Emily DiDonato may be one of the most beautiful models in the industry, but she doesn't always feel confident. The 28-year-old model opened up to her fans about her struggles with her weight.
"It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my body," Emily wrote on an Instagram post. "I've fluctuated over the years from a double zero to a size 10 and I remember being so embarrassed and ashamed of that. I wish I was kinder to myself because I am only human but I thought models were meant to be a 00 and stay a 00...
...I was always hesitant to talk about body positivity or body diversity because I am aware being a size 6 or 8 is nothing groundbreaking but in the modeling industry, my size hasn't always been represented, celebrated or accepted. For me, feeling comfortable in my skin has taken a lot of work and effort and I wanted to share that with you guys."
I am aware being a size 6 or 8 is nothing groundbreaking but in the modeling industry, my size hasn't always been represented, celebrated or accepted.
After moving to New York at the age of 18, agencies consistently told Emily she was "too curvy," "too big," and "too athletic."
"It was a bummer," she said. "I was kind of like 'What do I need to do to succeed?' To me, to be successful, it was to be thin. So, I was like 'I'm going to do whatever it takes.' And I did."
Becoming Obsessive with Her Weight
While she didn't count calories, Emily started eating as little as possible and watched everything she ate. "I went, I think, from, like, 140 pounds to 118 pounds, which is very, very small for my frame," she said. "I'm like 150 pounds now and feel great about it, but then that was very small for me."
"I was lonely. I was homesick. I missed my friends. I didn't know what I was doing in this big city. I didn't know anyone. I didn't even know how to make new friends because, like, making friends as an adult is actually very hard," she said. "I was going to castings, and I still wasn't getting great feedback."
Finding Support from Her Friends and Family
While on set for Maybelline, model Julia Stegner and makeup artist Charlotte Willer pulled Emily aside and asked if she was okay. After hearing similar concerns from her family, Emily ended up gaining back all the weight and then some.
"That ended up being a whole different struggle, I think, in itself," she said. "I remember really not liking the way that I looked. When I gained the weight back, I felt really embarrassed. I really wanted to hide. I felt like I was failing all of these agencies and people who believed in me and wanted me to succeed. I just thought, I was fat. There's no way that I'm going to succeed now."
I felt like I was failing all of these agencies and people who believed in me and wanted me to succeed. I just thought, I was fat.
One day, Emily asked her agency if she could shoot for Sports Illustrated. She remembers telling them, "I feel like that is a magazine where they have curvier girls, and maybe I can fit in somewhere there." But after the shoot, Emily was so "upset" and "hated" the way she looked.
After the shoot, she thought she wouldn't work anymore, but it was the opposite. Emily started working more than ever. "I felt kinda free that there were pictures out there of what my body actually looked like... I was on the cover of French Vogue, Russian Vogue, Spanish Vogue."
"I was so in my head. I obsessed about my body so much and I checked it so much and I was obsessed with the way it looked 24/7. Really forcing myself to engage in new things that had nothing to do with what I looked like and finding hobbies and spending time with people who were not talking about the way that they looked 24/7 was very helpful. It helped me focus on other things."
"I'm not cured from this but I remember when I was in those dark times when I was super thin and when I was bigger or curvier than I am now, those negative thoughts that sometimes creep in...I really tried to just cut them off. Be careful how you talk to yourself because you are listening. I would catch myself then being like 'your legs are disgusting, what model looks like that?' And just be like, 'I don't have time for that.' When I wake up and don't feel great, just judo chopping those thoughts. And moving on to the next thing. Distraction is a beautiful thing."
Be careful how you talk to yourself because you are listening.
Emily also shared with her followers the importance of gratitude, especially when you have negative thoughts. "At least my body works, at least I have legs. Gratitude is truly a cure for a lot of things."
The Support of Her Husband
"I don't think external validation is going to be a cure for you or for me or for anyone, but I think being with someone who does not understand those body standards that I thought the world was holding to me" was a huge help.
"I still go to jobs sometimes and get sent home for not being the right size. I've literally flown all the way to Europe for a job, and I just get a call from my agent and they're like 'Oh, um nevermind she's just too big for the clothes and it's not working out.' It's super embarrassing and really doesn't feel good."
Embracing the idea that I'm not perfect for everyone, you're not perfect for everyone is really helpful.
"Part of my sharing this with you and this audience is I wanted you to know that I've struggled with this," she told her audience.
"I wanted you to know that I wear a size six, and I'm in an industry that that's not always super accepted. But that's OK. I know that I am OK and successful in many areas of my life—and many areas of even this industry—and that's OK. Not everyone is going to love you and think you're perfect. And they shouldn't, and that's fine because nobody is perfect."