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The Harvard Master’s Student Elle

What do you think of when you hear the word “doctor” or “surgeon?” Somebody in a lab coat or scrubs with a stethoscope around their neck? Try a 5’11” beautiful women with endless legs. I had the pleasure of working with Elle a few weeks ago. She is a surgical resident from Ottawa, Canada, spending her summer at Harvard for her Masters degree. Below is our brief interview. For projects and shoot, you can contact her via her ModelMayhem page.


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iLHP: Hi Elle, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself first? 

Elle: I’m an African-Canadian and I am currently completing my medical training in Canada. I’m a foodie, music lover and I love to travel whenever I can!

iLHP: Model, MD! What a rare breed! You mentioned you were originally from Ottawa, what drew you to Boston? 
Elle: Boston has a lot of great options for graduate school programs which is helpful since I’m pursuing a masters degree. It’s also a fantastic city for its food, music and history which is an added bonus.
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iLHP: Are you focusing in any specialized area of practice?

Elle: Surgery. I actually find surgery a balance of art and science which really appealed to me. It’s technically challenging and the fine detail of it can make it a stunning craft.

iLHP: Very cool. Again, just like the Ari the bio engineering student we had last week, medicine is quite a departure from the creative arts and photography isn’t it? What draws you to modeling? 

Elle: I have always loved art and still love sketching when I have the time. But modeling can often be an under-appreciated fine arts medium. I find it offers a really unique form of artistic expression.

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iLHP: Have you been modeling for a while now? 

Elle: On and off for years but really more consistently in the last couple year.

iLHP: What were some of your favorite shoots? Beside your shoot with me of course 😉 

Elle: I don’t think I can pick a favorite! I love the creative element of photography and much of that comes from the unique effect that each photographer, set, makeup artist or designer brings to the photoshoot. They’ve all been amazing in different ways.

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iLHP: Is any aspect of modeling you want to try but haven’t yet? 

Elle: I’ve always been curious about underwater photo shoots. I’ve heard they can be really challenging for both the model and photographer but always end up making some breathtaking images.

iLHP: I’ve actually done an underwater shoot. Not behind the camera but in front of it! It’s definitely challenging but a lot of fun at the same time too. It helps when you know how to swim, which I don’t. Haha. Is there anyone famous or otherwise that you’d like to work with? 

Elle: Ah there’s so many people. I still have a lot to learn and I love having the opportunity to work with different people from the sheer experience it brings. I grew up watching America’s Next Top Model and always loved watching Tyra Banks at work. Not too many models get the chance to work on both sides of the camera so I think working with her offers a really great perspective that would help develop your skill as a model.

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iLHP: Haha me too, America’s NTM is one of the only reality shows that I do watch. I think Tyra is a great role model because she knows how tough the industry can be yet she is so encouraging. What tip would you give to a photographer starting out in portrait photography?

Elle: The key to any great relationship is communication and the model-photographer relationship is no exception. Each flash of the camera is the potential for a great photo so never waste an opportunity at the hands of artistic misunderstanding. Keep the channels of communication open and you’re guaranteed a beautiful photograph.

iLHP: Great, thanks for the interview Elle! Any parting tip for models or photographers wanting to give portrait photography a try? 

Elle: Be an expert on yourself inside and out before you walk on a set. It’s the best way to contribute to the creative process and ensures you give the photographer the best side of you.