“Fashion should always be fun and a little rebellious,” says the 23-year-old Long Island, N.Y., native, who started modeling when she was 18. “Whenever I’m at a shoot and it’s feeling a bit rigid, I try to break down those walls. You can’t be afraid to leap, turn, and make a silly face once in a while.” Since her breakout season for fall 2016, when she walked in more than 40 shows, Dilone has challenged what it means to look and act like a modern-day megamodel. “The fashion industry is ready for something different,” she says. “I don’t think we’re going to go back to when everyone was super-skinny with blond hair and blue eyes.”
As one of 10 siblings in a “big Dominican family,” Dilone, whose full name is Janiece Altagracia Dilone (she goes by her last name because Janiece often gets confused with Janice, her least favorite Friends character), stood out from a young age as a style renegade. “I remember one day in high school, I wore a big pouffy skirt with high heels and a feather to class,” she says, laughing. “I was already 5 foot 10, so with the 4 extra inches from the shoes and this huge feather, everyone thought I was a teacher. But no, I was just a junior, looking like a peacock.”
These days, her outfits are still turning heads. “My style has evolved so much since I’ve been modeling,” she says. “I was born in ’94, so I love pieces that have a ’90s, androgynous feel.” Though she cites Céline (“Phoebe Philo’s suits are the most beautiful things in the world”) and Sies Marjan (“I’d wear their entire fall collection, even the skirts”) as current favorites, Dilone’s typical off-duty look consists of a cropped top, slouchy cargo pants, and sneakers. “I like being comfortable, so I tend to dress like a tomboy,” she says.
Tung Walsh/2DM Management
And while a neutral palette is her default, she’s not opposed to a well-placed pop of color. “I’m always bouncing off the walls with energy,” she says. “So when I wear color, I become even more vibrant—kind of like a highlighter.”
That exuberant personality is about to come in handy: She’s hoping to squeeze in some acting classes between shoots while she’s in London for the next few months. “I’ve always looked up to comedy greats like Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey. I even named my dog after Jim,” she says. Her dream gig? “Definitely Saturday Night Live. But no matter what I do, the goal is to make people smile.”
For more stories like this, pick up InStyle's September issue, on newsstands and available for digital download August 11.
Photographer: Tung Walsh/2DM Management; hair: Federico Ghezzi/Saint Luke Artist Management; makeup: Elias Hove; fashion editor: Sam Ranger; manicure: Zarra Celik/LMC Worldwide; production: Laura Motta/2DM Management.