The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model shares how she learned to love her body in a new YouTube video
Model Emily DiDonato has been photographed for Maybelline, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and has walked countless high-fashion runways. But her time in the modeling world hasn’t always been easy. In a new YouTube video, she’s opening up about her struggle with body acceptance.
DiDonato, 28, shared a 15-minute video on her channel, in which she took “a walk down memory lane” to detail the ups and downs she’s faced learning to love her body.
She started by explaining that when she moved to New York City to pursue her career, modeling agencies told her that she was “too curvy, too big and too athletic.”
As a result of those comments, she decided to do whatever it took to succeed.
“To me, to be successful, is to be thin,” DiDonato said of her 18-year-old mindset. “So I am going to do whatever it takes, and I did. I was eating as little as possible, I was very obsessed with what I was putting in my body and I was over exercising.”
DiDonato revealed that after moving to N.Y.C., she did not take cabs or public transpiration, and instead walked everywhere, causing her to go from 140 lbs. to 118 lbs. in just a few weeks.
She also got depressed during that time. “I was lonely,” she explained. “I was homesick. I missed my friends. I didn’t know what I was doing in this big city. I didn’t know anyone.”
After losing over 20 lbs., DiDonato still received negative feedback from agencies, who told her “she looked better before” and “she doesn’t look super healthy,” the models recalled, adding, “well, duh.”
After talking with people in her life who were concerned for her well being, it gave her a “wake her up” that prompted her to make a change. She gained all the weight back “and then some” which brought on a whole new set of challenges.
She explained that she didn’t like the way she looked, constantly wore baggy clothes to hide her figure and felt “really embarrassed” that she was “failing” her agencies.
After moving home and taking a step back from modeling, she decided she wanted audition for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She booked the gig but was unhappy with her final photos because she thought she was “so big” and “so fat.”
But in the end, the shoot had a positive affect in her career and mindset. “I started working more than ever,” she said after the issue came out. “I felt free because there were pictures out there of what I actually looked like and what my body looked like. And Sports Illustrated was celebrating it enough to put it in their issue.”
She’s continued to model for SI Swim, landed multiple international Vogue covers and is still working through her journey with self-love to this day.
“I catch myself still — and I would catch myself then — being like, ‘You’re fat, you’re disgusting, you don’t even look like a model, your legs are digesting, what model looks like that, no one’s going to want to shoot me like this,'” she revealed.
She says when she finds herself having those thoughts, she “judo chops” negative comments right from the start and swaps them for positive ones.
“Finding this self-love and loving the skin that I’m in took time and it took effort,” she said about her journey. “There’s nothing sexier than a woman who’s comfortable in her skin and her body. And that’s something that I’m working at every day.”