Fresh-faced, without a scrap of makeup, hair still damp from the shower, Elyse Knowles is the picture of Byron Bay bliss as she welcomes WHO into her home.
WATCH: Elyse Knowles and Josh Barker answer questions about their relationship
Offering cold water from the fridge, the model and winner of The Block, who looks better and happier than she ever has, tells everyone to “chuck your stuff wherever” as she prepares for the exclusive WHO photo shoot. As her gorgeous grey Weimaraner dogs, Isla and Harlow, both lollop up onto a plush couch, which could have been ripped straight out of a home-design magazine, it’s clear this is a pretty easygoing household.
“We’re a lot more clear-headed here and living the best life we can,” Knowles tells Just three months after moving from Melbourne to Byron Bay with long-term boyfriend Josh Barker, the gorgeous blonde says her life has completely changed.
WATCH: Elyse Knowles and Josh Barker talk moving to Byron Bay
“We’re in this really positive state and I think we kind of got in a little bit of a rut in Melbourne,” she says. “We have a lot more time for each other. Every night we like to go see the sun set and we like to talk about our day.”
Having first met in Byron six years ago, the couple made the decision to move their lives – and their building business, J & E Projects – to the coastal NSW town and completely overhaul their existence. And it’s pretty obvious that life in Byron Bay agrees with Knowles!
Showing off her enviable figure in WHO’s exclusive shoot at their Byron home, the 26-year-old admits that these days she spends most of her time exercising or visiting the local farmers markets.
“I love exercising and feeling the burn the next day,” she says. “There’s so many different things to do here. I love going outside and getting active.”
The Myer ambassador even has a gym underneath the home she and Josh are renting from friends while they hunt for their dream house.
Speaking candidly about their new life in the seaside town, an engagement announcement, mental-health battles, surfing with Chris Hemsworth and the secret to their relationship, Knowles and Barker open up like never before.
WATCH: Elyse Knowles and Josh Barker describe their perfect date night
Is it true you guys were living out of a van for a while?
Elyse Knowles: No, no. It was a whole lot of junk that someone made up.
How long have you been in Byron?
Josh Barker: I’ve been here four months, and Elyse has been here for three. I came up and I had to meet the truck up here, and Elyse had a few jobs that she had to tie over.
Knowles: Joshy couldn’t wait any longer! I had a few jobs that I had to sign off ...
Barker: You hated it.
Why was it so bad?
Knowles: I was living in our Albert Park [Melbourne] house on the ground with no furniture, no nothing. I had running water and a mattress on the ground. And then I had to put the mattress and pillows in a bag and take them up with me on my flight up here. It was pretty funny.
Elyse, recently you have been open on Instagram about your tough journey with your skin. Why did you want to share that?
Knowles: Because it’s real and I like showing a real side to our lives. I think it’s something that I’m vulnerable about and it’s something I’ve had issues with for such a long time, and I can’t get a hold of it. But that’s the thing, skin’s my thing and other people have their issues. That’s life, and no-one is perfect. I think it’s just showcasing the real you and it’s telling girls, especially growing up in this social-media life, that they don’t have to show their best versions of their lives all the time. People can relate to you more if you’re real.
Elyse, do you get guys sliding into your DMs?
Knowles: Oh yeah, you do get some wild DMs, but it’s pretty laughable, to be honest. You get some good chuckles out of it.
What’s the secret to making your relationship work?
Barker: You’re going to have fights, everyone has fights, just let each other vent and then you get over it pretty quick, at least I do – Elyse, she holds grudges!
Knowles: Having time for one another and taking time away from work, switching off technology and going for long walks and appreciating the outdoors and the environment. Soaking in the fresh air and actually talking to each other. Letting each other do what they love, makes you happy. Josh loves surfing. I love...
Knowles: Exercising, and?
Barker: Chai lattes.
What do you love most about each other?
Knowles: I love that Josh supports me even though he really, really doesn’t like photo shoots. He doesn’t like this industry. It’s a lot sometimes. He understands but gets me out of that zone and gets me to the real Elyse.
Barker: Elyse’s determination, hard work and morals are the best things about her.
Josh, when are you going to pop the question?
Barker: I get this question all the time!
Knowles: Dude, he’s not thinking about that. He’s thinking about business.
What’s stopping you, Josh?
Barker: Oh, I think we’ve just both got separate dreams and ambitions and stuff that we want to achieve together. And I think ...
Knowles: There’s no rush.
Barker: It’s not gonna change anything.
Knowles: Yeah. Apart from the ring …
Barker: Other than the ring, that’s it. And a bit of paper that you’d get and end up putting in your bloody side drawer. I’ve had so much outside pressure but I’ll do it when I’m ready.
Is there pressure from your families?
Barker: Elyse’s sister. She’s like, “Come on, man.”
Knowles: She’s funny. She’s decided she’s planning the wedding.
For the full interview pick up the latest issue of Who!