Born in Goshen, New York, DiDonato is of Italian, Irish, and Native American ancestry. Her great-grandparents emigrated to the U. S. from Italy. Emily was scouted at The Danbury Mall when she was 10 years old by Tina Kiniry from the John Casablancas Modeling & Acting Agency of Connecticut. Tina introduced Emily to Request Model Management in 2008 and she booked jobs as the face of Guess? clothing for spring 2009 and as a model in Ralph Lauren's "Rugby" spring 2009 advertisement campaign.