The Grub Street Diet

Model Selita Ebanks Dilutes Her Kool-Aid, Doesn’t Need a Menu at Nobu

Ebanks, in New York this week.
Ebanks, in New York this week. Photo: Selita Ebanks

Selita Ebanks has a lot more than dinner on her plate: This coming Tuesday, she’ll leave for her second trip to Africa on behalf of the charity Shine on Sierra Leone. “I’m also going to be filming my child mortality documentary, which I’m really excited about,” she tells us, “as well as scouting a location for my first hospital, so it’s a really big trip for me.” But before that, Ebanks has plenty of Fashion Week responsibilities to keep her busy: She’s producing her own segment of BET’s Rip the Runway, and she’s the star of Marc Bouwer’s first-ever 3-D fashion show. As if that weren’t enough, she also works with New Yorkers for Children to improve the lives of New York’s foster kids (Ebanks was a foster child herself). Oh, and in March, she’ll fly to Hawaii to film a guest spot on CBS’s Hawaii Five-O. And yet, before all that happens, Ebanks agreed to keep track of everything she ate for this Fashion Week edition of the New York Diet.

Friday, February 4
My day starts out with the gym, which is followed by a protein shake. I love Odwalla Super Protein. It’s great, it gives you enough protein after your workout. If I have time, I’ll get a real shake made by the gym, and possibly a banana. The shakes are like coconut, banana, orange, apples, almonds. It just has a whole lot of everything in it, which is great, because you kind of feel like, I don’t have time to sit down and eat all these things individually. It’s really good, but then it doesn’t fill me up so I have to have a banana or something. But normally, honestly, I would go to McDonald’s and get a steak, egg, and cheese on a bagel. It’s my secret indulgence on my naughty days. Sometimes it’s necessary.

For lunch, if I’m out and running around, it’s a grilled-chicken salad with avocado. That’s my normal. And then I like to squeeze a little lemon on the grilled chicken. To drink, I’m obsessed with Pellegrino water. I think the bubbles help the digestion. It’s just really great, refreshing, simple, clean. Also, I drink a lot of Zico coconut water. It’s a little bit of my Caribbean, I guess. I love coconut water. When I’m home in the Cayman Islands it’s the first thing I get, a fresh coconut. Before, it wasn’t accessible, so wherever I could find it, I’d have to buy a whole case and keep it in my house, but now it’s pretty much everywhere. It’s much better.

I have a lot of snacks in between meals. Friday we stopped and got some buffalo wings. We were on our way to a meeting, so I ate them in the car, and then had lots of hand sanitizers for my fingers.

Dinner, I usually love to cook. Cooking’s my thing, but unfortunately these days I haven’t had a chance. I went to Spur Tree, just down on Orchard Street. It’s a really great Caribbean restaurant I discovered. I like to eat hearty at dinner if it’s not too late, so I had the ackee and salt fish, and rice and beans. And the restaurant’s so great, because it’s infused with Asian cuisine, so we had vegetable steamed dumplings. It was really yummy. Dinner is a big part of my day. If I can’t wind down, if I have another meeting or business I need to discuss, I make everyone come to dinner, so it’s more of a friendly environment, and everyone’s eating and drinking. I might have a glass of Pinot Grigio, but then plenty of water. It’s a good closing of the day.

I usually get a sweet tooth before bed. Recently, I’ve been really into these chocolates. They’re these calcium chocolates, because I don’t drink any milk, so it’s Adora calcium supplement. The chocolate is so good. It doesn’t taste powdery, like you’re eating medicine or vitamins or anything, but it has 500mg of calcium, plus vitamin D and vitamin K1, which is really important for women. That’s usually my sweet tooth indulgence these days. I remember three years ago, Karolina Kurkova, who’s a really good friend of mine, a fellow angel, and a health nut. She’s always trying to get me to try something like kombucha. I remember her telling me, “You have to take care of yourself, you have to eat healthy.” And I was like, “Are you crazy? This is metabolism, girl! Ew! There’s no gravy on that! I don’t want to eat that!” But now my palate has completely changed. I really get it.

Saturday, February 5
That morning I had a coffee, and then I went Dallas for the Super Bowl. Travel makes eating so much harder, because most likely my schedule is hectic, especially at this Super Bowl. It was pretty crazy. I ended up not getting on my original flight and getting into Dallas really late. I ate the airplane food, which was not too tasty. It was a beef fajita thing. It didn’t even look natural. It was horrible — actually, I didn’t eat that. I nibbled on the crackers and cheese and the salad. But I ate the salad and some bread.

When I got to Dallas I was extremely hungry and I ordered room service, which was just a Cobb salad. Cobb salads are great because they have bacon! I’m like, “Can I have extra avocado and bacon?” I was staying at the Sheraton. Not so glamorous, but I had a nice room. The room service wasn’t like Chef Boyardee or anything. It was decent.

I had to go straight into hair and makeup, so I was eating it while my hair was being pulled and lashes were being applied. I was working with the NFL Players Association, hosting all of their red carpets and their events. I’m a big football fan, so I had the chance to interview a lot of the players. But it was really awkward for me, because I’m a huge fan of the sport as a whole, and if the players aren’t wearing their jerseys or helmets, I’m like, Oh snap! That’s what he looks like? I had that reaction the whole time. My favorite team is the Jets, of course! Sanchez is hot.

I had dinner at Nobu. Nobu is my favorite restaurant, so I don’t even need a menu. I had kumamoto oysters, I had yellowtail jalapeño, I had octopus tiradito, I had a sashimi salad, and rock-shrimp tempura with the creamy ponzu sauce. And I had a lovely lychee martini. I love lychees. It was so crazy, because I saw Nene Leakes, and I saw MC Hammer. How crazy is that? The Hammer, dude! We took a picture.

Sunday, February 6
I was supposed to go to the Super Bowl, but I couldn’t because I had to get back here for work Monday morning, bright and early. It’s all good. My team wasn’t playing. I’m just glad the Steelers didn’t win, because they beat the Jets. I’m a big sports trash-talker, by the way. I’m surprised the Knicks haven’t banned me from their games yet, because I’m pretty much a big harasser when I’m sitting on the floor. I talk so much junk to all the players. It’s so much fun!

That day I had a nice breakfast with my manager downstairs in the hotel. It was freezing! There was no way I was leaving that hotel unless I had to. I had a great egg-white omelette, whole-wheat toast, and a side of pancakes. Don’t tell anyone about the pancakes. And a side of bacon. Coffee and orange juice definitely. I deserved a big breakfast! I love fresh-squeezed orange juice. I love the pulp. My mom says it’s like drinking an orange, you might as well peel one. But I like pulp, I guess.

Some more meetings after breakfast. I worked from the hotel. A hotel’s business center is like my office. I spent most of the morning in there and had some fresh fruit and chips and French fries delivered so I didn’t have to leave.

I was in meetings until like two, and then I had to pack, which I despise. We actually just ate in my manager’s room, room service again, which was, for me, a rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes. It wasn’t so bad. I could have made it much better. When we got to the airport I was so exhausted. We finished watching the Super Bowl there, but by the time we got on the plane, I was just tired. We finally landed around 1 a.m. I had a whole gallon of SmartWater, I was so dehydrated. And I had to walk my dogs! In the freezing cold! But I had an early morning. I had a photo shoot at 7 a.m. for Rip the Runway.

Monday, February 7
Monday, I juiced: beets, spinach, ginger, carrots, orange, and some celery. Karolina Kurkova helped me with it. I saw an interview that she did, and some of those things that she was putting in hers, and I was like, Oh man, those are great things! I love to eat them separately, so I said, why not throw it in there? The only thing I added was the carrots. I love carrot juice.

I’m not really an early breakfast eater, so I just get straight into hair and makeup, and then throughout the hair and makeup process I’ll get something. I think that day it was a hard-boiled egg and some bacon. I had coffee when I got to the photo shoot.

Usually when I’m in my mode, and I’m ripping and I’m moving and I’m going, I don’t really eat — especially when I’m wearing something like lingerie. I’m so skinny you can see my food digest, so it’s like, I’ll be having nothing until I can take these little panties off. It’s really awkward. I didn’t have anything until lunch, and thankfully lunch was healthy. We had couscous, and there was grilled chicken and a plain arugula salad. It was really good and healthy. I just eat what’s on the table. I did have some brownies they had for dessert.

I ordered out Chinese for dinner. It was really late, because after that I had another meeting with some other people from my management group, KWL. That was a brainstorming meeting, so it took a really long time. When I got home it was really late, so I was like, I’m not cooking, so I just ordered from the Chinese restaurant down the block. Nothing fancy. I ordered chicken and broccoli plain. I always order it plain and get the sauce on the side, because sometimes it’s hit or miss. I also got some steamed shrimp dumplings and brown rice. I drank ginger ale. Oh my gosh, it’s my favorite soda. If I can get organic ginger ale it’s amazing, but I’ll do the good old Schweppes green can. It’s my only soda. Sometimes I’ll have a Dr. Pepper, but it’s weird. Like, who drinks Dr. Pepper? It’s a weird option, no? I figure, if you like root beer, then you like Dr. Pepper.

Tuesday, February 8
A gym day. It was kickboxing. It’s really good to let out that steam. I just try to picture someone, or some people. Don’t laugh: Sometimes I picture the very expensive pair of Christian Louboutins that I’m drooling over, and I’m like, I want these shoes! And I start kicking the bag. Fashion motivates me. I just had some orange juice. I was rushing. It isn’t the smartest thing to do, to work out on an empty stomach, but it worked out. Afterwards we went to get some breakfast, which was another very tasty egg-white omelette with ham and Cheddar at Bubby’s. I love it there. It make me feel like I’m in some sort of camp, like I’m camping or something.

I had oatmeal around eleven, that oatmeal thing from McDonald’s. It’s not that bad! We were running to return things for this BET segment, buying new things, trying to stay focused. It’s really hard to style. I don’t know how these fashion designers do it. It’s insane. The trim store is my new favorite place, Pacific Trimmings on 38th. I went and got a bunch of studs and a Bedazzler. I love to bedazzle, and I want to stud everything. Swizz Beatz does that. He’s so cool with it. He’ll take a leather jacket and stud it out, and now it’s bomb on.

Lunch was at Da Silvano, which is my favorite place to go for quail. They grill it and then squeeze lemon over it and it’s so clean and fresh, and I just get it over a bed of arugula. Oh, and I had pasta. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s amazing. It’s spaghetti with a creamy sauce, and it had sausage and baby peas. It’s my favorite. I always order the same thing every time I go. You would think I’d know the name of it by now. And Pellegrino lemon water with that.

For dinner, I had to visit my family in Staten Island, so that was a pizza night with the kids. Brother’s Pizza, that’s where I get my pizza, and it was just a margherita pizza. My little cousins, they’re so anti-anything that looks green, so I had them chop up the basil really finely and put it underneath the cheese so that I could have my basil. My cousins, bless their little hearts, made me some red Kool-Aid, which I diluted with plenty of water, because they are very heavy-handed with the sugar. I was like, “Okay, guys. Cousin needs her teeth!”

I didn’t have anything else before bed. I was exhausted. It’s hard playing Wii tennis with a bunch of 6-year-olds. It was a workout, my goodness. Those kids, they never get tired!

Wednesday, February 9
I went to the Mandarin Oriental and got a facial and a massage, because I was so sore from the day before. It was really great. They give you the tea, they give you the fruit, but I was a little late so I didn’t really have a chance to have a moment. And then for lunch we went to Rice, this restaurant off Houston. I got the Mexican soup, which is clear, and they put a little cilantro and chicken breast in it. And then I had the shrimp Thai curry with Basmati rice.

After lunch was meetings and shopping — the trim store again, and I went to Urban Outfitters, H&M.; For dinner I went to Spur Tree again, just me, my friend, and my assistant. I got the jerk chicken wings, the vegetable dumplings, and ackee, and oxtail. To drink I just had some fruit juice. The bartender made some collaboration with orange, carrot, something else, I don’t know. It was really yummy. We had a fruit punch. It was basically just a good, relaxing evening.

Model Selita Ebanks Dilutes Her Kool-Aid, Doesn’t Need a Menu at Nobu