Emily Ratajkowski Talks Pregnancy, Paparazzi, and What Really Happened on the ‘Blurred Lines’ Shoot
Actress and model sits down with Howard to discuss her new book of essays, “My Body”November 9, 2021
For a woman with her own swimwear line, Emily Ratajkowski sure does wear a lot of hats. The 30-year-old model, mother, actress, fashion entrepreneur, and author made her Stern Show debut following the release of her new memoir, “My Body.” Her conversation with Howard touched upon a wide range of subjects, from growing up in San Diego where she spent every day in a bikini to the surprising feedback she received after giving birth to her son. She also opened up about coping with stardom, from learning to live with the paparazzi to the controversial “Blurred Lines” music video which first thrust her into the spotlight. The song was one of the biggest hits of 2013, but that didn’t always work to Emily’s advantage.
“I’d be in a bar, and it would come on, and I’d feel everyone turn to me, and I’d like duck,” she told Howard on Tuesday morning. “It was almost like they expected me to do a dance.”
While starring in Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I.’s ultra-popular music video did help make Emily a household name, her experiences on set weren’t entirely pleasant. In her new book of essays, Ratajkowski revealed Thicke inappropriately groped her bare breast during the shoot. The video’s director, Diane Martel, has since backed up Emily’s allegation, according to reports.
Speaking to Howard about what happened that day, Emily recalled Thicke being in a sour mood after he arrived on set. “I felt like he was annoyed that he wasn’t getting more attention. This was kind of his big moment,” Ratajkowski said. “I remember him kind of [feeling like,] ‘Hey, what about me?’ And that’s when this happened.”
Other than the incident with Thicke, Emily told Howard she actually enjoyed making the music video. “I both had a great time [on set] and also this moment happened where I felt humiliated,” she said.
Emily hasn’t really seen Thicke since they shot the music video, other than one time they ran into each other at a party. She did notice, however, when he blocked her on social media. Howard wondered if Thicke was upset she’d become more famous than his song.
“I think that could be right,” Emily agreed.
In 2018, Thicke and Pharrell were court-ordered to pay over $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s estate after a jury decided “Blurred Lines” had copied from Gaye’s hit 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.” While Emily didn’t weigh in on the judgement, she told Howard she’d confused the two songs herself.
“Funnily enough, I would sometimes hear the Marvin Gaye song and instinctively bolt to the bathroom because I thought it was ‘Blurred Lines,’” Emily laughed.
Deal With the Devil
Emily, like many celebrities, is frequently hounded by the flash bulbs of paparazzi. As annoying as that can be, she acknowledged their incessant coverage of her every move sometimes worked to her advantage.
“This week I’m running around promoting [‘My Body’], going on different shows … and they’re shooting it. It helps sell,” she told Howard. “Hopefully people will be like, ‘Oh, what’s she talking about?’ And maybe they’ll listen to this conversation and be interested in the book. It’s a double-edged sword.”
That double-edged sword drew blood back in 2019 when a tabloid photographer sued her for posting a picture of herself on Instagram which he had taken. “That’s a great way for them to make money because they know settling it will cost less money than fighting it,” Emily said, explaining she opted for the legal battle instead of giving in. “It’s really expensive. It would’ve been a lot cheaper to just write him a check.”
Since publishing an essay on the subject, she and several paparazzo have reached a ceasefire of sorts. “[They] said … ‘I’ll let you post whatever you want to post, just give me the shot,” Emily told Howard. “It feels a little bit like making a deal with the devil in certain ways but now I feel better.”
Emily Isn’t Attracted to Famous Men But Understands Why Some Women Are
Emily is happily married these days, but even back when she was single she was “really turned off” by the thought of dating famous and powerful men.
“It’s a strange thing but famous men who’ve pursued me, I’m always like, ‘Oh god.’ … Actors [are] a very specific type of dude [and] something about it just doesn’t work for me,” she said, adding, “I don’t want to feel like a prize in any way. I just want to have a nice relationship where it feels equal.”
Even so, she understood why some women were attracted to that kind of thing. “I respect the women who think like that. It’s just a different kind of hustling,” Emily said. “There’s an essay in the book about that. At one point I realized, ‘Who am I to judge any woman who tries to marry someone famous? I’m accepting money from really rich guys when I do a paid post for them on Instagram.’”
Growing Up Fast
Emily’s book goes into detail about her Southern California upbringing, from life as an only child and a mother who emphasized beauty to looking like a fully-developed woman at the age of just thirteen.
“You just grow up really fast,” she told Howard on Tuesday.
Her essays on the subject are getting people talking, but she could only laugh at how some media outlets sensationalized her story. “The New York Post had some headline that was like ‘Sad and sexualized childhood,’ which just like really cracked me up. I was like, maybe that should be my tramp stamp,” she laughed. “If that’s the takeaway from the book, Jesus Christ. Lord help me.”
Emily went on to say her mother’s fascination with beauty and sexuality taught her important life lessons at an early age. “ I think my mom was sort of saying, ‘Look you can celebrate that boys are into you,’” she said. “It made me super aware of myself.”
How Pregnancy Helped Her Appreciate Her Body in a New Way
Emily became a mother in March with the birth of her son Sylvester. Considering much of her career was based around her image, Howard wondered if the model and actress ever feared what havoc a pregnancy might wreak on her body.
But Emily insisted she never “freaked out” out about it. “My body was just changing and there’s not only my life but this little baby’s life on the line,” she recalled. “It was blowing my mind that my body was taking care of another life and mine so much that it actually kind of made me appreciate the way my body can be outside of the way it looks.”
Emily feels fortunate her body recovered so quickly after giving birth, but some naysayers chastised her for showing off her post-pregnancy physique on Instagram. “People were really angry,” she recalled. “I posted some video in pajamas that my company had just launched … [One woman] was so mad. She was like … ‘She wants us to know that she ‘snapped back.’ This is unrealistic pressure.’”
Emily didn’t understand the uproar. “Listen, my body is different,” she told Howard. “I have a little extra skin still.”
Emily Ratajkowski’s “My Body” is available now. Get information on her upcoming book signings here.