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Born Melissa Miller in New York City, Emme was raised in Saudi Arabia, and returned to the United States as a teenager to attend Kent School in northwest Connecticut. When Emme was in high-school, her family moved back to the States, settling in Houston. She later attended the Kent School in Connecticut, where she joined the rowing team.
In her book, she tells the story of her stepfather instructing her at age 12 to strip down to her underwear while he took a black marker and drew circles on her outer thighs, hips, stomach and arms to highlight where she needed to lose weight.
Syracuse University awarded Emme a full athletic scholarship and she became a member of the crew team; she is also a member of the Syracuse University Orange Plus Hall of Fame, where she was inducted for her significant contribution to women's athletics and to the sport of rowing. In addition, Emme was invited to the U.S. Olympic Team trials, as well as several U.S. National Team trials.
Her column "Ask Emme" appeared monthly in Mode magazine in the 1990s. She's been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" (1994 and 1999) and Glamour magazine's "Woman of the Year" (1997). Ladies' Home Journal selected her as one of its "Most Fascinating Women of the Year" (1997) and as one of its "Most Important Women in America" (1999).
Her first book, True Beauty—Positive Attitudes & Practical Tips from the World's Leading Plus Size Model, was published in 1997. Also in 1997, she was invited to speak before a Congressional subcommittee about eating disorders.
Her second book, Life's Little Emergencies: Everyday Rescue for Beauty, Fashion, Relationships, and Life, was published in 2003. Her third book, written with her husband, Morning Has Broken: A Couple's Journey Through Depression, was published in January 2006. She and her husband wrote their first children's book What Are You Hungry For?, illustrated by Erik Brooks and published by Harper Collins, which was released in the summer of 2007.
Emme had a sportswear line of sized 2-26 women's clothing sold at QVC under the me BY EMME label and the Emme Collection sportswear line manufactured by Kellwood and sold to department stores. A 16" collectable doll bearing Emme's name and likeness generates money to benefit body image and self-esteem organizations.
In May 2007, Emme was diagnosed with Stage 2a Hodgkin's lymphoma- a type of lymphoma that is often curable with radiation and chemotherapy. She had surgery and in November 2007 doctors declared that she was "cancer-free". She separated from her husband, Phil, in October 2007.
- Witchel, Alex. "Size 14, 190 Pounds: A Model Figure", The New York Times, March 12, 1997. Accessed October 11, 2007. When Emme was in high-school, her family moved back to the States, settling in Houston, where she attended the Kent School in Connecticut. At the Kent School Emme joined the rowing team, sealing a life's passion for strenuous exercise.... In her book, she tells the story of Sam's instructing her at age 12 to strip down to her underwear while he took a black marker and drew circles on her outer thighs, hips, stomach and arms to highlight where she needed to lose weight."
- Pedota, Chris. "One couple's climb to hope Supermodel and husband tell their sides of coming back from his depression", The Kansas City Star, April 2, 2002. Accessed June 2, 2007. "Emme and Phillip Aronson at home in Closter, New Jersey."
- "More to Love at IMDb". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "There's More to Love About Emme". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "Court Rules ‘Fashion Emergency’ Cable Show Was Not a Hand-Me-Down". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "What I Learned in the Eye of the Storm". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "Bio at official site". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "Iowa Women's Leadership Conference: Emme biography". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- New Year's Wish: A National Boost Of Self-Esteem
- "Emme: This Emotional Life". Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- "Beauty at Large". Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "Emme's Cancer Battle: 'I Needed to Be Strong'". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "Emme Doll Aims for Healthy Body Image". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS GET THE BIG PICTURE ON MODELING", The Record (Bergen County), September 12, 1997. "Emme, the world's leading full-figured model and a resident of Leonia, was the star..."
- Emme's Cancer Battle: I need to be strong (interview in People Magazine, Jan 2008)