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Emily Ratajkowski

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Emily Ratajkowski
Born Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski
(1991-06-07) June 7, 1991 (age 23)
Westminster, London, England
Citizenship American
Occupation
  • Model
  • actress
Years active 2004–present
Modelling information
Height 5 ft 7.5 in (1.71 m)[1]
Hair colour Brown[1]
Eye colour Brown[1]
Measurements 32C-24-34 (US)[1]
Dress size 2 (US),[1] 6 (UK)
Shoe size 8.5[1]
Manager Ford Models[1]
Website
www.emrata.com

Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski[2] (/ˌrɑːtˈkski/; born June 7, 1991)[3] is an English-born American model and actress. She rose to prominence after appearing in the music video for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines", which became the number one song of the year 2013 in several countries. Following its success, she became a high profile sex symbol, appeared in the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and began a movie career.

Ratajkowski's modeling career has progressed from retail adwork to arthouse erotica and high fashion. She appeared on the cover of the March 2012 issue of erotic magazine treats! This led to her being asked to appear in two music videos. Among her other cover appearances are GQ, Cosmopolitan and FHM. She has now been in two Swimsuit Issues.

Ratajkowski's acting career began with youth acting roles in the San Diego area before she gained a recurring role on iCarly and later roles in major films. Her feature film debut was as the mistress of Ben Affleck's character in the 2014 film Gone Girl. Ratajkowski's first leading role will be in the upcoming film We Are Your Friends with Zac Efron. Her other upcoming roles include being in the casts of Entourage and The Spoils Before Dying.

Early life[edit]

An only child,[4] Ratajkowski was born in Westminster, London, to American parents.[5] Her mother and father (aged 39 and 45, respectively)[6] were not married at the time.[7] The family moved to San Diego when she was five.[8][9] Her mother Kathleen Balgley is a professor of English and a writer, whom Ratajkowski has described as a "feminist and intellectual".[8][10] Her father, John David "J. D." Ratajkowski, is a painter and art teacher.[8] Her father is of Polish and Irish descent.[11] Ratajkowski's maternal grandfather was a Polish Jewish immigrant and her maternal grandmother was of Irish and German origin.[11][12] Her father was raised Catholic; her mother was raised Jewish and teaches at the San Diego Jewish Academy.[13] Her mother formerly taught at California Polytechnic State University, known as Cal Poly.[14] When asked about her heritage in 2012, Ratajkowski answered "Polish Israeli" although she had not yet been to Israel.[15] Ratajkowski's parents met when they taught at San Dieguito Academy.[11][16]

Ratajkowski was raised in Encinitas, California, in a small house near the ocean.[14] During her youth, she lived in and traveled to many parts of Europe, and spent much of her childhood in Bantry, County Cork, Ireland, and in Mallorca, Spain.[5][9] Prior to becoming a full-time model, she spent every summer in Ireland since her early youth.[11] Ratajkowski grew up without the influence of television. Before modeling, she tried her hand at soccer, acting and ballet.[2]

Exposure to the nude female figure in photography and art during her formative years prepared her for her eventual nude and semi-nude appearances before the camera.[17] Ratajkowski said she is comfortable with the naked body due to her background and life experiences, stating "We have this culture of men, especially, watching pornography, but then [are] offended by a classic nude portrait or photograph, and I've never felt that way".[17] Her father's work as a visual artist exposed her to nudity in art.[18] Ratajkowski also frequently visited nudist beaches during her youth in Europe; she said, "Mom was topless on the beach every summer in Majorca".[8] Among her influences was exposure to the photography of Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts in books.[17]

Career[edit]

Ratajkowski's enjoyed doing theatrical performances for her family as a kid.[19] Her first formal acting role was as Elsa in a production of The Little Match Girl at the Theatre School of the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, California.[4] She also appeared as Harriet in the 2004 interactive production of Harriet Potter and the Throne of Applewort at Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza.[20] After gaining local youth acting experience, she was told that modeling could be a gateway into an acting career.[4] She was inspired by Bianca Jagger and Patti Smith.[17] Ratajkowski was signed by Ford Models at age 14.[8] She continued to attend high school in San Diego at San Dieguito Academy, while she modeled and acted in Los Angeles.[21]

In her adolescent years, Ratajkowski decided to pursue an acting career, but in auditions she was often cast as a "bitchy girl",[8] cheerleader, or other limited roles she did not want.[21] After two nondescript movie roles, Ratajkowski appeared as Gibby's girlfriend Tasha in two third-season episodes of Nickelodeon's iCarly. Despite her previous minor film roles, she described her iCarly role as "my first and only acting job".[2] Her manager discouraged her from pursuing many acting engagements until she was in a position to be more selective.[8][21]

External video
"Frederick's of Hollywood – Holiday 2012" posted December 4, 2012
Frederick's KNBC Valentine's Day 2011 segment posted February 11, 2011
Carl's Jr. "BBQ's Best Pair" Commercial (uncut) posted February 19, 2013

Ratajkowski attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for one year in 2009, then decided to model full-time.[8] She worked for Forever 21, Kohl's and Nordstrom, swimwear and lingerie clients,[8][22] but became recognized as a fashion model after shooting several campaigns and editorials with photographer Tony Duran.[22] She also did nude and clothed art magazine photograph shoots,[14] including a June 2012 shoot with Jonathan Leder,[23] and modeling work for Frederick's of Hollywood.[24] As of July 12, 2014, two videos in which she appeared for the company—a featured Holiday 2012 video and a local Valentine's 2011 video—were among the five most popular videos on the company's YouTube channel.[25]

The March 2012 Issue 3 treats! cover featuring Ratajkowski is the image that led to her being cast in the video for "Blurred Lines"

After her work with Duran, she began shooting more fashion editorials and posed for several of the first few issues of the Los Angeles-based artistic erotica magazine treats!, and appeared on the cover of the magazine's March 2012 third issue.[8][26] She credits the magazine for bringing her the two unsolicited, high-profile, music video roles.[10][27]

Ratajkowski was featured with Sara Jean Underwood in a Carl's Jr. commercial in August 2012.[15] The advertisement was produced in a 30-second version and an uncut version lasting over a minute.[28] At about the same time she became a Nikon model.[8] She has worked with photographers such as Tony Kelly, with whom she shot the March 2013 cover of GQ Turkey. The images from that cover story were later re-used in the July/August 2013 issue of American GQ after her music video appearances were launched.[22][29] As a 5-foot-7-inch (1.70 m) model with "curves that put her in a different class from runway models", Ratajkowski considers herself to have the potential to break barriers for models, saying, "I want to be a model that breaks down the traditional body boundaries. You don't have to be 5'9" and an A-cup to be a successful model, and that's nice."[30]

Music video performances[edit]

Ratajkowski is well known for appearing in Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams' video "Blurred Lines". Before her "Blurred Lines" performance, Ratajkowski had been cast in two other music videos; "Fast Car" by Taio Cruz,[31] which was released on November 5, 2012,[32] and Maroon 5's "Love Somebody",[2] which was released two months after "Blurred Lines".[2][10] Both "Love Somebody" and "Blurred Lines" were produced in 2013.[2][33] A YouTube video about the making of the "Love Somebody" video shows that it was shot on January 16, 2013.[34] The "Love Somebody" video was released on Vevo on May 21, 2013.[35] It was directed by Rich Lee, and shows barechested Adam Levine using inverse green screen technology to rub paint onto Ratajkowski with his hands. As they touch they reveal each other.[36][37] Levine "caresses and serenades" Ratajkowski during the video.[10]

Thicke had seen Ratajkowski on the cover of treats! magazine in what Bee Shapiro of The New York Times described as a "an artfully composed black-and-white photograph of Ms. Ratajkowski sitting completely nude with her knees tucked to her chest" and convinced director Diane Martel to cast her in the "Blurred Lines" music video. Upon viewing the cover, Martel decided that "She looked smart and stunningly beautiful".[8] Ratajkowski initially declined the role, but Martel persuaded her to accept it.[14] She had feared being classified as a music video model.[8] The "Blurred Lines" music video was released on YouTube on March 20, 2013.[22][38] An explicit version of the video, with extensive nudity, was posted by Thicke on March 28, 2013.[39][40] Ratajkowski danced topless in one version of the video and was scantily clad in the other.[10] In the explicit version, the models "cavort" about the stage in shoes and nude-colored thongs for a large portion of the video, while the fully dressed men flirt with them.[41] Although YouTube banned the explicit version of the video on April 1 for violating its Community Guidelines due to its sexually explicit nature,[39] the explicit video remains available, although age-restricted, on the site.[40] Ratajkowski said she felt the attention given to the nudity in the video illustrated that American culture had not advanced as far as it should have. She said, "We're at an interesting time where women have been told to take the [birth control] pill is cool, to sleep with whomever you want, or wear what you want. But if you're naked, it can be offensive or sexist in some way."[17] She said sexuality is repressed in contemporary society, which is bad for both sexes.[4]

We're [the women in "Blurred Lines"] directed to have a sort of confidence, a sarcastic attitude about the whole situation [depicted in the video]. That eye contact and that attitude really puts us in a power situation. The [music video] director, Diane Martel, is a woman, and so is the [director of photography]. We really worked on that and tried to convey that in the video. The way we are annoying [the men in the video], being playful and having a good time with our body [sic]—it's something very important for young women today to have that confidence. I think it's actually celebrating women and their bodies.

–Emily Ratajkowski,[10] discussing her role in "Blurred Lines"

In addition to creating controversy for the nudity in its video, "Blurred Lines" was criticized as being sexist and for its approach to rape, particularly in regard to the repeated phrase "I know you want it".[41] Ratajkowski told Esquire she did not think the video is sexist.[10] She told Complex magazine, "I think there's different kinds of nudity, and there's different kinds of sexiness, and obviously it's hard to distinguish those things. I think that the video was tasteful, beautiful, and there's nothing offensive about it." She also said she interpreted the video to be about "these ladies being silly and a little sarcastic".[42] In a September 2014 cover story for Ocean Drive magazine, Ratajkowski said the song "gave me an opportunity to say the things that I felt about feminism today and about women in general in pop culture".[17]

"Blurred Lines" went on to become the number 1 song of 2013 on music charts in many countries, including Canada,[43] Ireland,[44] Netherlands,[45] New Zealand,[46] and United Kingdom.[47] Although the song placed second on the year-end US Billboard Hot 100 chart,[48] the song's twelve consecutive weeks at number one made it the longest-running number-one single since "I Gotta Feeling" held the spot for 14 consecutive weeks in 2009.[49] It was the longest running number one song of the 2010s decade until "Uptown Funk" surpassed it with a streak of fourteen consecutive weeks at number one in 2015.[50][51]

Rise to fame[edit]

The "Blurred Lines" video garnered Ratajkowski much fame and attention,[10] especially as a sex symbol.[52] On October 22, 2013, Esquire named Ratajkowski the "Woman of the Year", beating Jennifer Lawrence in the final round of an online fan voting contest.[53] In December of that year, Rolling Stone listed her among its 20 hottest sex symbols (from both sexes) of the year.[52] On February 4, 2014, Sports Illustrated named Ratajkowski as one of its 12 rookies for its 50th anniversary Swimsuit Issue.[54] On April 30, 2014, FHM ranked Ratajkowski the fourth sexiest woman in the world.[55] On May 23, 2014, Maxim included her at #62 on its annual Hot 100 list.[56][57] She also was invited to the 18th annual May 15, 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Hot List Party.[58] Ratajkowski won the "Our New Girlfriend Award" at the Spike Guys' Choice Awards on June 7, 2014.[59] AskMen ranked Ratajkowski the third most desirable woman of 2014 and the hottest model of the year.[60][61]

She also appeared topless on the cover of Carine Roitfeld's magazine CR Fashion Book in erotic scenes with Karlie Kloss and male models, photographed by Bruce Weber in July 2013.[8][10][62] Ratajkowski parlayed her sudden prominence into supporting roles in major films.[8] She played Andie Hardy, the mistress of Ben Affleck's character, in David Fincher's 2014 film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl.[63] She got the part through a New York City "cattle call" audition and a subsequent Los Angeles reading with Affleck and Fincher.[64] Fincher was seeking an actress who could bring a divisive element to the film.[14] Affleck encouraged Fincher to consider Ratajkowski for the part after seeing her in the "Blurred Lines" video.[17] Her hometown newspaper U-T San Diego described Ratajkowski's performance in Gone Girl as "nuanced".[4] Styleite‍‍ '​‍s Ben Barna said he received positive feedback on her performance.[65] On March 4, 2014, she joined the cast of the 2015 film, Entourage, in which she will appear as a fictionalized version of herself.[14][66]

On June 24, 2014, Ratajkowski appeared topless on the cover and in a photograph spread in the July 2014 edition of American GQ.[67] The newly single model gave men dating advice in the online videos and cover story.[68] The magazine caused controversy at retailer Lands' End, which had arranged for its best customers to receive a free copy of the issue. Some of the company's customers objected to the racy cover and accompanying images in the associated story. As a result of the customer dissatisfaction, Lands' End CEO Edgar Huber made a public apology.[69]

On July 31, 2014, Ratajkowski announced her apparently first leading role opposite Zac Efron in We Are Your Friends, which was set to begin production on August 18.[70] On August 15 that year, Ratajkowski became the new face of Italian retailer Yamamay.[71][72] In September, she was among a large group of female celebrities involved in a multiple wave of hacking and internet posting of nude photographs in September.[73][74] A few days after Gone Girl premiered at the 2014 New York Film Festival on September 26,[75][76] Ratajkowski was announced as the covergirl for the November 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan.[77] On October 30, 2014, she appeared with Taylor Kitsch in the live-action trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in advance of its November 4 release.[78][79] Ratajkowski appeared on the cover of the February 2015 issue of FHM,[80][81] but she claimed via Twitter that her picture was used without her consent.[82][83] FHM has stated "We liked the pictures so much we stuck one on our front cover".[84]

In March 2015, Ratajkowski was announced as part of the cast for The Spoils Before Dying.[85][86] Her sex appeal remained high as evidenced by a #18 ranking in the FHM 100 Sexiest Women In The World 2015 list released on April 28.[87] On May 4, 2015, she attended the Met Gala, but made news by wearing a dress from Topshop that was priced to be affordable to the masses.[88][89][90]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Andrew's Alteration Young Girl Short film
2005 A Year and a Day Girl
2014 Gone Girl Andie Fitzgerald
2015 Entourage Herself
2015 We Are Your Friends Sophie Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009–2010 iCarly Tasha Episodes: "iSpeed Date", "iEnrage Giddy"
2015 The Spoils Before Dying Main cast

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist
2012 "Fast Car" Taio Cruz
2013 "Blurred Lines" Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell
2013 "Love Somebody" Maroon 5

References[edit]

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