From a Castle Hill cafe to tropical Bali, Elise Lazaridis is vying to make an impact on the Australian modelling world from a young age.
The Quakers Hill teenager left school after year 10 to work six days a week waiting tables in Castle Towers.
By her own admission, life right now is not much more than work and Keeping Up With the Kardashians – but she has her sights set on bigger things.
Elise, 16, entered the Australian Supermodel of the Year competition at the encouragement of her mother.
Elise is very positive and always very complimentary. She’s always saying, ‘you’re great, you look beautiful mum, you don’t need makeup’.Sam Lazaridis
The contest is still in its early stages but, after local auditions in six capital cities, 20 aspiring models will fly to Indonesia for the final.
The week in Bali will give the young women a glimpse into the life of a professional model, working with brands, photographers and, for many, their first runway show.
Elise has done a few shows for local fashion stores but admitted the competition would be a big step up from her experiences so far.
She has her sights set high though, taking inspiration from fashion superstar Adriana Lima and social media sensation Kendall Jenner.
“I want to do big things, like the Victoria's Secret fashion show,” she said.
Elise admitted some of the pitfalls of the industry were a little daunting, but also said she was “up for it”.
Her mother Sam Lazaridis jokes she will be “the Kris Jenner of Elise Lazaridis”, but said she encouraged her daughter to enter the competition for a confidence boost rather than any reality television aspirations.
“She’s a beautiful girl and she’s got everything going for her, but there’s still this shyness about her so I thought it would be a good way to bring her out of her shell,” she said.
“She does love hair and makeup and fashion, and she certainly has the look and figure. She’s definitely got the correct temperament and mood for it.”
Mrs Lazaridis said fashion has always been a way for her to spend quality time with her teenage daughter, which many parents agree isn’t always easy.
“She’s very positive and always very complimentary. She’s always saying, ‘you’re great, you look beautiful mum, you don’t need makeup’. She’s one of those people who doesn’t realise how beautiful and sweet she is."