Emily Ratajkowski has a famous face, but do you know the woman behind the face? The Jewish feminist model and actress, also known as “emrata,” shot to fame in a music video, but has gone on to use her platform to speak about issues that matter to her.
She’s very Instagram famous, very real-world famous, and we figured it was about time to give you 18 things to know about Emily Ratajkowski. There’s much more to her than meets the eye…
1. Emily was born in London to American parents. “People either think I have a crazy Polish accent or a British accent; then I say ‘gnarly’ and surprise everyone,” she joked.
2. Her mom, Kathleen, is Jewish, and her dad, J.D., is Catholic. Here’s how Emily describes her Jewish mom: “I have a mom who’s a feminist, she’s an English professor, an intellectual. She really gave me the equipment to understand that you can celebrate yourself without putting yourself down or needing to apologize for the way you look. I think that attitude is really crucial for a model.”
And here’s J.D.:
3. When she was 5, Emily and her parents moved to San Diego.
4. She grew up comfortable with nudity. As she explained, “Mom was topless on the beach every summer in Majorca.” (Emily’s mom sounds iconic, tbh.) Here’s a baby Emily in Majorca:
5. At age 14, she signed with Ford Models as an attempt to break into the acting world.
6. Her first real role? She appeared on iCarly as Gibby’s girlfriend, Tasha.
7. In 2009, she attended UCLA, but left after a year to pursue modeling.
8. In 2013, suddenly everyone knew her name when she appeared, naked, in the music video for “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. (You can watch it here if you want.) The video, and song, went viral — and was then resoundingly critiqued for promoting rape culture. Ratajkowski herself said: “I’m glad that people are criticizing pop lyrics, because I think that’s an important thing to do.”
She went on to say it was weird to be “associated with a song that I didn’t write or sing. A song I’m going to deal with for the rest of my life, even though the video was a one-day job,” she told GQ.
9. Yet it’s also this video that catapulted her to stardom. One person who noticed? Ben Affleck. Affleck mentioned her to David Fincher, director of Gone Girl, who then cast Emily in the movie adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel. Emily played Andie, the mistress of Ben Affleck’s character.
“I got a dream role in a dream film,” she said of the movie.
10. She also starred in We Are Your Friends alongside Zac Efron, the Entourage movie, and the Amy Schumer film I Feel Pretty.
11. In September 2014, she was the victim of a celebrity hacking when her nudes were hacked and posted to the internet. In 2020, she would write about this moment:
“I thought about something that had happened a couple of years prior, when I was 22. I’d been lying next to a pool under the white Los Angeles sun when a friend sent me a link to a website called 4chan. Private photos of me — along with those of hundreds of other women hacked in an iCloud phishing scam — were expected to leak onto the internet. A post on 4chan had compiled a list of actresses and models whose nudes would be published, and my name was on it. The pool’s surface sparkled in the sunlight, nearly blinding me as I squinted to scroll through the list of ten, 20, 50 women’s names until I landed on mine. There it was, in plain text, the way I’d seen it listed before on class roll calls: so simple, like it meant nothing.
Later that week, the photos were released to the world. Pictures meant only for a person who loved me and with whom I’d felt safe — photos taken out of trust and intimacy — were now being manically shared and discussed on online forums and rated ‘hot’ or ‘not.’ Rebecca Solnit wrote recently about the message that comes with revenge porn: ‘You thought you were a mind, but you’re a body, you thought you could have a public life, but your private life is here to sabotage you, you thought you had power so let us destroy you.’ I’d been destroyed. I’d lost ten pounds in five days and a chunk of hair fell out a week later, leaving a perfectly round circle of white skin on the back of my head.”
We encourage you to go read the full essay (cw for sexual assault): “When does a model own her own image?”
Also, she’s currently working on a collection of essays.
12. She consistently uses her platform to speak out for feminist issues she believes in. Here’s her post from the Women’s March, quoting Jewish writer Naomi Wolf:
13. In 2015, she became the face of a Planned Parenthood PSA for birth control.
“Talking about birth control, but also the empowerment of women and sexuality, is unfortunately still a taboo issue, which is really a shame,” she said. “And for me, I could have used more examples growing up, especially coming into my own sexuality, of women who are in the public eye that are comfortable and not afraid of being associated with that issue.”
14. She campaigned for Bernie Sanders (in both the 2016 and 2020 elections).
15. She has a clothing brand called “INAMORATA WOMAN,” described as “a collection rife with easy, body-conscious essentials for the unexpected nature of the city.” It’s a lot of bathing suits and lingerie.
As she explained, “I think one thing about the lifestyle we grew up with is in the summer you wake up and you don’t put on an outfit—you put on your swimsuit and you immediately go get supplies for a day at the beach. You end up spending twelve hours in your bathing suit; you go get burritos in your bathing suit. I think it makes girls who grow up doing that develop this insane body confidence. You don’t even think about it.”
16. On February 23, 2018, she married Sebastian Bear-McClard in a courthouse wedding.
17. In 2020, she announced her pregnancy in a Lena Dunham-directed “cover video” for Vogue.
18. She and Bear have a dog named Colombo:
Every post of Colombo is amazing:
And we think we’ll end there. Can’t wait to keep cheering you on, emrata!