The lights, the cameras, the makeup and the glamorous clothing—the idea of a modeling career is one of sparkle, travel and excitement. Two local women have taken their talents for making clothes and beauty products look great to the international stage.
We first spoke to West Chester natives Leah and Erin Eliopulos four years ago about the launch of their modeling careers and their anti-bullying advocacy work. Since then, Leah and Erin have grown their careers substantially, modeling for some of the most glamorous and exciting brands in the world.
“Over the last few years I’ve been given the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people and add jobs to my portfolio that I only dreamed of when I was younger,” says Leah Eliopulos.
One highlight has been her entry into working with beauty brands, modeling makeup and other products. She really enjoys the opportunity to work for a recognizable brand and make the shoot her own.
“I’ve learned that I enjoy beauty work! I love jobs where I can feel free-spirited and show off my personality. Beauty editorials allow me to express myself in a way that I feel is very genuine. These sort of jobs tend to be more light-hearted and smiley—which I love,” says Leah. “A brand that I was given the opportunity to work with was Glossier. The energy and sense of family on set was something I’ll never forget. I formed a bond from the first job I booked with them and went on to do numerous shoots for the brand.”
The past few months of 2020 have been a challenge to the standard processes of styling and shooting photographs for fashion and beauty brands. Leah and Erin have both experienced changes to the status quo.
“Modeling is a very social and intimate job, so it was definitely put on hold right when everything got very serious and shut down,” explains Erin. “I’ve had two jobs since COVID-19, and it’s changed so much, to where we cannot eat lunch together, and we wear masks.”
“Along with the new rules, there are a limited amount of in-person shoots going on at the moment—so brands have been sending models products, and we have been photographing ourselves at home with the help of our family members,” says Leah. “It’s interesting to do everything yourself, and there are challenges of course, but it’s very rewarding.”
While they both have their own career paths, Erin and Leah offer some natural advantages when booked together, and they’ve chosen to model in the same shoots a variety of times.
“It’s always a lot of fun on set since we have that natural chemistry of being sisters so the pictures always turn out very organic and give off a relaxed vibe,” says Leah. “I admire Erin’s natural ability to mold herself into whatever character she’s trying to portray for the shoot. She’s extremely versatile and her kind nature really shows through in all the work she does.”
Erin also sees how they naturally play off each other in shoots together.
“What I like about Leah’s modeling style is she makes me be a little bit more serious and more professional because sometimes I can goof off a little too much,” says Erin.
While it isn’t uncommon to see photographs of Erin and Leah dressed to the nines in serious haute couture shoots, they both know how to enjoy a casual Friday.
“My personal style has always been very relaxed. For me, it’s all about comfort. I love sweatpants and vintage tees. The majority of my outfits are thrifted, minus the basics,” says Leah. “I wear a lot of gold jewelry so I think that always elevates whatever outfit I decide to put on. But the most important thing to always have, with whatever you are wearing, is confidence. To me, that’s what makes an outfit.”
Erin echoes her sentiment that comfort is key, saying that her own go-to outfit is a t-shirt and a pair of vintage Levi’s, along with some layered jewelry.
They both have continued to have a passion for advocacy work, and they still have their anti-bullying scholarship project from years past. Erin has found new outlets as well for her interests in helping others.
“I’ve learned that I love to work for women-led companies and diverse companies that stand for a great cause,” says Erin. “Working and meeting with these teams often doesn’t even feel like work, and I gain friendships. It makes me feel fulfilled in what I do.”
Erin and Leah may be living the New York City lifestyle most days, but they haven’t forgotten their West Chester roots.
“My sister and I come home often to see friends and family, so we’re always out and about in the area,” says Erin. “West Chester will always be home to us. We will never forget the community that created so many fond memories in our childhood.”