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Dominique Elissa Faludi on how Instagram set off her modelling career and the challenges she has faced along the way

Famous models like Kate Moss, Elle Macpherson and Gisele Bündchen were scouted off the streets or approached modelling agencies themselves with the dream of gracing the covers of magazines or strutting the catwalk. But this is no longer the case. Now it is more likely for models like 22-year old beauty – Dominique Elissa Faludi – to be scouted through Instagram. The star who now has over 100,000 Instagram followers, talks us through her battle with body image and how Instagram helped her achieve her dreams.

By Venice Warner and Brooke Burns

Dominique out enjoying the Bondi sun before heading off to an afternoon shoot.

Flushed with embarrassment, Dominique Faludi recalls her primary school white lie – “I had a shoot yesterday”. Cupping her face as she attempts to control her laughter, Dominique confesses to applying blush and bronzer for the school day ahead in hope of convincing her peers that she still had some “leftover make-up on” from yesterday’s sham photoshoot.

Desperate to be in front of the camera from a young age, a career in the modelling industry was always something that Dominique had in mind. It was the “creative lifestyle” and “putting on a character” that interested Dominique from a young age.

Despite her passion to be photographed, Coogee-local Dominique found it hard to break into the modelling industry and was turned away when she approached various modelling agencies. But when Dominique started posting on Instagram, did this dream begin to flourish for the aspiring model, with Chic Management scouting her off the social platform three years ago.

“…People told me I should model from when I was quite young so it was in my head that maybe it was something I could do, but I think Instagram really made it a reality,” the social media star says.

Her posts sparked interest and brands like Sabo Skirt, Verge Girl, Runway Scout and Mirror Boutique, approached her to model for them. Only recently, Dominque was approached by iconic Australian surf label ‘Billabong’ to model their new swimwear range with the prospect of becoming the new face of their 2018 collection.

“The way it started was brands would send me stuff and I would post, and then they would repost so then their followers would see it,” Dominique says.

Dominique has struggled with body image from a young age and despite being sought after by swimwear brands nationally she still faces challenges in the public eye. Pressured by the ideals of what a model should look like, Dominique found herself on the cusp of danger as she battled with serious weight loss in the early stages of her career.

“Of course it really boosts your confidence when you’ve got people writing all these lovely comments about you,” she says. “But I do think being a model influencer means you always have pressure on you to look a certain way… it’s just the nature of it.”

Dominique embracing a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Since this darker period of her life has passed, Dominique has become an advocate for clean eating and exercise, and aims to inspire others through her health focused Instagram posts.

“I know a lot of young girls follow me and I don’t want them to think you have to starve yourself or anything just because you’re a model. It’s important that they know I eat clean, I train hard, I’m super healthy,” the Instagram model says. “Just for your mental health I like to promote going for a morning walk, I like to promote eating your greens, just little things that girls need to be aware of.”

Dominique believes that social media influencers are valuable to modern society, as they have the opportunity to challenge unethical social media practices, which may give girls unrealistic body perceptions.

“I argue with a lot of people because many use Photoshop and Facetune themselves, and I never do it because first of all I never want to meet someone and them to say I look different in real life,” she says. “And secondly these girls are beautiful how they are, and they are doing the wrong thing. They’re making people believe that their waist can be that small and their booty that big, and a lot of the time that is Photoshopped…I think people should put a disclosure or something.”

Dominique enjoying some downtime after a full day’s work.

Despite her push for health and authenticity, Dominique has had to deal with criticism over the years. One of the worst times was two years ago when she received huge backlash over her weight in an image she posted on Instagram.

“I was a bit skinnier and people were going crazy, that wasn’t funny that was just intense,” she says. “It just shows your followers actually care about you, and if they’ve followed you from day dot they’ve seen your journey and they get really like involved when you post certain things, and that was a big eye opener to me.”

One way Dominique deals with the criticism and pressure is through support from her friends and family, especially her mum who she recognises as her role model.

“She works her arse off, she’s got three jobs at the moment and she still cooks for the family and does everyone’s washing,” Dominique says of her beloved mother. “Like she is super mum. So whenever I go to complain I just think no, she’s doing so much more than me.”

Just like her mum, Dominique is a busy woman. She flies to different locations almost every week for photoshoots, and there is no chance of her slowing down anytime soon.

“I’m going to LA in August next year so that’s my big plan, and I just want to tap into a new market and build my following in the States as well…I’m super excited to see where it goes,” she says.

Dominique struts into the studio with blusher and bronzer on her face, ready for her next photoshoot. Only this time, she doesn’t have to pretend like in primary school; she has been booked to model for yet another brand.

For some fresh insights into Dominique Elissa Faludi’s life, listen to a snippet of our interview with her below.