Ella Halikas’ Journey to Success in Fashion and Social Media

by Tom White

In an industry often defined by impossible standards, Ella Halikas emerges as a force reshaping the narrative of beauty and success. From her humble beginnings as a waitress in San Francisco to gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue within a mere year, Ella’s journey is a testament to resilience and self-belief.

Today, we have the privilege of delving into the remarkable trajectory of Ella Halikas, a self-made curve model whose presence on TikTok and Instagram resonates with authenticity and empowerment. Based in Los Angeles, Ella’s magnetic charm and unwavering confidence have earned her a loyao following and a platform to champion body positivity.

Join us as we engage in an intimate conversation with Ella, where she shares the highs and lows of her journey in the fashion industry. From overcoming rejection to embracing her unique identity, Ella offers invaluable insights for aspiring models and social media enthusiasts alike. Ella Halikas, a trailblazer challenging norms and paving the way for inclusivity and acceptance, invites us to join her on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

  1. What made you want to get started in the fashion industry and did you have any inspirations?

Whenever I was modeling recreationally living in Hawaii, I felt a sense of purpose and a greater need for representation and inclusivity in the industry. It was during the rise of plus size models, where I truly felt there was space for me and my talents to bring a fresh new perspective into this industry. My greatest inspiration is Ashley Graham and what she’s built for herself and others through her work. She truly paved the way for size inclusivity, and was a trailblazer within the plus size/curve community. Other inspirations I had would include: Paloma Elsesser, Precious Lee, and Tara Lynn– to name a few.

  1. What were some of your roadblocks of trying to break into the fashion industry and how did you overcome them?

Firstly, the roadblocks are never ending and I still encounter them daily. One being, when I continued to get told ‘no’ for one of my biggest dreams of shooting for Sports Illustrated, for three consecutive years in a row. I overcame that roadblock though by staying consistent and keeping my eyes on the goal throughout all of the years of rejection. I truly believe in never giving up on your dreams, no matter how many no’s you get along the way. Another major obstacle was finding the right modeling agency for the last three years now. From rejection, being released, and leaving numerous agencies… I finally found the perfect fit for myself at Ford Models NYC. There have been a ton more roadblocks that I’ve encountered, but you’ll just have to wait for my future book to come out, to learn about those! 😉

Image by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, YuTsai

  1. What are some tips for models starting out or people who might want to start a career in fashion and social media?

My tips for models starting out would be to stay consistent, be creative, and have grit. This industry is super challenging so I believe you have to find a greater sense of purpose and your ‘why’ for choosing this career. Also, I would advise to collaborate with as many creatives and brands as possible to self build your portfolio. Then I would use that to apply to various agencies, and stay persistent with the process. My biggest tip for those who want to start a career in social media, is to find something that they are most passionate about and stay consistent with it. Always stay true to yourself and stay creative– this is how you build a strong community online!

  1. What was the defining moment in your fashion career and do you have any goals that you’re still looking to achieve?

A few defining moments in my career are shooting with Sports Illustrated after three years of rejection, signing with my dream agency at Ford Models, and attending my first Golden Globes Awards Show just last month! One big goal of mine is to shoot for the cover of Vogue Greece because my background is 100% Greek-American, and would be an iconic full-circle moment for me. Another goal of mine is to give a Ted Talk on delusional confidence and how I manifest my dreams to reality. I would also love to get signed to a modeling agency intentionally as well. There are a ton more goals that I’m looking to achieve–I truly feel like I’m just getting started.

  1. Have you experienced any negativity in the fashion industry and what would you say to any critics?

I’ve definitely received negativity and body shaming both in the fashion industry and on social media. From being told I’m either too small or too big, from various agents and brands.. I’m also constantly critiqued online for my physical appearance and size. I would tell critics that I hope they find their own self worth and confidence, and to not project their own insecurities onto others. I know deep down that others’ hate comments are not a true reflection of me, but rather themselves.

  1. What has been your most positive and rewarding experience throughout your career?

I’m fortunate enough to have a long list of positive and rewarding experiences throughout my career but there are a few that stand out to me most. One being, when I not only met my role model Ashley Graham, but finally having the opportunity to sit and get lunch with her just last month, was something I will always remember. Aside from the lunch, it was an unbelievable experience to witness my role model publicly acknowledge me at a Good American Panel event, for all of my hard work and success in this industry.  Another being, this incredible community that I’ve built to almost one million followers now– who I’m able to connect, inspire, and grow with daily. It’s been truly an amazing experience to bring my supporters along on this journey with me all these years now– through all the ups and downs. Although, my biggest reward has been my ability to help inspire others to love themselves and find their true self-worth and confidence.

  1. What are some of your favorite brands to work with and do you have any brands you want specifically to work with still?

One of my favorite brands to work with is Good American. I love their core brand values and authentic mission to be inclusive and diverse. I love their whole team and what they stand for, and not to mention they’ve completely revolutionized the denim industry. Also, I’ve been loving working with more beauty brands lately! I’ve really enjoyed working with Tarte Cosmetics and witnessing the owner, Maureen’s, generosity on frequently giving back to their community. I’m so inspired by all the brands run by such powerful women CEOs that I’m lucky enough to know and work with. There are many brands that I would still love to work with, and further my current collaborations with as well. For example, I’d love to continue working with Skims, Savage X Fenty, Under Armour, and Herve Leger– to name a few. Although, I would love to partner and model for more high fashion, beauty, and fragrance brands in the coming years– to really advocate for the importance of inclusivity within designer brands.

Image by Nick Suarez

  1. What’s next for you and where can we find you?

Currently, I’m working on getting settled into my new dream apartment here in LA, while also planning some fun travels coming up as well! This week, I’m excited to be modeling for Under Armour in New York City, and next week I’m headed to the Caribbean for a fun brand trip with Kopari Beauty! I’m really looking to further my modeling and social media career this year— to become more of a spokesperson and ambassador for various brands that I work with. I’m getting more into speaking as well, and working towards one of my dreams of giving a Ted Talk hopefully soon one day. Lastly, I’m working on connecting more intimately with my audience to really help push them to become the best versions of themselves and unlock their full potential. Thank you for allowing me the space to share more of my journey with you all. You can always find me on Instagram and TikTok @ellahalikas; I look forward to chatting with you all more soon! Sending you love and confidence!! xx-Ella

Presented by APG

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1 comment

Nancy Mercy March 16, 2024 - 1:45 PM

Love these designs and inspiration.


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