Oct 2023

The Story of Sarah Ellen

From viral ‘dancing eyebrows girl’ to
model, actor and artist

PHOTOGRAPHY by BEC PARSONS
STYLING by RACHEL WAYMAN
WORDS by COURTNEY THOMPSON

Sarah Ellen lived an ordinary life, until she didn’t. Growing up in the suburbs of Western Sydney, Ellen would spend afternoons riding through the streets of Campbelltown with her friends or visiting the local Charcoal Chicken shop after school. Like most teenagers her age at the time, she’d also post to social media platforms like Instagram and Vine (RIP). And then, when she was 13, her unique control of her eyebrows sent her global. Ellen uploaded a video imitating the iconic 2009 Cadbury Chocolate commercial by moving her eyebrows to the beat of ‘Don’t Stop the Rock’ and over 56 million people viewed the clip.

TOP: BOTTEGA VENETA top, $2950, and shoes, $3400, LONGINES watch, $2950; TOP LEFT: MAX MARA top, $1055, skirt, $3640, shoes, $1875, and belt, $430, LONGINES watch, $3075; TOP RIGHT: MIU MIU dress, $3950, and shoes, $1870, LONGINES watch, $2625;

But unlike the children who’d experience viral fame, go on an episode of The Ellen Show and never be seen again until the requisite “Where Are They Now” special, the teen stayed in Sydney where she worked the confectionery stand at her local station. “My first job was at Campbelltown train station, selling lollies for $10 an hour,” she tells InStyle. “I obviously don't condone this for kids now, but I would sometimes take the day off school to work an eight hour shift at Campbelltown train station and that would mean I’d have $80 to go and spend at Glebe markets. I would spend every single dollar to buy vintage jeans or a new jacket or whatever I could get my hands on with that much cash. And then I would shoot it back in Campbelltown and I would upload it to Instagram and it would just be like, rinse and repeat. So that's how my love for fashion began.”

“I would spend every single dollar to buy vintage jeans or a new jacket or whatever I could get my hands on.”

TOP: HERMÈS jacket, $10,840, shorts, $10,050, and shoes, $4075, LONGINES watch, $3075; TOP LEFT: CHANEL top, $4580, jumpsuit, $7690, and belt, $9110; TOP RIGHT: FERRAGAMO sweater, $3050, and briefs, POA, LONGINES watch, $2625; BOTTOM: GUCCI top, $2250, pants, $4250, and bag, $5720

She dropped out of school in year 10 and attended her first international fashion week when she was 16, travelling to New York with her two best friends. “We all slept in one bed,” she remembers with a laugh. “One of my friends was an aspiring stylist, so she was styling me, and the other one of my friends was an aspiring hair and makeup artist, so she would do my hair and makeup every day. I had no idea what I was doing, but I would just rock up to these shows and I would just be so grateful to be there, even if it was standing. I just wanted to be there and see it all happen before my eyes.”

Today, the 25-year-old is one of the most sought-after models and content creators in Australian fashion. She’s an influencer in the original sense of the word: when she wears something, people add to cart. And this past fashion month, anyone who was paying close attention would have noticed Ellen wearing the same watch throughout: the Longines Mini DolceVita. The latest release from the Swiss watchmaker, the slim stainless steel watch has quickly attained cult status, beloved by A-listers such as Jennifer Lawrence and cool New York It girls like Brynn Wallner alike. “I just don't wanna take it off,” Ellen enthuses, visibly lighting up when conversation veers to her timepiece. Ellen’s been a Longines Ambassador since May 2022, but has a nostalgic association with the watchmaker. “My dad used to love sports and as a child, I remember watching the Commonwealth Games with him on the telly and seeing Longines as the official timekeeper,” she explains. “Last year I actually had the pleasure of joining Longines at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which was a full circle moment for me. When I was there, I got to meet the Longines timekeepers and I was just mesmerised with the tech that goes into the timekeeping. It was super impressive to learn about.”

But her love of the Mini DolceVita is undeniable. “I love that the watch draws inspiration from the glamour of the 1920s, but in this very contemporary way, which makes it feel modern and timeless simultaneously,” she says. “When I look down at the DolceVita, I don't just see a watch. I see over a century of watchmaking expertise and innovation and knowing that the brand has such a rich heritage makes it all the more beautiful and luxurious to wear.” A personal highlight for the model was attending the Longines party in New York City, where Jennifer Lawrence officially unveiled the Mini DolceVita. “It was a gorgeous evening.”

Beyond fashion, Ellen’s pursuing other creative interests. At the beginning of 2023 she presented her first solo exhibition as an artist. Titled and this is your room, it explored Ellen’s fascination with colour therapy and marked a new phase of her career. “It was one of the most nerve wracking and exciting projects I've ever worked on,” she says. Her love of painting is close to home. “My earliest memory with painting began in my grandmother's garage,” she recalls. “She lived out in the country in a little town called Hillston. And I remember just walking into her garage and being so mesmerised by all of the colours and the landscapes that she painted. She was an incredible painter and that really inspired me to start painting.”

TOP: HERMÈS jacket, $10,840, shorts, $10,050, and shoes, $4075, LONGINES watch, $3705; TOP LEFT: CHANEL top, $4580, jumpsuit, $7690, and belt, $9110; TOP RIGHT: FERRAGAMO sweater, $3050, and briefs, POA, LONGINES watch, $2625; BOTTOM: GUCCI top, $2250, pants, $4250, and bag, $5720

“I just wanted to be there and see it all happen before my eyes.”

TOP LEFT: CELINE jacket, $5300, top, $1350, pants, $4250, and shoes, $2950; TOP RIGHT: LOUIS VUITTON dress, $10,600, LONGINES watch, $6525 HAIR Michele McQuillan MAKEUP Molly Warkentin

She’s also started acting again. In 2016, she had her first and last on-screen role, playing the child of Australia’s most beloved TV couple: Scott and Charlene Robinson (Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue) in Neighbours. “They actually wanted me to come on the show as Sarah Ellen,” she says. “Then when I met with the team there, when I mentioned to them that I wanted to take acting a bit more seriously, they offered me the role of Kylie’s daughter, which was obviously the dream role to have.” She was in the soap for six months before she left to follow her fashion pursuits. “It wasn’t because I lost my love for acting, it's just, you know, sometimes life takes you in a bit of a different direction, but lately I've ignited my love for acting again. And so I've been taking auditions and I'm really excited to see where that takes me.”

No doubt, wherever it leads, she’ll be a long way from the lolly stand at Campbelltown station.

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Editor-in-Chief
JUSTINE CULLEN
Managing Editor
ELLE GLASS
Executive Editor
LAURA AGNEW
Creative Director
HANNAH MARTIN
Fashion Director
RACHEL WAYMAN
Commercial Director
NICOLE CORFE
Associate Editor
KATHRYN MADDEN
Digital Editor
COURTNEY THOMPSON
Market Editor
ANNIE DOIG
Content Writer
MAEVE GALEA
Content Writer
NONI REGINATO
National Partnerships Manager
ANNIKA ROSE
National Sales Manager
ANALISE GATTELARO
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GRACE HANNAH
Junior Advertising & Sales Executive
JULIE WILLIAMS
Editorial & Advertising Coordinator
DELANEY ASHTON
Publisher and
CEO
SIMON BOOKALLIL
COO
DAVID ASTWOOD
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