Emily Ratajkowski’s New Essay Book My body shares revealing insights into the model’s life and career.
In the anthology, Ratajkowski tackles feminism, the male gaze, exploitation within the modeling industry and her complicity in selling her image and capitalism.
Celebrating its release, she posted on Instagram, “I wrote this book to better understand the experiences that have influenced my beliefs and politics.”
“Some of the most valuable, insightful, and open conversations I’ve ever had were with my close friends. In these essays, I’ve tried to tap into the vulnerability I knew in those moments.”
Her first essay, Buy myself back, was published in New York Magazine last year, taken from the book’s proposal.
In it, she mused on the power dynamics between photographers and models, which really own her image, and claimed that photographer Jonathan Leder sexually assaulted her during a shoot, which Leder denies.
Described by critics as one of the book’s most powerful essays, it was the most read on the magazine’s website in 2020.
Here are some of the other key revelations from her book.
Robin Thicke and Blurred Lines
Ratajkowski, 30, first rose to fame when she was featured in Robin Thicke’s now infamous music video Blurred lines in 2013.
In the song, Thicke sang “I know you want it / But you’re a good girl,” while a then 21-year-old Ratajkowski and other models were seen semi-nude alongside the fully clothed male performers.
The song and video both proved controversial, with many calling both a symbol of “rape culture.”
Ratajkowski previously defended the video, but has since revealed her more complicated feelings for it in her book.
In an essay named after the song, she claimed that Thicke groped her on the set of the music video.
“Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and strangeness of a stranger’s hands encircling my bare breasts from behind. I instinctively left and looked back at Robin Thicke,” she wrote.
She added that Thicke responded with a “goofy grin” as she “felt the heat of humiliation”.
She claimed that Thicke had been “a little drunk”.
“I felt naked for the first time that day,” she added, though it took years to call it sexual harassment.
The video’s director, Diane Martel, previously said: news week: “Robin did something impulsive, he had been drinking which is not uncommon on a music video set. He grabbed her breasts with both hands.”
She added that Thicke apologized “sheepishly”.
Robin Thicke has not responded to the claims.
The male gaze
Throughout the essay collection, Ratajkowski has detailed her difficult relationship with her image as a model and how much control she has over it.
“On a good day I would call people sexist who condemned a woman for abusing her body; on a bad day I would hate myself and my body, and every decision I made in my life seemed like a blatant mistake.” she wrote.
After previously suggesting that she found engaging in sexualized photo shoots empowering, she explained her more nuanced feelings in one essay: “In my early twenties, it never occurred to me that the women who drew their strength from beauty, thank owed to the men whose desire bestowed upon them that power in the first place.
“It was those men who were in control, not the women the world was begging for.”
In the essay, Men like you, she acknowledged the power men have had to get her to where she is today: “I got a lot of attention from famous, powerful men. That was how I got opportunities to work, make money and also build a career. “
Elsewhere, she wrote, “I craved the affirmation of men so much that I accepted it, even when wrapped in contempt.”