About an hour into drinks with Emily DiDonato, I realize I saw her just the other day. Not quite like this - I mean, it's not so often that I find myself casually sitting in a restaurant with a beyond-gorgeous supermodel who regularly poses on exotic beaches for world-class fashion photographers. No, I spotted her in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood early one morning. There was a phalanx of young women with headsets and clipboards, guys holding giant lights, craft service tables with limp salad. They were shooting a commercial.
An assistant stopped me at a barricade as filming was about to start. Silence, and then... "Action!" In front of two giant whirring fans, the camera encircled a girl in heels who glided with magnificent speed across the cobblestones of Greene Street, her mesmerizing gait never wavering, hair ruffling up so immaculately it looked like CGI. The skirt was gold and silky and swayed with her strut, swooshing back and forth like a pendulum - I mean, this girl... the way her skirt swayed could stop time itself.
And then she turned around without warning, staring at the camera and toward me, her striking eyes both classic and strangely feline.
"Yeah, that was us," she said, sitting in front of me in a T-shirt, no makeup, sipping a glass of sauvignon blanc, kind of just shooting the shit. The restaurant was her idea: a spot near her apartment called the Little Beet Table, which, in accordance with the laws of pretty people, is completely gluten-free.
Looking to ingratiate myself, I order the crudité, because, well, models. They don't eat, right?
This model is different. In fact, she soon confides that her dinner plans include gorging herself on a massive steak.
"We're going to Breslin," she says. "The rib eye for two? It's amazing, this $200 steak. It's so obnoxious, but it's my favorite thing to get."
"Yeah, that's probably why I'm not eating these... vegetables," she says, pointing at the lame crudité with disgust. "What can I say? I love steak. It's kind of my thing."
DiDonato is easygoing, with a pure, aw-shucks thing that works well until you realize, Yep, this is what she looks like, got it.
Read the exclusive interview with Emily DiDonato in Maxim's GONE Issue, on newsstands July 1. In the meantime, check out behind the scenes footage of our sexy photo shoot with Emily below.
Photos by Photographed by Gilles Bensimon