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Emily Ratajkowski has been a world-renowned model for over a decade, a credential that is only bolstered by her 26 million Instagram followers.
Despite forging a career in modelling, the 28-year-old admits it was “very much about survival, rather than a representation of who I am”.
Now, she has taken a step into political activism and is even writing a book of essays using her “experience as a model and someone who has capitalised on their image and also someone who has been maybe a victim of their image” to fuel her work.
In an interview with GQ magazine, she talked about how her twenties helped her to align herself with what she truly wanted to do.
“Modelling was an amazing way to make money and gain stability; fame came with that and it was a bizarre thing.” Ratajkowski explained.
Although she wasn’t looking for fame when she started out, the model admitted that “deep down probably every 20-year-old girl wants to be famous a little bit”.
Although she has been modelling since she was 17-years-old, it wasn’t until she appeared in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video in 2013 that her career began to take off.
She described the video as the “bane of my existence” in an interview for InStyle three years after it was released.
It was during this time that Ratajkowski learnt “a lot about sexism and misogyny in the world”.
“The idea that a woman who looks a certain way or presents herself a certain way can’t talk about politics or read books? Ridiculous.
“I remember in an interview I gave years ago, I had mentioned I liked reading and in the piece the journalist explained how he went home and his girlfriend said to him, ‘Do you think she’s really read all those books?’ I mean, that’s sexist!”
Although she has fallen victim to the opinions of others on more than one occasion, she admits that she also makes assumptions about other women, claiming that “it just goes to show how deep some of our ideas about women run”.
Ratajkowski used Demi Moore as an example of somebody she had made assumptions about in the past before reading her memoir.
“I definitely wrote her off a little bit, as an actress, because she was so sexy, because she had that body. And I’m Em Rata, so that’s seriously ironic. It just goes to show how deeply internalised misogyny is.”
Undeterred by the public’s opinion of her, Ratajkowski says she doesn’t think “regret” is the right word when looking back over how she put her own image forward over the years.
“I think as a young woman you learn your value and your worth in really specific ways and that is a lot of trial and error.
“I don’t regret anything, but are there things that I think, you know, were a case of trial and error for me? Yes. But also, you know, were they my fault?”