Elle Clancy: ‘Abbey is always a big sister first... she’s taught me to stay healthy and happy’
Abbey Clancy’s younger sister Elle, who is starring in a major new campaign, chats to Katie Wright about her fashionable life.
With her Bambi-esque blue eyes, pillowy lips and seemingly endless legs, it’s no wonder Elle Clancy is following older sister Abbey into the world of modelling, having just landed her first swimwear campaign for Debenhams.
Showcasing the new Faith range in a series of sultry poses, the stunning Liverpool-born 20-year-old radiates confidence, but admits she had a few butterflies before the shoot.
“I was a bit nervous doing it,” she says, softly spoken but with a Liverpudlian accent not diminished after several years living down south. “It was quite a big job for me personally, so I wanted to look good and for the whole team to be happy with how the pictures came out.”
This isn’t Clancy’s first time in front of the camera, however. She started modelling aged 14 but took a break for a few years and started training as a hairdresser, which she still does at London’s Larry King salon.
“I backed off a little bit and I’ve come back into it again, which I’m absolutely loving because I feel like mentally I’m more prepared, I’ve grown up a bit,” she says. “I do work hard on my body, but it’s important to feel good and feel healthy and strong.”
Health has been a difficult issue for Clancy, who was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which caused acne breakouts and weight gain, but exercise and a careful skincare regime have kept her symptoms under control.
“I was quite embarrassed about it at first and I didn’t really know how to handle it,” she admits, but now she’s happy to share her experience with her social media followers. I am really open about talking about it and anyone that I can help, I will.”
As part of the new generation of models for whom social media is seen as a very important string to their bow, it’s a smart move — but one clearly motivated by altruism rather than attention.
Here, the up and coming star talks about her own favourite models, her personal style and how she maintains that amazing figure ...
You shot the Debenhams campaign in Tenerife. Are fashion shoots as glamorous as they look?
“It was freezing! Yeah, it is hard work. You’re up early to be in hair and make-up and get yourself ready to get the good light which starts at 6am. But especially with the Debenhams girls that I work with and the photographer Ben, who I’d worked with previously, everyone was so nice. It was great fun, I loved it.”
You post about fitness a lot on Instagram, what’s your weekly workout routine like?
“It’s quite lucky, actually, my brother came up with this piece of equipment called a KO8, it’s a suspension and resistance band. You can take it anywhere. I do a lot of running and I have recently joined Kobox, the boxing gym, which I am addicted to! I try to stay away from weights, I’ll do a little bit. I mix it up.”
Who are the models that you admire most?
“Rosie Huntington-Whiteley I love, I think she is absolutely stunning, and with what she wears she looks amazing always. Winnie Harlow is a massive inspiration to me. I think with the skin condition that she has (vitiligo), you could be down or negative, but she’s totally turned it around and made it such a positive thing and turned it into a career, which I think is amazing.”
Has Abbey given you any good advice in terms of modelling over the years?
“Yeah, she’s great. She is 12 years older than me, so I’ve grown up watching her and how she’s made her career, but she’s always stayed normal. She’s always been Abbey, she’s always been a big sister first, which is so important to me. So watching her and how she’s done it has been great — (learning to) just keep happy and healthy.”
How would you describe your personal style?
“I’m split right down the middle, I’m not very girly, which is quite strange for a girl coming from Liverpool — I think I’m the only one! I’m quite tomboyish or I like to dress so bohemian, with packed on rings and tied little tops and jeans or skirts.”
What’s the best fashion advice you have ever received?
“It was from my mum, actually, and it was to never, ever change how you would be as a person for anyone. My boyfriend’s really good at that as well. If I’ve got a meeting or a job or a launch that I’m going to and I’m like, ‘I don’t know what to wear’ he says, ‘What would you wear if we were to go out?’ He’s really supportive.”
The Faith swimwear collection is available online and in store at Debenhams now