Emily Ratajkowski

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Emily Ratajkowski
Born Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski[1]
(1991-06-07) June 7, 1991 (age 23)[2]
Westminster, London, England
Occupation Model, actress
Years active 2004–present
Modelling information
Height 5 ft 7.5 in (1.71 m)[3]
Hair colour Brown[3]
Eye colour Brown[3]
Measurements 32C-24-34 (US)[3]
Dress size 2 (US),[3] 6 (UK)
Shoe size 8.5[3]
Manager Ford Models[3]
Website
www.emrata.com

Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski (/ˌrɑːtˈkski/, born June 7, 1991) is a British-born American[2] model and actress. She rose to prominence after her appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines", which became the number one song of the year 2013 in several countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom as well as the longest running Billboard Hot 100 number one song of the decade to date in the United States.

Her modelling career has progressed from retail adwork to arthouse erotica and high fashion. A cover appearance on the March 2012 issue of treats! is credited for her having been solicited to appear in two music videos, including "Blurred Lines", which became a controversial song. Subsequent to the success and controversy of "Blurred Lines", she became a high profile sex symbol and gained a place in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Her acting career began locally with youth acting roles in the San Diego area before moving on to a recurring role on iCarly and, subsequent roles in major motion pictures. Her feature film debut was in the 2014 film Gone Girl.

Early life and education[edit]

An only child,[4] Ratajkowski was born in the London borough of Westminster, 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 California when she was 5.[8] Her mother, Kathleen (Balgley), is a professor of English and a writer, whom Ratajkowski has described as a "feminist and intellectual".[8][9] Her father, John David "J. D." Ratajkowski, is a painter and art teacher.[8] Her father is of Polish and Irish descent.[10] Her maternal grandfather was a Polish Jewish immigrant and her maternal grandmother was of Irish and German origin.[10][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] Her parents met when they both taught at San Dieguito Academy.[16][10]

Ratajkowski was raised in Encinitas, California in a small house near the ocean.[14] She lived in and travelled to many parts of Europe at a young age and spent much of her childhood in Bantry in County Cork, Ireland, and Mallorca.[5][17] In fact prior to becoming a full-time model, she spent every summer since she was very young in Ireland.[10] Ratajkowski grew up without the influence of television. Before modelling, she tried her hand at soccer, acting and ballet as a youth.[1]

Ratajkowski was quite comfortable with the naked body due to her background. She appreciates the female form in photography and art. One of her influences was exposure to Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts books.[18] She has also been exposed to nudity in art because her father is a visual artist.[19] Additionally, she frequented nude beaches during her youth when she was in Europe, noting that "Mom was topless on the beach every summer in Majorca".[8]

Career[edit]

Her first 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] Among her other youth acting performances was in the 2004 interactive Harriet Potter and the Throne of Applewort production as Harriet at Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza.[20] After getting a lot of local youth acting experience, she was told that modelling could open doors for her acting aspirations.[4] She was eventually drawn into the elite levels of modelling by the inspiration of Bianca Jagger and Patti Smith.[18]

After a pair of nondescript movie roles, Ratajkowski appeared as Gibby's girlfriend, Tasha, in two episodes of season three of Nickelodeon's iCarly. The earlier film roles were trivial enough that at one time she described her iCarly role as "my first and only acting job".[1] In her schoolgirl years, she was typecast for auditions as the proverbial "bitchy girl" which became a bit tiresome.[8]

External video
"Frederick's of Hollywood - Holiday 2012" posted December 4, 2012
Frederick's KNBC Valentine's Day 2011 segment posted February 11, 2011

Ratajkowski was signed by Ford Models at age 14. She continued to attend high school in San Diego at San Dieguito Academy, while she modeled and acted in Los Angeles. She attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for one year in 2009, then decided to pursue her career in modelling full-time.[8] At the time, she eschewed many auditions because she was typically put forth for Nickelodeon, Disney mean girls, or cheerleaders.[21] As a young model, Ratajkowski worked for Forever 21, Kohl's, and Nordstrom as well as swimwear and lingerie clients,[8][22] but became recognized as a fashion model after shooting several campaigns and editorials with photographer Tony Duran.[22] Some of her other stepping stones included art magazine photoshots in various states of dress.[14] For example, in June 2012, she worked with Jonathan Leder.[23] Before she became well-known, Ratajkowski modeled for Frederick's of Hollywood.[24] As of 12 July 2014, two videos that she appeared in 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]

External video
Carl's Jr. "BBQ's Best Pair" Commercial (uncut) posted February 19, 2013

After her breakout with Duran, she began shooting more fashion editorials and appeared nude on the March 2012 cover of treats!,[26] which she credits for bringing her the two unsolicited high-profile music video roles.[9][27] Following her appearance on the cover of the third issue of the magazine its newsstand price changed from $20.00 to $30.00.[28][29] treats! is an artistic erotica magazine based in Los Angeles that was new at the time, and Ratajkowski posed for several of the first few issues.[8] She was featured in a Carl's Jr. commercial, with Sara Jean Underwood, in August 2012.[15] The ad was produced in both a 30-second version and an uncut version lasting over a minute.[30] 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 American GQ after her music video appearances came out.[22][31] As a curvaceous 5-foot-7-inch (1.70 m) model, Ratajkowski considers herself to have the potential to break barriers for models: "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."[32]

Music video performances[edit]

External video
"Fast Car" posted November 7, 2012
"Blurred Lines" posted March 20, 2013
"Love Somebody" posted May 21, 2013

Ratajkowski appeared in the music video for "Fast Car" by Taio Cruz,[33] which was released on November 5, 2012.[34] In 2013, she appeared in two music videos: Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams' "Blurred Lines"[35] and Maroon 5's "Love Somebody".[1] According to interviews in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Esquire, Ratajkowski was in the "Love Somebody" video before the "Blurred Lines" video,[1][9] which would be released two months earlier. A YouTube video on the making of the "Love Somebody" video indicates that the music video was shot on January 16, 2013.[36] The "Love Somebody" video was released on Vevo on May 21, 2013.[37] In the video, directed by Rich Lee, a topless Adam Levine uses inverse green screen technology to rub paint with his hands on the model subject. As they touch they reveal each other.[38][39] Levine "caresses and serenades" her simultaneously during the video.[9]

The March 2012 Issue 3 treats! cover featuring Ratajkowski is the image that brought her big breaks.

Thicke had seen the treats! magazine black-and-white cover and convinced director Diane Martel to cast her in the "Blurred Lines" music video.[8] Ratajkowski initially declined the role, but was swayed by the director.[14] She had feared being classified as a music video model.[8] The "Blurred Lines" music video, directed by Martel,[22] was released on YouTube on March 20, 2013 (two months before "Love Somebody").[35] An explicit version with extensive nudity was posted by Thicke on March 28, 2013.[40][41] Ratajkowski danced topless in one version of the music video and scantily clad in the other.[9] 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 men flirt with them in a fully dressed state.[42] Although YouTube banned the explicit version of the video on April 1 for violating its Community Guidelines due to its sexually explicit nature,[40] the explicit video remains available (although age-restricted) on the site.[43] Ratajkowski feels that all the attention to nudity was a statement about our society not having advanced as far as it should on all fronts: "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."[18] She feels that sexuality is repressed in contemporary society which is bad for both sexes.[4]

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

Ratajkowski[9]

In addition to being controversial for the nudity of its video, "Blurred Lines" was criticized as being sexist and for its take on themes of rape, particularly in regard to the repeated phrase "I know you want it".[42] When asked by Esquire about her thoughts on whether she thought the "Blurred Lines" video was sexist, she replied that she did not think it was.[9] In a separate interview for Complex, she said, "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." Additionally she said that she interpreted the video about "these ladies being silly and a little sarcastic".[44] In a September 2014 cover story for Ocean Drive magazine, Ratajkowski noted the extensive critiquing that the song got "gave me an opportunity to say the things that I felt about feminism today and about women in general in pop culture".[18]

"Blurred Lines" went on to become the number 1 song of the year on 2013 music charts in many countries, including Canada,[45] Ireland,[46] Netherlands,[47] New Zealand,[48] and United Kingdom.[49] Although the song placed second on the year-end US Billboard Hot 100 chart,[50] 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 weeks in 2009.[51]

Breakout[edit]

She rose to prominence for her controversial performance in "Blurred Lines".[9] Following her 2013 video appearances, Ratajkowski suddenly became a prominent sex symbol. On October 22, 2013 Esquire named Ratajkowski the "Woman of the Year" after she beat out Jennifer Lawrence in the final round of an online fan voting contest.[52] On February 4, 2014, Sports Illustrated named Ratajkowski as one of its 12 rookies for its 50th anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.[53] On April 30, 2014, FHM ranked Ratajkowski as the fourth sexiest woman in the world.[54] On May 23, 2014, Maxim revealed its annual Hot 100 list,[55] which included Ratajkowski at #62.[56] She also was invited to the 18th annual May 15, 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Hot List Party.[57] Ratajkowski won the "Our New Girlfriend Award" at the June 7, 2014 Spike Guys' Choice Awards.[58] AskMen ranked Ratajkowski as its third most desirable woman of 2014 and the hottest model of the year.[59][60]

She also appeared topless on the cover of Carine Roitfeld's magazine CR Fashion Book shot by Bruce Weber in erotic scenes with Karlie Kloss and male models in July 2013.[8][9][61] Ratajkowski was in a Rag & Bone ad campaign at about the same time.[8] Soon after her February 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit appearance, she was on the cover of the March edition of the Spanish S Moda.[62] Ratajkowski parlayed her sudden prominence into supporting roles in major motion pictures.[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 via 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 her for the part based on having seen her in the "Blurred Lines" video.[18] Ratajkowski's hometown U-T San Diego described her performance as "nuanced".[4] Although most reviews of the movie omit mention of this small role, Styleite '​s Ben Barna noted 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,[66] driving an Aston Martin (in real life she drives a Nissan Versa).[14]

On June 24, 2014, Ratajkowski appeared topless on the cover and in a photo spread for the cover story of the July 2014 edition of American GQ.[67] In the online videos and cover story, the newly-single model gave men dating advice.[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 what appeared to be her first leading role, opposite Zac Efron in We Are Your Friends, which was set to begin production on August 18.[70] On August 15, Ratajkowski became the new face of Italian retailer Yamamay.[71][72] She was among a large group of female celebrities involved in a multiple wave nude photo hacking and posting scandal 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 unveiled as the covergirl for the November 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan.[77] The publicity surrounding her first major role in Gone Girl brought forth images from the timeline of Ratajkowski's life demonstrating her background.[78]

Personal life[edit]

Ratajkowski had been dating creative director and menswear buyer Andrew Dryden prior to February 2014, when they split.[79][80] Prior to becoming a pop culture phenomenon with her video appearance, Ratajkowski had become fed up with people spreading rumors that she has had breast augmentation surgery, and she responded by posting a picture of her ample 14-year-old self on Twitter.[81] This action was not really noticed until well after her rise in popularity.[82] Emily has residences in both Los Angeles and New York City.[9][17][83] Ratajkowski is a Karaoke fanatic.[84]

Filmography[edit]

Film
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 Post-production
TBA We Are Your Friends Sophie Pre-production
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2009–10 iCarly Tasha 2 episodes
Music video
Year Title Artist Role Notes
2012 "Fast Car" Taio Cruz Principal
2013 "Blurred Lines" Robin Thicke, ft. T.I. and Pharrell Co-principal Year-end #1: CAN, IRE, NED, NZ & UK
2013 "Love Somebody" Maroon 5 Principal

References[edit]

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External links[edit]