Elyse Fox is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, mental health advocate, and founder of Sad Girls Club, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating community and diminishing stigma around mental health, especially for BIPOC. As a proud single working mother of one—an adorable son named Basel—Elyse is known for speaking honestly about postpartum depression, body image, exhaustion, and other struggles that come with modern motherhood. As an advocate and model, she has collaborated with Olay Beauty, Bumble, Harvard University, Instagram, and Nike, and she continues to lend her platform to amplify BIPOC voices and causes. We spoke to her about community building, scaling Sad Girls Club, and the challenges of adjusting to motherhood’s transformations.
Elyse, you radiate confidence and poise — but you also show us your vulnerable side through Sad Girls Club. Tell us about the mental and emotional place in life you were in when you started Sad Girls Club on Instagram.
I was in a really dark place in 2016. I just exited an awful relationship, moved from Los Angeles to New York after five years, and was broke as hell. Once I was back home in Brooklyn, I began filming everything I experienced—from parties to concerts to personal conversations with my friends. I released the film in 2016 as a way to show my close tribe that, yes, I may be doing all of this cool stuff, but inside, I’m struggling with depression. Once the film was released, I received waves of positive feedback from young women around the world who saw themselves in my story and wanted to become more vocal about their mental health experiences. From there, Sad Girls Club was born. I want SGC to be a place where people in the BIPOC community can heal through therapy, storytelling, and in-person events at no cost to them. We want to help reduce the stigma and weighted feelings that come with mental health in many communities.
Thanks for sharing that. How do you build safe, welcoming, and diverse spaces and events—especially at scale?
From my experience, when you create something with good intentions, the world will see you and support you. Stay consistent and focus on your mission—whatever that may be.
Tell us about the resources provided by Sad Girls Club, such as Soul Sessions.
Soul Sessions is our version of group counseling. Each one-hour session is facilitated by a therapist of color, and it’s free to our community. We’re helping to provide safe and supportive spaces for the BIPOC community. During this time of uncertainty, I think people are yearning for connection and relatability.
With Sad Girls Club making waves, what inspired you to launch Sad Boys Club?
There’s so much support for women who are bettering their mental health, and we all know a guy in our lives who may be struggling, but the taboo for men to speak out is high. I created Sad Boys Club after speaking with my brother (hi Kevin!) and cousin about their mental health. We all grew up in the same home, and struggled in silence. I understand that the wellness industry targets women but we also need this space for men. Healing isn’t linear and I don’t want anyone left behind. After all, mental health isn’t specific to one gender and I want to support everyone.
You've spoken about having postpartum depression and body image issues after having Basel. How did your mental health and relationship to your body change when you became a mother?
As much as I tried to prepare for it, postpartum depression hit me hard. I was so used to having a slim body and being able to eat whatever I wanted with no physical change.
What helped the most was crying, talking to other moms, and blocking out messaging that was harmful to me as I processed this new life and chapter. I had really great conversations with the founder of Totum Women, Erin Erenberg, and other momfluencers.
We have really big plans and goals to support niche communities of color like Black men, indigenous people, the LGBTQI+ community, etc., but in order for us to move forward, we’ll need the financial support of those who see mental health as a priority and human right for all. As a non-profit, we’re powered by donations. If Sad Girls Club touches you, please support!
Tell us about balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship. How do you make sure you're taking care of yourself, your child, and your business?
I think every parent can agree that each day is different. Some days seem to fly by, while others will have you feeling like a failure. As a single mom and Basel’s best friend, I’m honestly still finding balance, especially through COVID.
Does Evereden fit into that balance at all?
I love the Soothing Baby Massage Oil because even babies deserve a spa day!
We’re happy to be there for you and Basel. What is your Eden?
My son’s room is my safe place—the colors, the décor, the smell of fresh lavender when you enter is *chef’s kiss”.