Growing up in Sweden, Elsa was presented with offers to model during high school after her father submitted photographs to three modeling agencies in Sweden when she was 13, Elsa was accepted in all three agencies; she began modeling at 14. She did some modeling in high school (including some campaigns for GUESS) but decided to primarily concentrate on her studies instead.
(Elsa’s first Guess Campaign for 2006, shot by Yu Tsai)
After graduating, she decided to pursue a career in the Swedish women’s basketball league. Elsa has commented that the level of play in the Swedish professional basketball league was not on par with the WNBA, and that interest in the sport was not as great in Sweden as in the United States. Although she ultimately abandoned professional basketball for modeling, Elsa has said that the intense rigor of practices and travel helped prepare her for the physical and travel demands of the modeling world.
(Young Elsa when she first moved to NYC)
After playing professional basketball for two years, she began receiving many job offers and soon moved to New York City to begin modeling full-time. Some writers have speculated that her work with Victoria’s Secret was what brought her into the top tier fashion world, but Elsa has said it was her work with Guess what opened doors for her, she was featured in multiple campaigns for the brand since 2006 with Spring/Summer 2012 being her most recent GUESS campaign.
She is ranked 18th on the Top Sexiest Models list by models.com. In 2011 Elsa started working for Victoria’s Secret and became the spokesperson for their PINK line up until 2014, when she was given a full Angel contract and walked a segment outside PINK for the first time in the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Elsa works to support the anti-human-trafficking organization, FAIR Girls. She became interested in the issue after seeing the movie The Whistleblower, which dealt with issues of sex trafficking.
Elsa is the daughter of father Pål and mother Marja. She has two siblings, a younger brother Lukas and older brother Johan. Her cousin, Alice Herbst, is also a model and she won Sweden’s Next Top Model in 2012.
(Elsa with her father at the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show After-Party)