Emma Heming Willis

When we went to Emma Heming Willis’ house in Bedford this summer, we thought we died and went to a little thing we (and Carrie Bradshaw) like to call ‘Real Estate Heaven’. Shooting the gorgeous Willis poolside was almost too much for us to take in, and probably too much for Willis as we stayed there as long as humanly possible. I mean, we had to get the perfect photograph, right?

The former 90’s model has recently created the site First Time Mom, where she communicates with other Moms on all things concerning their kids. Not only is she a partner in a few businesses she shares with husband Bruce Willis, but more importantly the two love to cook breakfast together – burritos and corn cakes to be more specific. Willis shared how Bruce makes her less of a worry wart, how she in turn got him hooked on raw coconut oil and why spinning and gardening are her new go-tos.


From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

In a perfect world I would start the day with a cafe au lait and a warm pain au chocolat from Balthazar. Heaven! For lunch, I’d have fish tacos with a squeeze of lemon and Cholula hot sauce and a side of rice and beans. And for dinner, I would go back to my Indian/Guyanese roots and have my mom’s specialty, dal and roti. Dal is a stew made with yellow lentils and the most amazing spices. Roti is bread made with traditional flour—she makes it so light and fluffy. It’s delicious.

What do you always put out at a dinner party? What do you always bring to one as a guest? 

I always have a charcuterie and cheese plate set out in the kitchen. I love a little pre-dinner snack and everyone always gravitates to the kitchen. I also like to have a specialty drink of the evening that’s always on hand and ready to be served upon arrival. Our friends get pretty excited about the “boire de la soiree” so we’ve kept with it. Last dinner party we served Moscow Mules.

What’s the ultimate dinner party faux pas? 

I think the biggest dinner party faux pas is not having music playing in the background. My husband has an eccentric playlist from Led Zeppelin to Miles Davis. And he has to drop a hip-hop beat in there at times to appease me. Music just sets the tone and we always want our guests to feel at home and relaxed. We don’t do stuffy.

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I’m obsessed with raw coconut oil. I cook with it, it’s in my beauty routine and I use it all over my kids. My husband has become a big fan too and uses it as his after shave.

As for diet, I believe in moderation. I eat pretty healthy for the most part but I’m not afraid to eat what I want. My only vice is food and because of that I have to work out. My latest workout obsession is spinning. It’s forty-five minutes of pure hell but doable and I can fit it into my mommy/work schedule. I really feel great mentally and physically after a class.

What are your go-to products for your morning and nightly beauty routine?

In the morning, I wash my face with only water, apply witch hazel as a toner and a good moisturizer with SPF. After having my girls I developed melasma, so one minute in the sun without sunscreen and my dark spots are even darker. At nighttime, I put raw coconut oil all over my face and remove it with a warm wash cloth. It removes my make-up and is incredibly hydrating which I need since my skin can run on the drier side. I follow it up with my toner and products by Biologique Recherché to help my melasma. I put raw coconut oil on my elbows, knees, feet and hands before bed. It’s so nourishing. I grew up on raw coconut oil. We use it for absolutely everything.

What do you and Bruce like to cook together? What’s his favorite meal? 

We love cooking breakfast together. I make my special breakfast burritos and Bruce does a different spin on a pancake called Corn Cakes. Imagine a corn muffin as a pancake—it’s delicious. He’s pretty famous for them around here. He loves Italian food. He’s always up for lasagna.


What’s the best advice he’s given you, and vice versa? 

My husband has a few great sayings. We call them Bruce-isms. One that really has resonated with me over time has been “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing.” I’m a worrywart by nature, but what it comes down to is worrying doesn’t change the outcome. I’ve taken a lot off my plate with that advice.

My husband is very safety conscious when it comes to the girls. If he could wrap them in bubble wrap he would. Of course I would like to as well, but I think it’s okay if they get a bump or bruise. It teaches them what their limits are. I’m not sure my husband thinks this is the best advice I’ve given him, but one day he might.

What’s your most important piece of advice to new Moms?

Follow your instincts and do what you feel is right for your baby and ultimately your family. Too many people want to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. For a first time mom especially, that creates more insecurity. Try to surround yourself with supportive people who will listen to you and build you up rather than make you doubt your mothering abilities.

What’s always in your bag?

I can’t leave the house without snacks for the girls or myself. It’s so easy for me to just remember my girls’ needs and forget about mine, so I always have snacks in my bag. If not, we’ll all be cranky and that’s not a good look.

An easy go-to recipe for your kids in three steps…

My kids love pizza. We buy a ready-made crust, add tomato sauce, add a thin layer of spinach and hide it with cheese. It’s an easy home run.

What things should new Moms ignore from their ‘Mom peers?’ 

One of the most common questions I hear from other Moms is, “Does your baby sleep through the night?” With my first, this was such a stressful topic because she wasn’t, and I felt like I was doing something wrong. The second time around I realized some babies sleep well and others don’t. Since I wasn’t blessed with great sleepers, I prefer to not engage in the sleeping topic because I’ll usually hear, “Oh, you have to let them cry it out!” which is just not my parenting style. So don’t go against your core beliefs just because a seasoned mom tells you something that you aren’t doing. Follow your instincts.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

Now that we’ve moved out of the city and have more land, we are really getting in to gardening – especially growing our own fruits and vegetables. We love tending to the garden and it’s been so rewarding for the whole family.


*Emma Heming Willis, photographed in Bedford, NY by Danielle Kosann. Emma wears a Stella McCartney sweater, Mother jeansManolo Blahnik shoes, and Maya Brenner Asymmetrical Mini Letter Necklace