Emma Stone Recalls the Harrowing Day She Spent as a Children’s Textbook Model

Textbook covers are great preparation for a lifetime of magazine covers.


Before Emma Stone was Emma Stone—that is, before she adopted the name of the Spice Girl Emma Bunton, alias Baby Spice, as her own—she was, as she put it on Thursday’s appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, a “supermodel.” You might have seen her work—in the core textbook series “Horizons,” by McGraw Hill, in which a young, brace-faced Emma Stone (née Emily Stone) beams out at the observer, surrounded by a spread of textbook covers: math, spelling and vocabulary, French, and others.

“Where I’m from, in Arizona, they had a little thing where you could be a model for educational textbooks,” Stone explained to Fallon. “Like the kids you see on textbooks who are like, ‘I love these textbooks.’” She did it precisely once, for one day, and “thought it was the coolest thing in the world.” Middle-school students across the globe probably agree.

There was one specific part that was very not cool, though, and that was her look for the shoot. She wore a red polo shirt and khaki trousers (“as one does”), and, to pose for the photo, she had to put her arms above her head, nestling her head in her hands. Super casual. Of course, this made her shirt ride up a bit, quel scandale, so “they”—the photographer? producer? stylist?—safety-pinned the polo to the khakis, stabbing Emma Stone “in the groin” in the process. But it “didn’t even matter!” she added, because as you can see in the photo, Emma Stone’s khakis, and her midriff, do not make an appearance. Her braces, however, are front and center.

To this day, she’s a little skittish around safety pins. “I’ve had a harder life than most people, you could say,” Stone says, deadpan. But it was probably great preparation for her future of, you know, being on camera all the time. Before her Tonight Show interview, she had just finished a rehearsal for her upcoming gig hosting Saturday Night Live! for the fourth time—only this time, the musical guest is bigger than ever: It’s BTS. Stone is very excited. She may have screamed.

Related: Emma Stone Stars as a Suburban Dog Lady, Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Emma Stone’s Best Red Carpet Looks

Emma Stone, in a custom Lanvin dress and hairpins with fall 2011 shoes at the Costume Institute Gala. (2012)

Emma Stone, in Chanel Haute Couture, at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. (2012)

Emma Stone, in Giambattista Valli couture with Louis Vuitton jewelry and Brian Atwood shoes, at the 84th annual Academy Awards. (2012)

Emma Stone, in an Alexander McQueen dress, shoes, and clutch, with Tiffany & Co. jewelry, at the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. (2012)

Emma Stone, in Lanvin, at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards. (2012)

Emma Stone, in Jason Wu, Sydney Evan earrings, Alexander McQueen shoes, and a Bottega Veneta ring at the VH1 17th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. (2012)

Emma Stone, in Lanvin, at the Costume Institute Gala. (2011)

Emma Stone, in Chanel Haute Couture, at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. (2011)

Emma Stone, in a simple slit column dress, at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. (2010)

Emma Stone, in Calvin Klein Collection with Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, at the 68th annual Golden Globes Awards. (2011)