Emily Ratajkowski was born beautiful.
As told by his mother, Kathy, the doctor who gave birth to him picked up the perfect baby and said, “Look at his size! he is beautiful!”
“The next day he brought his kids to the hospital just to see you,” she continued proudly. “You were such a beautiful child.”
In her upcoming book of essays, “My Body” (out November 9), Ratajkowski, now 30, writes about the cost of such beauty. She tells of her family’s fixation on how adults sexually abused her at an early age – a middle-school teacher broke her bra, long before Robin Thicke allegedly raped her at age 21 Was taunted.
After dancing to fame in Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video, she became a top model, influencer and entrepreneur. She gave interviews defending her sexy selfies and photo shoots, saying that taking off her clothes was empowering—only to realize she didn’t really have that much power.
From a very young age, Ratajkowski understood that her looks made her stand out, especially in the eyes of her parents.
Growing up in San Diego as an only child, she heard her mother’s stories that she was once a remarkable beauty herself. Cathy, an English teacher, looked like a young Liz Taylor or Vivian Leigh, and told of “looking at the boys standing on the lawn under their bedroom window in high school” and jealous harps who tried to undermine her. Of.
Ratajkowski learned that this was his legacy as well.
Ratajkowski writes, “I tried to figure out where my parents thought I was in the world of beauties.” “It seemed important to both of them, especially to my mother, that their daughter was considered beautiful.” At night, she prayed that God would make her “the most beautiful”.
“Beauty was a way for me to be special,” she explains. “When I was special, I felt my parents’ love for me the most.”
When she was 14 years old, her name started appearing in the modeling world.
The first time an agent approached, a preteen Ratajkowski was in the checkout line at a grocery store. Later, the effigy of the future wept bitterly, thinking that the “headshots” meant “needle in the head”.
But Ratajkowski thought modeling would make her parents happy. They took her to castings like most parents took her teammates to sports matches. Her father, a high school art teacher, displayed her first modeling “comp” card—with her measurements and modeling images—in her class. He posted pictures of her modeling on Facebook.
Ratajkowski went to her first audition when she was in middle school. She was wearing new stretchy jeans and chunky black boots. Cathy accompanied her to the waiting room instructing Ratajkowski to flip her hair when it came to meeting the casting directors. A few feet away from him was sitting a young man with wild hair.
“That guy looked at you when you stood up and fell out your hair,” said his mom, driving back home from the Los Angeles audition to San Diego. “He was looking at you.”
She used to attract the attention of men from the age of 12, she writes. (“I’ll never forget the look on his face as you walked after him!” Cathy used to comment about random men in the street. “He’s dead in his tracks and his mouth pops open!”)
Her beauty stunned people: at age 13, she was sent home from a dance when the chaperone deemed her dress “too sexy.” Another time, when she came downstairs wearing a pink lace top and push-up bra, her father told her “not to dress like that,” just for tonight. She remembered the shame and confusion her older cousin had returned to the living room, after leaving Ratajkowski with a male friend for a few minutes.
“I was a child, but somehow already an expert in detecting male desire, even though I didn’t fully understand what to make of it,” she writes.
The modeling world pushed Ratajkowski — who was busted smaller and bigger than most high fashion models — to do catalog work, or swimsuit and lingerie shoots. When she was in high school, a casting agent pointed to some of her close-ups, her mouth half-closed and pursed lips and marveled, “Now this NS Look. That’s how we know this girl gets f-ked!”
“My face looked hot,” Ratajkowski writes of that incident. “Was it a matter of pride?”
According to his mother: Yes. She placed a sexy black-and-white photo of Ratajkowski, then in high school, on the kitchen counter toward the front door. “Anyone is coming [the house] “Was immediately greeted by my parched lips, bare feet and teased hair,” Ratajkowski writes, “embarrassed” by the photo.
She writes that she initially took these incidents lightly, that she told herself that being a sex symbol – feeling free to show off one’s sexuality – was empowering. And in a way, it was: It gave him money, fame, the ability to start his own business. Still, as she watched the messy photographers who took sexy photos of her early in her career, she took advantage of her success, as she was sued by the paparazzi, who claimed that she owned her photos because she was fat. As men continued to confront, who could touch her and faced no consequences, she realized that there was not so much on her body as whose it is, and how it could be used, as she thought.
“It never occurred to me that women who derived their power from beauty were indebted to men whose desire gave them that power in the first place,” she writes. “Those men were in control, not the women the world saw.
“Facing the reality of dynamics in sport would mean acknowledging how limited my power really was – how limited any woman’s power is when she lives and even succeeds in the world. Is.”
Now, however, she writes, “I was forced to face some ugly truths about what I thought was important, what I thought was love, what made me special, and the reality of my relationship with my body. was forced to face it.”
Later, when Ratajkowski moved out of her parents’ home and became a successful model, she finally convinced her mother to take that picture into the kitchen.
Her mother agreed: “It doesn’t represent you anymore,” she told her daughter. However, she misunderstood the logic. “You are more beautiful than her now.”