Model Emily DiDonato Balances a Booming Career and a Grueling Course Load

by Eddie Roche

IMG model and recent newlywed Emily DiDonato fills us in on how she got ready to walk down the aisle, where she met her man, hitting the books again, and more.

It’s not every day we interview a New York–bred model. Where’s your hometown?
I’m from Beacon, New York, 50 miles north of Manhattan. It’s a small town, very cute, and not too far from NYC — my dad worked in the city as a firefighter — but I didn’t really grow up going into the city.

Where do you spend your summer weekends?
Last summer, we rented a house in Sag Harbor, and sometimes, we go upstate. This summer, I’ll be on my honeymoon, so we won’t be spending as much time out East. Eventually, I’d love to have a house out here. I just love how peaceful it is, and the serenity of being near the water.

(Matt Easton)

KENNETH JAY LANE earrings; stylist’s own shirt

Are you still into camping?
Definitely. I love being active in nature, whether it’s hiking, mountain biking, going for a walk in the woods, or playing in the grass. It’s necessary as an offset to living in Manhattan.

You’re a newlywed — congrats!
Thanks! We got married in Beaver Creek, because my husband [Kyle Peterson] and I met on a flight to Colorado, and we ski there every year.

(Matt Easton)

SASKIA DIEZ necklace

Wait — you met on a flight?
I was flying to Vail, Colorado, to shoot the cover of Vogue Australia, and Kyle was flying for a work ski trip — we sat next to each other on the plane. Halfway through, we started talking and had a great conversation. I thought he was very cute. He’s also from upstate New York, and we lived one block away from each other, which was really weird. He knew my best friend. It was just a really funny turn of events. I could tell that he was a really good guy. We exchanged numbers, and got together a few weeks later in New York. We’ve pretty much been together ever since, which was about four and a half years ago.

(Matt Easton)


You’re a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue regular. How do you stay in swimsuit shape year-round?
To be totally transparent, I’m not in perfect swimsuit shape all the time. The truth is, it takes effort, thought, and planning to be ready for something like Sports Illustrated. Staying like that all year round would be ideal, but it doesn’t happen! I’m human; I go up and down. But if I have a big shoot coming up, I’m really regimented. I’ll bring my own food to set, and make sure I work out in the morning.

(Matt Easton)

TSE sweater; AMANDA pearl earrings

What’s your diet like?
I’m technically a nutritionist, but they call it a health coach. I lean toward a Paleo diet: I’m not super strict, but typically, I have chicken or fish, and some sweet potato and grains. For carbs, I stick to things like sweet potatoes and squash. I don’t really do grains, rice, or bread. I also drink wine here and there.

(Matt Easton)

JOSEPH top; ERES underwear

You signed with Maybelline New York in 2009. How’s that relationship?
It’s collaborative, comfortable, and gratifying. I feel like I’ve really grown up with the brand. People from Maybelline came to my wedding. They had to be there! I’ve known them since I was in high school; it’s crazy.

(Matt Easton)

TSE sweater; AMANDA pearl earrings

Favorite Maybelline products?
The Fit Me powder foundation, the Colossal mascara, the Brow Drama, and the SuperStay lipsticks.

Do you get a kick out of seeing photos of yourself in the makeup aisle?
I do, but it’s not about me; it’s fun to see the finished campaigns. I get more of a kick out of seeing commercials on TV. My parents love it!

(Matt Easton)

ERES underwear; KENNETH JAY LANE earrings; stylist’s own shirt

You also go to Columbia part-time!
I started last fall, and I’m only taking two to three classes per semester. Right now, I’m exploring, getting through core classes, and taking classes that I find interesting — psychology, sociology, statistics, writing. It’s been the most challenging but by far the most gratifying thing I’ve done in the past couple of years.

Photography by Matt Easton
Styling by Anya Ziourova
Makeup by Misha Shahzada for Maybelline New York
Hair by Kenna for MoroccanOil

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1 comment

Doug King July 15, 2018 - 1:02 PM

Looking great


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