Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski is an American model and actress. Although she started acting at a young age and was barely a teenager when she became a professional model, most people recognize her from the racy and controversial Blurred Lines music video where she bared all in the unrated version.
Emily credits the video and the international attention she received from her appearance in it with increasing the spotlight on her and landing her acting roles and modeling appearances and accolades.
Emily has stirred controversy as a self-proclaimed feminist who is in touch with her body and believes women should be able to express themselves. This has sparked many to claim that she cannot be a feminist because she exploits her body in print and movies. Emily has been criticized for using her beauty and body to advance her looks. Emily is, however, an intelligent young woman who publicly advocates for women's health rights.
Here are 20 little known facts about Emily Ratajkowski.
1. She was born in London
Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski was born in London, England but is an American. Her parents were unmarried when she was born in Westminster. An only child, the family moved to San Diego at the age of 5. Emily's father is of Irish heritage and her mother's ancestors were Polish Jews. Emily attended San Dieguito Academy, the same school where her parents had met as teachers. She attended theater school and went to the University of California, Los Angeles. She left school to pursue her professional modeling career full time. Many people Emily meets are afraid to mispronounce her last name. The "J" is silent. Emily promised her father she would not change her name.
2. Her parents are liberal
Emily's mother is Kathleen Bagley, an English Professor, and her father is John David Ratajkowski, an art teacher and artist. Kathleen and John met while both taught at San Dieguito Academy in southern California. Kathleen taught English on a Fulbright Scholarship program. Emily's parents were 39 and 45 years old when Emily was born.
They spent much time in Europe until Emily was 5 and they moved to a small home by the ocean in San Diego. Her parents were liberal and took Emily with them to nude beaches in Europe. Her father's art background helped Emily feel comfortable with nude art and photography. Her parents did not allow Emily to watch television while she was growing up.
Emily remains very close with her parents. She often posts pictures of them on Instagram and credits them for their support of her career. She considers her parents to be her best friends. She is close with both and has said that she admires her father's artistic talents and her mother's feminist views and intelligence.
3. She started acting at a young age
Emily fell in love with the theater at an early age. Her first role was Elsa in The Little Match Girl. She studied at the North Coast Repertory Theater School in southern California. Emily also took ballet and played soccer. During her preteen and tween years, Emily pursued acting vigorously. She auditioned for many parts but became more selective as she aged.
4. She was signed as a model at 14
At just 14, Emily signed with Ford Modeling Agency. Her first modeling job was as a catalogue model for Kohl's. When she was older, she posed for art house erotic magazines including treats!. Eventually Emily found herself posing for fashion photo shoots. She appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2014 and 2015. That year, Emily walked the runway in New York Fashion Week for Marc Jabobs an the Parish Fashion Week for MiuMiu.
5. She was on the Disney show iCarly
Emily appeared in a few episodes of iCarly as Gibby's beautiful girlfriend. She was cast as the beautiful young girl playing the geeky Gibby's girl. Emily She went on many acting auditions but seemed to be typecast as the "bitchy girl" or the "cheerleader". Early on, her manager encouraged her be more selective in the roles she auditioned for.
6. She posed nude for treats! magazine
Throughout her career, Emily has posed nude for magazine photoshoots and covers. She also posed for art house erotica magazines. It was her bold pose on the cover of treats! magazine that Emily credits for getting her noticed and cast for Robin Thicke and Pherell's music video for Blurred Lines. Emily learned early on from her parents that she should be proud of her body and not be ashamed. She learned to view the human body as a piece of art therefore, Emily felt comfortable posing nude as long as she felt it was done artistically.
7. Her video music career
Her appearance in the Blurred Lines video certainly got Emily noticed. She appeared in both the clean and the unrated version of the video. In the unrated video, Emily appears topless. She initially took the role because she claims to be a feminist who supports women's empowerment, but many felt the video was exploiting. Emily also appeared in Maroon 5's music video for the song Love Somebody. In that video, lead singer Adam Levine covers Emily in paint.
8. She is a social media queen
Despite the controversy over Emily's choice of music videos and photoshoots, Emily quickly became a social media queen. Emily used Instagram to get her noticed which was helped by her appearance in the popular Blurred Lines video. Emily even befriended social media queen, Kim Kardashian, when she defended Kim's naked selfie. Kim sent Emily flowers and the two decided to create a double selfie together. Unfortunately, Emily's iCloud was hacked with several other Hollywood celebrities and private photos were exposed.
9. She was a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood
Emily's feminist views have led her to support several women's causes and become the spokesperson for Planned Parenthood. As an advocate for women's health issues, she supports Planned Parenthood which provides free birth control to women with low incomes and no health insurance. Although sometimes controversial, Emily credits her "3rd wave" feminist views to her parents and her love of Naomi Wolf's books The Beauty Myth and Promiscuities.
Emily's feministic views have been criticized by the media. Larry King asked if she was truly promoting feminism or exploiting feminism. Emily supports a woman's right to not be ashamed of her body. She believes she is guided on feminist principals. With her background in art and appreciation for nature and the human body, Emily believes that posing nude is an expression of beauty and art. Critics, however, continue to claim that Emily is merely exploiting the human body for money and fame.
10. She was in Gone Girl
Emily got her film role as Ben Affleck's character's mistress in the 2014 movie Gone Girl based on the popular novel by Gillian Flynn. Affleck persuaded the movies directors to audition Emily for the role, perhaps because of the Blurred Lines video. The role called for the character of Affleck's mistress, a former student, to be the polar opposite of his character's wife who was a blue blooded, ice cold woman.
Emily's acting career took off after Gone Girl. She appeared in Entourage, the film based on the popular HBO series. She also landed her first lead role in We Are Your Friends. She starred opposite Zac Efron. In 2015, Emily appeared in the film Entourage. Emily also landed a role in television. She appeared in the mini-series, The Spoils Before Dying.
11. She worked with Terry Richardson
Terry Richardson is a well known (and controversial) photographer. He came up with the concept of Miley Cyrus's infamous music video for Wrecking Ball. In addition, Richardson's been part of a number of photo shoots that have been considered extremely provocative by mainstream media. Essentially whenever someone is photographed by Richardson, it is bound to get attention for weeks. Richardson photographed Emily for GQ magazine. Needless to say, it was controversial.
12. She is a fan of Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson
Emily is a big fan of popular music. She has posted Intagram photos of Arcade Fire and Lady GaGa concerts. Despite not being able to watch television as a child, Emily somehow saw Michael Jackson's music video for Bad. She loved it and was a huge fan of Jackson's. So far no invites to be in any Gaga videos but we're sure that Emily would jump at the chance.
13. She wrote an article for Lena Dunham's blog
Emily penned a letter for Lena Dunham's blog for women, Lenny Letter. In it, Emily wrote about her body developing early and her difficulty and embarrassment about it. She goes on to criticize society's sexualization of the female body. The article didn't get as much praise as it probably should have. Most who read it were complaining because Emily is considered to be so attractive and doesn't deal with the same type of criticism as the "average woman."
14. Her romantic life
Emily dated Andrew Dryden until February 14. Dryden is a successful creative director and buyer for menswear. Since the break up, Emily has tried to keep her romantic life private. She has appeared in public with musician Jeff Magid. Although unconfirmed, it is widely believed that the two have been a couple since December 2014. Since then she's gone on to date many high profile actors and celebrities. Most recently she was with Eric Andre though that is over.
15. Magazine covers and accolades
Through the course of her modeling career, Emily has appeared in many magazine layouts and some famous covers. Esquire named her Woman of the Year in 2013 beating out fan favorite, Jennifer Lawrence. Rolling Stone named Emily one of the 20 Hottest Sex Symbols. FHM named her the 4th Sexiest Woman in the World. In 2014, Emily placed number 62 in Maxims Hot 100 list. Ask Men named her the 3rd Most Desirable Woman.
Along the way, Emily has been involved in some controversial magazine photoshoots. In July 2013, she appeared in the CR Fashion Book with both men and a woman. She appeared topless for the July 2014 cover of GQ America. The photoshoot was by famed photographer, Michael Thompson. Controversy arose when clothing company Land's End inadvertently sent some customers a free copy of a the GQ magazine that featured Emily on the cover. Many people who received Land's End were surprised to also receive the GQ magazine which was criticized for being racy.
16. She loves animals
Emily is an avid animal lover and adores her pets. She often photographs herself with her pets and other animals and posts the pictures on social media. She has posed with her dog and with her cat. She even posted a picture of her hugging a sheep. From what we know she's also a staunch advocate for the rights of animals. She hasn't posed for a PETA campaign yet but most men on the planet are praying that she does.
17. She was in Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary swimsuit issue
Emily appeared in Sports Illustrated's iconic swimsuit issue in both 2014 and 2015. She was one of the rookie models for the magazine's 50th anniversary issue. This combined with her popular nude photos and music video appearances got the attention of the public. Will she ever appear in the issue again? Only time will tell but she was considered one of the best models to work with by photographers.
18. She has lived in England, Ireland, Spain and California
Born in England, Emily was mostly raised in southern California. However, she also spent a lot of time in England, Ireland and Spain. She spent many summers as a youth in Ireland. She also frequently visited Majorca, Spain. As to which region is her favorite, Emily doesn't necessarily have one. She believes that all of the regions have something unique and special to offer that the other ones don't.
19. She did not want to be typecast as a young actress
Emily tried out for many acting roles as a child. She found herself to be typecast as the "bitchy girl" or the "cheerleader". Discouraged, she heeded the advice of her manager at the time to be more picky about the roles she auditioned for. Emily learned early on that integrity in her acting career was a better fit for her and her beliefs in empowering women. With this in mind, Emily is proud of the roles that she has been cast.
20. She is not focused on her acting career
Perhaps jaded by being typecast early on, Emily says that acting is not her priority. She enjoys acting and continues to look for good parts. However, Emily considers herself a professional model first and foremost. She believes it is the best way to express her beliefs that the human body is beautiful and believes in empowering women to not be ashamed of their bodies or their sexuality.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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