Emily DiDonato Shares the Story Behind the Modeling Gig That Started Her Career

The Covey skincare cofounder was the face of Maybelline for more than a decade.
Emily DiDonato.

Emily DiDonato.

Most models are able to pinpoint a moment that really jumpstarted their career. Emily DiDonato‘s most memorable early-career gig was one she did with Glamour magazine in 2009, but it’s more about the story behind the photo shoot rather than the actual opportunity itself.

“When the option came up for this editorial, I was actually on vacation at the Jersey Shore,” the model explained on TikTok. “I had just signed with my very first modeling agency and they called me and were like, ‘Hey, this option came up for Glamour magazine, you might have to come into the city to do a casting and meet with the stylist and the photographer.’ I was like ‘You’re out of your mind I’m not leaving my vacation.’”

DiDonato clarified that at the time, going to the Jersey Shore with her high school friends was the modern-day equivalent to a trip to Positano, Italy.

The six-time SI Swimsuit model added that she held her ground and was “stubborn” about not wanting to leave her vacation, but the agency and her mom sent her a car that would bring her to New York City for the photo shoot and then straight back to her friends after.

“I meet with the stylist, I meet with the photographer and I get the job so I stay over in the city,” the mom of two recalled. “I remember I was so happy and so excited because I just booked my first photo shoot ever, but I was also sad because I was only on this vacation for a few days and I was going to miss out with my friends. Looking back [as] a grown adult, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, Emily, it was not that big of a deal.’ But you know when you’re a teenager like that stuff is a really big deal.”

DiDonato also said the moment the hairstylist said they loved and wanted to use her natural hair—which she thought was a frizzy, wavy, textured mess—for the photo shoot will always stick with her.

“I remember when the magazine came out, I brought it to school with me—I had to show people,” she continued. “But my favorite thing that came out of saying yes to doing that editorial was a few months after I got a call to go see Maybelline.”

The Covey skincare cofounder booked a long-term gig with the cosmetics brand shortly after, and served as the face of Maybelline for 13 years—which was a huge deal since she was still in her first year as a model. When she first went to the casting, the director said it was DiDonato’s Glamour spread that made him feel like he “had to” meet her.

“It’s just so crazy how things come together and the chain reaction that can occur when you say yes to certain things. I do believe things pan out exactly how they’re supposed to,” she said. “I’m just so glad I got in that town car and drove all the way to Manhattan for that casting. Also, just to close the loop on that story—I did take that black town car all the way back to the Jersey Shore after that photoshoot because I was like, ‘Thank you so much for having me, this was wonderful, but I have things to do and people will see and I’m going back to the Jersey Shore.’”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.