Photos by Casey Zhang
It's hard to find just one word to describe filmmaker and activist Elyse Fox. She's the rare combination of smarts, beauty, creativity, and raw vulnerability that inspires everyone who crosses her path. Elyse founded her non-profit Sad Girls Club in 2017 with the goal of ending the stigma around mental health and creating a safe space for young people to speak openly and honestly about their own struggles. We had the chance to talk with Elyse at with her at her home in Brooklyn right before she welcomed the newest addition to her family, a beautiful baby boy Basel.
We’re so impressed with the movement you have created with Sad Girls Club (SGC) and everything you do to create an inclusive space to talk about mental health. How has starting SGC affected your daily routine and outlook on both physical and mental wellness? What advice do you have for someone looking to start a self-care routine as they navigate their own mental health challenges?
Since creating Sad Girls Club, both my physical and mental routine have strengthened. With so little time in the day and an ever-changing schedule, I began to enjoy a bit of structure in my life. My skincare routine, for example, is a non-negotiable. As far as my mental health goes, I’m literally useless if I don’t care for my mental health. Creating a company that focuses on the importance of mental health motivates me to make sure I’m stable enough to run the company successfully. Visual reminders are especially helpful and motivating. I like to write down my routine on a dry erase board that’s pretty unavoidable. Another suggestion is to take it slowly and don’t overload yourself! Add to your self care list and daily routine slowly. Lastly, be kind to yourself. You won’t be 100% all the time and that’s okay.
You recently became a mother –– congrats and hi Basel! –– in what way has your beauty routine changed since becoming a new mom? Are there any products that remained constant or you introduced throughout your pregnancy?
Yes! Motherhood is incredibly fun, but I’ve had to really prioritize my beauty routine since having a child. I rarely have two free hands these days so timing is everything. In the past I would spend 5-8 minutes on my beauty routine, now I have about 2 minutes each morning. Two all year products I use and love are Peet Rivko’s face oil and also Mario Badescu seaweed night cream.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me beauty is ever changing. When I became a mom I had to totally switch up my routine and rediscover a new approach. Right now, I’m learning to love my natural wild eyebrows and lashes.
As a skincare brand that values simplicity and the quality of our ingredients, we always crave natural and plant-based alternatives. What does living naturally look like to you and your family?
I’m a big fan of preparing 99% of my meals. I try to avoid eating out as much as possible. I’m vegetarian and my man is plant-based which helps us feel a bit better about the destruction of the planet. I’m also a huge plant lady, I stole a clipping of my best friends aloe plant and use it as a face mask and to smooth my skin after shaving.
Can you tell us how you balance being an activist and a creative? How have you channeled your creative interests in a way that supports your activism or vice versa?
I feel my creativity and activism go hand-in-hand. My main goal is to figure out relatable ways for people to navigate their mental health. I use my love of film, photography and post production to normalize the conversation.
We love watching your relationship and partnership with Kelvin on social media. Do you have any advice for couples that collaborate creatively? How has working together on Sad Girls Club and Sad Boys Club strengthened or changed your partnership?
Only do it if it feels right! Most of our artistic collaborations aren’t planned. Oddly enough, we’ve never collaborated on a project while in the same room. Typically I’ll see or hear something he’s created or is currently working on and become inspired to create a complementary piece. I never want to force it. Working together on Sad Boys Club has for sure strengthened our partnership. It’s been an interesting learning experience navigating business and our relationship. Setting boundaries helps.
Favorite outdoor space in NYC:
Favorite art medium:
Always with me:
Camcorder (& Basel)
A baggy dress with pockets
Best advice you’ve received:
“If you’re unhappy, leave.”
Go-to subway playlist:
A lil R&B, trap, Homeshake and Pierre Bourne
A place everyone needs to visit:
Most effective stress-reliever:
Journal & pen, lip balm, water, a book I swear I’m going to read.
Best advice for new moms:
You’re doing amazing! Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, no mom is perfect.