Elianah Davi is a model, student and all-round busy New Yorker who fully embraces No Plans for its versatility. She appeared in the editorial for No Plans, and after, we had the chance to catch up with her over tea to find out more about when she feels the most inspired, what she does in her downtime and how she’s learned to love herself while encouraging others to do the same.
When did you first know you wanted to become a model?
As a result of consuming fashion media, I was so obsessed with runways and fashion, and I wanted to be a part of it. When I moved to New York, I was like, “let’s see what happens.” I assisted a stylist, and I remember being on set and thinking that the modeling seemed the most fun. I intensely wanted to do it, but I know that I don’t look like the typical New York model. So, it was like a battle within myself, but I decided to start submitting myself anyways.
Congrats! You’ve just been signed by Next model management. So, what’s next for you?
At Next, when I walked in, it was the first time that they didn’t take my measurements. They were just like “We love you. We love what you stand for,” and that was great. That was the easiest it’s ever been — I know because I’ve tried so many times. A lot of times, when I don’t get signed, they blame it on my size. So, signing with Next was great because I was treated so differently.
And now, ideally, I’ll continue to book bigger jobs and speak out more.
So, you’ve been labeled “plus size” in the past. What do you think of the classifications within the fashion industry?
The term “plus size” is completely unnecessary and obsolete. All of the labels make me mad. You can see what you’re looking for [on an agency’s website] without a label. The labels do more harm than good because “skinny” can have a negative side, too. None of it is positive.
You’re also enrolled in school. What are you studying and why?
I’m actually creating my own major. I haven’t narrowed down exactly what it will be yet, but I’m taking a neuroscience course, a painting studio and a research seminar that explores coming home after trauma. I plan to focus on editorial writing, painting and psychology. I want to continue to speak up and advocate for more inclusivity. I want what I share to be really strong, so that’s why I’m working on expressing myself through my writing skills and digital art/painting. I’d love to be doing activist work.
With classes, commuting, modeling — you’re very busy. Have you picked up tricks for managing your time?
I think being in New York makes things harder because of commuting. But, I try to spread my work out and be sure to still take breaks because breaks are key. I’m still working on fitting going grocery shopping into my schedule, but I’m finding that if you can be in an area that’s close to everything it works best. I try to be strategic about stopping by a cafe that’s close to a grocery store so I can get coffee and work or visit with friends, then hit up the grocery store before I head home. It’s just a matter of planning.
You mentioned breaks. We’re huge fans of breaks! Do you think taking breaks from emails to paint instead, for example, keeps you feeling creative and gives you a chance to reset?
The painting especially is a really nice switch. It’s really relaxing. Now I appreciate that relaxing aspect of it more than before. I think I’m a person who needs to be social to release energy, so that’s a great break for me, too.
Also, I have been taking breaks from Instagram, too. And that’s been great. It reminds me how toxic it really is. Now that I’ve stepped away from it a little, it’s annoying to go back to it. I view it as a place to message my friends and a place for my work, but I try not to scroll through it anymore.
What first drew you to No Plans?
When I went to the fitting, I immediately liked how it was exactly what I’d been looking for to wear in the summer. The set of shorts and the top — it’s great because you can wear that out, and I appreciate its versatility. It’s totally something you could wear when you’re at home doing work, and then when you go out — just put heels on.
When you do get the chance to relax, what does a night in look like for you?
On a night in, I’d play with my dog, reading for homework because I always have to do that. I’d definitely watch TV — and my dog is by my side for every moment. I might call my mom, too.
Do you have tips for getting a good night’s sleep?
I try to not look at my phone and read. That usually helps put me to sleep.
If the walls of your apartment could talk, what would they say about you?
They’d probably say I’m so lazy sometimes. I especially like slow mornings. I like to take my time in the morning. I make oatmeal, go through my skincare routine and just like to enjoy my morning.
Obviously, you’re doing a lot — modeling, studying, relaxing at home — with all of that going on, when do you feel the most in your element?
I feel like it’s changing, but ultimately I think it’s when I’m doing something that I chose to do and something that I sought out. So, that’s school and that’s modeling. I do love being on set because it’s empowering. I’m doing it because I want to change that way that girls take in media and feel about themselves because that impacted me so harshly growing up. I developed an eating disorder and looking back, it’s a direct result from consuming fashion and media. The feeling that comes with modeling and empowering not only myself, but also other women is amazing. And school is great because that’s also empowering, and it’s very purposeful. Everything I’m studying I’m very curious about and would research on my own time anyways.
Do you have advice for other women for how they can combat labels and learn to love themselves a little more?
Remember that you’re human. I think there’s a perfectionist side, and if you’re struggling with that — you need to give yourself a break. Realize you’re human, and everyone’s human — even those people you look up to. I realized at one point that I was wasting so much of my life fixating on the size of my body. It’s so wasteful and sad. I don’t want to look back at this when I’m older and see the chunk of my life that I wasted hating myself. It’s easier said than done, but you have to remind yourself that you’re more important than your body and how it looks. I felt it at one moment, and was like “Oh my god, I feel so much better when I just accept this.”
Follow Elianah at @elianah_s. Image courtesy of The Break.