‘Everyone could see that I’m nice and kind and somebody wanted me,’ says the model, who joins her new film with Ansel Elgort at Tribeca film festival. All eyes are on her again, having taken her clothes off last year for the Oscar-nominated Netflix film I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. In light of her newfound notoriety, who is Emily Ratajkowski?
The only thing that’s changed in the last 10 years is that I got to be famous on a global scale
At least from the outside (which is to say a grey-haired dude walking down the street): the first thing that drew me to modelling was the early 2000s. I had always loved style, I’d always been a fan of fashion but it wasn’t until I went to New York, where all the modelling agencies were located, that I really understood the concept of the sex symbol. I remember being at the casting and I was holding this very old guy’s hand.
‘Women of all shapes and sizes’
I love how supermodels were portrayed back then, when they looked like “real” women, instead of just having lots of plastic surgery or being Photoshopped. But then came the rise of the high-waisted jeans. That dress you see me in the front of that advert is my favourite model. It was the tracksuit that really made me a star, even if it was a little tacky.
‘High-waisted jeans did more to make women sexy’
I don’t think women in a bikini are necessarily sexy but after I got to grips with high-waisted jeans, I definitely found myself doing more photoshoots with lingerie on. I was doing more everyday shoots with my boobs out and that’s when it started getting more tricky because men in the industry can tell when women are tired and not concentrating and they’ll take advantage of that. But if it’s a situation where you want to look like your favourite model, that doesn’t hold me back.
‘When you work on certain films you get to shed your clothes and the crowd goes crazy’
The trailers for I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore might have had the vibe of being explicit, but from the beginning the director, Chris Smith, said he wanted it to be the real thing. I don’t think there’s a single moment in it that you wouldn’t show your mum watching; it’s hard to give one screening away.
‘My breasts were so big!’
I remember one of the early shoots when I was actually asked to go and do something to get out of the rain and I had what felt like an impossible amount of cleavage on. A model in New York can feel like she’s king when you have huge breasts because people want to look at them. Then there are times where you can see people who are getting hit on. There is a lot of anticipation when you are working for magazines and that kind of shame is a bit ridiculous. I once had a wardrobe consultation where I wasn’t just famous; I was famously sexy.
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