She’s not only America’s Next Top Model all-stars winner, model, and entrepreneur. Eco parent Lisa D’Amato is a lot more besides! She gets candid with us on green parenting, cancel culture and more in this exclusive interview
By Chere Di Boscio
Like the Californian sun, Lisa D’Amato is just a big ball of radiant energy. Not only did her charisma (and incredible knack for posing) make her a fast favourite on America’s Next Top Model, she went on to win the ANTM All-Stars title, too.
But her talents don’t stop with modelling! She’s got many other business projects in the works, too. These include two TV shows, musical recordings, a comedy memoir book, a product for kids, and a healthy cookbook, as well. She’s an official co-host on DJ Skee’s Dash Radio’s Bompop Radio Show and even does a comedy podcast called LOL.A., which is free on iTunes and in the podcast apps.
But maybe what she’s proudest of is Dare-U-Go, a unique invention she dreamt up after having kids.
Lisa is never afraid to chase dreams and to speak her mind. She had no qualms about calling out Tyra Banks for agitating the childhood traumas of ANTM’s contestants to make for more interesting viewing. She has defended Dave Chappelle for not being – in her estimation – a transphobe. And she has always spoken up for saving the planet.
Here, the amazing Lisa D’Amato tells Eluxe about celeb rehab, frustration with human beings, and why one of her sons may actually be a werewolf…
Meet ANTM Winner & Eco Parent Lisa D’Amato
What is the earliest memory you have of being in nature?
I always remember being in nature. I’m a Southern Cali girl so everyone is always outside. Kids playing in yards, going to the beach, laying in the grass, wishing upon stars at night time…There is nothing I love more than being outside and feeling the sun and a nice breeze.
How has becoming a mom of two changed how you view the world?
Tremendously! Oh wow. Yeah, the world is super crazy and cruel. You immediately want to shelter and protect your children. It has definitely made me care so much more about being a part of the cause, to change it for the better.
You always seem to have loads and loads of energy! Where does that come from?
Hahahhaha! I don’t know but I wish I could bottle it and sell it. Growing up I use to be called D Battery. My sister and I both have so much energy even STILL. We never understood, growing up, why our parents use to joke by telling us to go play in the freeway. We get it now. Hahaha, mom and dad! Sounds horrible now, but I can only imagine how insane we probably made them feel at times!
I LOVE working out! I grew up doing gymnastics and dancing which is good energy taking outlets but also creates more energy as well. I’ll probably be that bright-coloured spandex wearing old lady spinning on my head on a dance floor somewhere when I’m 90.
Well, you are in totally incredible shape! What are your best workout tips?
Awww thank you! I’d say that my workouts and eating habits have to go hand in hand when you really want the best results. What’s really important for toning since I was stretched out so far from having kids was the increase of weights with less repetition. That was a new lesson! It works as far as squats, abs and arms are concerned. I also increased my stair-stepping and elliptical workouts by three a week. I also eat my favourite foods for breakfast in the morning, then as the day goes on, I do lean proteins and veggies. My carb intake literally doesn’t exist after around 2pm. Truth! I’m super disciplined and always have been. Which works in my favour, I guess.
What’s the most positive thing you do for the environment in your daily life?
Recycling is #1. For every 4 recycling garbage cans we have only 1 that is actually garbage. I really hope nature and our planet can forgive us for all the harm we have done to it, and grant us patience for us to fix it. I believe we have the technology and science to make progressive moves to help in every facet of our planet. I hear that my sons’ generation is going to save the world.
At my house, we also compost all our food and grow our own organic garden on the roof. All products [that I know of] that tests on animals are not welcome in my house. All my pets are rescues, and we preach kindness to plants and animals to our sons. And weirdly, without being taught to, my eldest son raises both arms to the moon at night and says ‘mama’! It’s hilarious!
So, you’ve told me you’re not buying new clothes. But you’re always looking stylin’! Where are you getting those outfits from?
I have always LOVED garage sales and vintage/resale stores! I’m proud of that. I won Best Dressed in high school, which I was shocked by because only the popular girls won anything. I certainly wasn’t a popular girl! I have to be honest and real though. Sometimes I have to buy new. For instance, if Venice (my 5 yr old) has zero shoes and needs them for school, and I can’t find any at any thrift store, I must buy new. I try second-hand first, always. Kids grow so fast, it’d be dumb to buy new every time – and also so wasteful.
You’ve said you’re eating around 90% less meat than before. What’s stopping you from going full on vegan?
Going full vegan is VERY hard when you are feeding a family of four. I think the healthiest thing I can do is to continue to always figure out what vegan brands we can enjoy and always try to find substitutions. It is hard! For instance, my mom-in-law has been told about our lifestyle change, and do you know who offers them all the food I so passionately told them I want my family to have nothing to do with? Her. The biggest issue is I can’t make other people care as much as I do.
Tonight I made crispy eggplant with asparagus pasta with pine nuts and garlic and pesto served with a side of balsamic baby kale salad. So good! BUT, it is so much work. I focus on balance and time and try to balance convenience factors and do my best.
What are some other plant based dishes you make that the whole family loves?
OMG! Where do I start? Trader Joe’s keeps expanding their vegan/ dairy-free product line. It’s exciting to try all their new products.
They have a garlic dip that is in the hummus area. They have these cauliflower mini pizza crusts, and I make the best sandwiches with those and the garlic spread. You can put marinara sauce and vegan pepperoni, or mustard and vegan pastrami, or melt some vegan cheese and some refried beans and some hot sauce. I just love being on a low sugar/carb diet. It’s also low meat, low dairy and HEALTHY, with the majority being produce. One go to is bean burritos! My kids love my bean burritos with Trader Joe’s dairy-free mozzarella cheese.
I have cans of jackfruit in the cupboard now. My hubs has leukemia, and supposedly, jackfruit does amazing things for hemoglobins and the blood.
Tell us a bit about Dare U Go. How is this making moms more eco-friendly?
So so many ways! Dare-U-Go! is one of the longest-lasting products in many of its territories! It is so durable and multifunctional. It’s a solution to help parents feed their kids at home, or when on the go. It’s a bib, a tray, and a food storage space all in one. And it’s made from food grade silicone, no plastic!
Products like Dare-U-Go show major growth in the need for multifunctional products for kids and babies, because our world is forever changing and growing. We are also in a licensing deal as we speak with a huge company. Dare-U-Go is my 3rd baby, and I couldn’t be prouder creating and inventing this product with my partner, Emily Doherty.
What are you proudest so far in your career?
I was actually really proud of myself for getting therapy with Dr. Drew on Celeb Rehab. That was a bold move and I really did learn so much which in the end changed my whole perspective on my life and what I wanted and catapulted me to be the best I could be….which then led me to the path of winning America’s Next Top Model All-Stars.
What are your favourite ‘green’ skincare, food, home or fashion brands?
In my household, we only order products from Vitacost. com. Around 90%-ish of their products are eco-friendly. Most products are created with cancer-causing additives in the U.S. Then we wonder why we all have cancer….? Educating yourself to avoid feeling defeated by the system is key. Ignorance is such a disappointment, especially in today’s day and age, with so much information at our fingertips. Your body is your business, and most importantly, so is your planet.
When and where is Lisa D’Amato happiest?
With my sons. With my family.
Which environmental issues are most important to you?
The basics. Recycling! Water conservation! As well as the basic compassion for each other as a human race! Where is the LOVE?
A lot has changed since we last spoke! What are some of your biggest concerns on the planet right now?
Honestly? Ok here goes….
Deflection, ignorance and denial.
In our society today, my biggest concern is that we all feel so betrayed and hurt that we are stuck in this “hurt ppl hurt ppl” mentality. We feel betrayed by our governments, by our neighbours in regards to masks, racism, social justice…
My biggest concern is that our trauma-triggered society stops listening altogether, and we live in even worse division and become so divided that history’s evil cycle continues. It becomes the ‘blame game’ all over again.
If people want to argue and [engage in] “cancel culture,” the cycle continues over bullshit. I’m just over it. I see the human race as the biggest threat to our planet. Our entitlement to be so toxic to our planet and to each other, and our obsession with consumerism and lack of concern with mental health makes me sick. Everyone is out of their mind in my book. Racism is real, homelessness is real, 1 out of 4 kids are starving in the USA. Yet we have time for race baiting, virtue signalling, cancel culture, mob mentality and NOT reflecting on our own selves humanity and consciousness? That is my fear for our future. Deflection, ignorance and denial.
What’s the main thing you think we all need to do to ensure a better future?
Ignorance is not going to be BLISS and actually ISN’T! Ignorance is what causes so much judgment which leads to cruelty, misunderstanding, abuse, violence, and missed opportunities. We need to evolve. We need to try to understand different people, different walks of life. Educate ourselves on the planet and how, as an individual, we can improve it. We need to be more proactive and less unaware. Evolve or dissolve!
Ms. Lisa D’Amato, thank you. You’re truly a force of nature!
Thanks so much for the interview. You guys rock!
Main image of Lisa D’Amato courtesy America’s Next Top Model
Follow Lisa D’Amato on Instagram: @lisa_damato