Elyse Marie Sewell was born on June 10, 1982, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is an American fashion model. She is best known for her appearance as a contestant in the first cycle of the reality television series America's Next Top Model.
She was named one of Wired Magazine's 2005's 10 Sexiest Geeks.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Elyse was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sewell obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of New Mexico. Additionally, Sewell worked as a research assistant in an evolutionary biology lab.
America's Next Top Model[edit | edit source]
Sewell's start in modeling came with her appearance on the first cycle of America's Next Top Model. Sewell was known on the show as the "edgy pre-med student". Sewell placed third, after Adrianne Curry and Shannon Stewart.
In 2005, one of her "confessional" clips from the show, in which she started a profanity-laden rant against the people on the show, earned her 16th place on E!'s Most Outrageous TV Moments. She attributes this outburst to the unusual requirement on the show to voice one's private thoughts and to soliloquize in a "confessional booth".
While on the show, she said that she would be going off to medical school if she did not win the competition.
After Top Model[edit | edit source]
Although she did not win, she carved out a successful modeling career in Asia, working mainly in Hong Kong. She has had print advertisements for Chanel and Chow Sang Sang Jewelry and appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar Hong Kong. Despite Tyra Banks' hope that Sewell would come to see that modeling was not as easy as it was often made out to be, Sewell continued to insist that it was the "easiest job in the world".
In 2004, Sewell started a LiveJournal blog about her experiences of modeling overseas. She published a book called Beauty and The Biz: The International Adventures of America's Third-to-Next Top Model in Hong Kong in 2006 based in part on her (now abandoned) blog. She appeared in multiple book signings across Hong Kong. Her other writing credits include a satirical piece for Bust Magazine on how to be a reality TV star, as well as posts for the website Lemondrop.
In a June 5, 2009 entry, Sewell wrote that she was leaving Hong Kong and returning to her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She abandoned her online journal not long after. Sewell stated on Reddit that she quit modelling in her "late 20s," and that after moving back to Albuquerque she would often go back abroad for "one last job." She now describes herself as having "totally moved on," although she still gets the occasional offer.
As of June 2015 she was reported to be working with Resilient Solutions 21, a group of advisers, planners and architects aiming to bring innovation to Albuquerque. Sewell (who now goes by her married name of Thompson) works with the company as a geospatial analyst.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Sewell was in a relationship with Martin Crandall, who was a member of the American band The Shins at the time. In January 2008, it was reported that the two were involved in a domestic dispute that resulted in both of them being arrested. She and Crandall are no longer together.
Although Sewell abandoned her LifeJournal years ago and no longer boasts a significant online presence, she recently answered a number of questions on a Reddit thread about experiences with reality television. In the thread, she was pragmatic albeit not overly critical of Top Model, stating that she did not feel it was scripted, but many situations were manipulated and the girls were subject to unnatural and often physically difficult conditions such as being denied sleep, coats and bathroom breaks, in order to make the girls more irritable and likely to snap at one another. She said that most of the challenges were highly subjective and had nothing to do with the actual modeling industry, but credited her experience on the show with launching her into the modeling world.
She was skeptical of Adrianne Curry's criticism of Tyra and Top Model, adding that while some of the prizes seemed deceptive, it was up to Adrianne (whom Sewell said "did not look like a professional model who would be likely to have success in the fashion industry on her own") to find work for herself.
Commenting on Tyra's role within the show, Sewell said Tyra was no more involved with the girls than she seemed on television, that she would often only appear for filming quick introductions. Following elimination, she had a private meeting with Banks, who encouraged her to get a publicist and leverage her appearance on the show to get work. While Sewell did not take the advice initially, she was approached by an agent following her appearance, which she says kickstarted her career.
Elyse is married and goes by her married last name of Thompson. Some eagle-eyed fans have found that she has recently had a child sometime in early 2016.