"My family on my mom's side is Italian, so I've always had a relationship to food. I wasn't raised on TV dinners and McDonald's, but I'm still a picky eater, to this day. I hate fruit. I have a hard time looking at it—bananas in particular really bother me. [Laughs] All I wanted to eat was pasta up until I started modeling, and then I couldn't do it every day, because you need to fit into ridiculously tiny clothes. So gradually, I started training myself on how to cook better. I was still making pasta, but trying to add spinach and other vegetables and have it still taste good.
My modeling career was way more successful than I ever anticipated, but as I approached my 30s, the jobs began to wane. I launched Impatient Foodie thinking it was going to be my side gig, but it ended up becoming my full-time job. One of my goals was to shoot food like fashion. I found the right team of people and it was meant to be. Within a few weeks of launching I got a call from a book agent, and within three months I got headhunted by Refinery29 to be head of their food and drink division. Working at Refinery with Christene [Barberich] was a huge education on how the internet works and how they navigate the web and what their role is. That taught me a lot about my own site, and by that point, it was fairly obvious that I had to stop modeling.
I don't count calories at all. I don't even think about it. My family is from the Mediterranean, so we're always eating olive oil and cheese. Now I focus on keeping it simple and clean—I use more coconut oil, although I still use olive oil. If I overdo it on dairy, I break out more. I've basically cut my dairy down to three meals a week.
The quick answer [to dieting] might be to eat less meat. I went through a 10-month period where I was fully vegetarian, and then I went vegan for a month. Then, to be completely transparent, my granddad passed away, and I was very close to him. I couldn't handle any type of discipline, so I've been eating roasted chicken to feel better. I bascially slipped back into chicken and salmon—now I'm working again to pull myself out of that.
I do this insane workout at Orange Theory Fitness. It's a franchise, and you wear a heart rate monitor during the workout that projects your heart rate onto a big screen so you know if you're slacking off. The class is an hour and it's different every time—running, biking, rowing, whatever. It's never the same twice. I could probably do it more, but I don't feel like I need to. I'm as strong as I want to be.
I’ve always been a big tomboy—my family is all athletes and campers. Never growing up did I feel like a great beauty. Being on set and at fashion shows was a real education for me, because it wasn’t who I was at all and it changed the way I thought about beauty and fashion and all of that stuff, frankly. I was so bad at taking care of my skin before modeling—I’m pretty sure I was using an Ivory soap bar for years. Never cream. You have to take care of it when you're a model. Your skin is stripped down multiple times a day. I had to learn what it liked and didn’t like.
My skin is extremely sensitive, and I love Kat Burki's products—they're all cold-pressed, which is hard to find. I use her Marine Collagen Gel in the morning, which really helps hydrate, and I layer that under the Vitamin C Face Cream. Then I put her facial Radiance Oil on my hands and pat it in, and it kind of helps seal everything. Since I've started doing that, I've seen a huge improvement in the texture and tone of my skin. I think that's probably the vitamin C. Honestly, the less I pester my skin, the better.
Depending on how much time I have, I like this Kat Burki Dual Acid Peel—it’s nice to reset the skin after a bunch of plane rides. It's not for every day. But I recently found this Evanhealy Rose Clay Mask at Whole Foods, which has the effect of salicylic acid without using it. It kind of pulls things out, but it's still really gentle. It is slightly drying, though, so I'll follow it up with the Kat Burki Vital Hydration Face Mask, which contains vitamin B.
I once took a $500 makeup class and I think it was the best money I ever spent. It was at this little salon in the Meatpacking District, and it was recommended to me by this jewelry designer. When I was modeling, it always looked like we had just gotten out of the shower–no makeup–which meant there was a way to have a natural look but that translated on camera. That's what I wanted to learn. It was three or four hours, and you bring all your makeup and brushes. That was great—I got to work with what I had at home.
So now, if I do my makeup, I’ll use Arbonne CC Cream which I really like. It’s light and it’s got a tiny bit of shimmer so I don’t need to do a layer of highlighter. I have a MAC pressed powder just to set everything because I saw myself in a picture once without it and I definitely needed some powder. Then I use the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil, the one that's a gradient. It’s really light. I’m not going nuts with it. I’m extremely pale, so I like that it gives me a little bit of color—that's something I learned from class.
Then I use Dior Blush in Rosy Glow. The first time I opened it I was horrified because it looked neon, and you put it on and it’s so subtle. And I use an Artis brush to apply it. I like Great Lash Maybelline for mascara—I think that’s the best. If I want a bit more of an eye I’ll use this Laura Mercier Black Ebony Eyeliner. You get the brush wet and you do a tightline. For shadow I've got this Armani Eye Tint in Spice Smoke and I blend it in with my finger. It’s a little hint of shadow but isn’t too much—I think I’m really bad at putting them on because I always look like I have a black eye. This one is much easier.
My hair is kind of wavy—I’m really busy and impatient so I usually put it up after I shampoo and condition it. If I have flyaways I’ll use Elnett. That's it."
—as told to ITG
Elettra Weidemann photographed by Tom Newton at her home in Brooklyn on March 28, 2017.