thursday night. I remove all my makeup—I’m a wipes girl—then shower and scrub all my tan off with a Frank Body scrub and exfoliate my face with Tatcha Rice Powder. Then I apply a fresh coat of Elle Effect tanning mousse. I love a deep golden glow, so I apply two coats one after the other. I sleep in the tan while it develops and rinse in the morning.”

What’s your favourite thing about Elle Effect tan?
“The colour, closely followed by the scent. It’s red-based, so it gives you an extremely natural looking tan, almost like you have been out in the sun. The scent is from fresh roses, which just makes it so much better.”

What’s the last product you found that really worked for your skin?
“I can’t go past Tatcha Dewy Mist Spray. I think it’s because I travel so much and I'm constantly on a plane. When I fly, whether it’s an hour or 24-hours, I often have to go straight to work. That spray allows me to stay hydrated without having to re-do my makeup, which is the best thing in the world. I have also loved Tatcha The Silk Canvas Primer. And last week, I started using Westman Atelier. I love that you can apply everything with your fingers. It’s really refreshing, like finger painting for adults. Can you tell I’m a total beauty junkie?”

What is your trick for getting over jet lag?
“Just don’t admit to yourself that you’ve got jet lag. Deny and keep working.”

Is there a look you struggle to achieve?
“I would love to be able to rock a bold lip more often than I do. In my head I look amazing with a bold lip. In reality, I have a giant mouth and the bold lip just does not suit me. If anybody out there wants to send through some tricks, I’d love to be able to rock that no-mascara, no-makeup bold lip look. I’ve tried, but I get the photos back and it’s all wrong.”

What are your house rules?
“My favourite thing about my home is the fact that we live by the motto ‘home is where the heart is’ and that it’s where the people I love are. The other rule is that we leave everything looking beautiful. Poor Joel has to live by this rule as well. It’s taken him close to three years to fully understand it. Because I'm so busy and wear multiple hats with my business, I find that if I leave the house looking like someone could come in and photograph it, then I'm in a better place. Everything has a spot and everything has to go back where it belongs, so I can come home and it’s perfect. It just takes a lot to get used to. He’s getting there.”

Which room do you spend the most time in?
“Easily the wardrobe.”

Let’s talk about your denim short collection and the custom racks. Do you have plans for them?
“I actually went to IKEA, cut those racks and put them up myself. The builders did the sunroom, but I did the shorts myself. It was one of the first things I did when I moved in. I've taken on the mission to find the perfect pair and that’s why I continually buy them. But I haven’t yet. I love my denim shorts. Every pair honestly has a story to tell. I'm hoping one day to do a book or an exhibition to showcase them and tell their stories. They're uniquely me.”

What are the best things about living in Bondi?
“That I can go to dinner barefoot and I can walk to the beach in minutes.”

Where’s the best place to get brunch in Bondi?
“During the week Harry’s but on Saturday the farmer’s market at Bondi Public School. I go between this little vegetarian place that does awesome corn fritters and another stall that does delicious Asian bowls. It’s really fresh and very farm-to-table there. It’s great”

Where is your favourite place to travel to?
“Byron Bay always brings me back to life, but I would also like to say my favourite place is destination unknown. I love that with my job I get to explore new places and meet new people and you know what, I don’t think I've been to my most favourite place yet.”

What are you thinking about when you're not thinking about work?
“I'm honestly thinking about work all the time, but that’s because I’ve made my passion my work and everything is related to work. I did watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last night. That zones me out a bit. Erika Jayne zones me out a little. That was my meditation.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?
“When I was young, I wanted to either be a fashion designer or an FBI agent. It was two extremes wasn’t it really? It was fashion or FBI.”

Who is your ultimate beauty icon?
“Without a doubt it’s my mum, Kim Ferguson. Flawless, effortless and there’s something quite beautiful when you’ve got such a pure heart and it just radiates through your skin. She also used to swear by NARS Orgasm blush and now my sister and I don’t leave the house without it.”

Words by Alexandra Whiting
Photography by Emily Abay
Makeup by Jen Horsley
Hair by Katrina Raftery
March 2019


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