EMILY RATAJKOWSKI HAS MADE THE MOST OF THE YEARS SINCE “BLURRED LINES” VIDEO-FUELED STRATOSPHERIC NOTORIETY BY CONTINUING TO MODEL, ACT, AND MOST RECENTLY LAUNCH HER OWN BODYWEAR/UNDERWEAR LABEL
BY MATT SCANLON • PHOTOS COURTESY OF INAMORATA WOMAN
Emily Ratajkowski’s trajectory from journeywoman model to international sensation happened in a timespan virtually without precedent in the fashion and style worlds. Her appearance in a 2013 video for the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and rapper T.I., was, by any analysis, pivotal in propelling the song to first-place chart performance in 25 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Republic of Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. Quickly certified quadruple platinum, the track placed the then 22-year-old into a position of nothing less than stratospheric fame.
Born in London in 1991 and the daughter of two teachers, she was largely brought up in California. Ratajkowski explained to Esquire in a 2015 interview that she was raised in an environment of both intellectualism and feminism. Fascinated by acting even before she left the UK, particularly theater, she took roles early in school years, including playing Harriet in the 2004 San Diego Lyceum Theatre production, Harry Potter and the Throne of Apple wort. Also a devotee of both soccer and ballet in her youth, she ultimately turned attention to modeling, was signed by Ford Models at 14, and completed shoots that same year in teen catalogs for both Nordstrom and Kohl’s. After attending UCLA for a year, Ratajkowski made the decision to model full time. One of her most visually stunning gigs was for the art/erotica magazine treats!, and she appeared on that magazine’s cover in March of 2012. It was these shoots that caught the attention of Thicke and the producers of the “Blurred Lines” video, and the rest is, proverbially, history.
There’s been steady work since, including an opportunity for Ratajkowski to revisit her affection for acting. There have been 10 TV and film parts since that music video entree, including roles in Gone Girl (2014), the HBO series Entourage, and most recently a lead in this year’s Vertical Entertainmentdistributed art heist caper film, Lying and Stealing. Another lead will be in a pilot for the NBC series, Bright Futures, which was in post-production at press time.
On the modeling and entrepreneurial side, there was the 2017 launch of Inamorata Woman, a body wear/underwear label that shot a recent look book in, of all places, a Brooklyn bodega. The Inamorata line runs from relaxed loungewear to alluring lingerie, and was, Ratajkowski detailed in a company interview with fashion notable Kat Mendenhall, “inspired by the Southern California town I grew up in,” its collection “rife with easy, body conscious essentials for the unexpected nature of the city.”
“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 immediately go get supplies for a day at the beach,” added Ratajkowski. “You end up spending twelve hours in your bathing suit; you go get burritos in your bathing suit,” detailing later in the Q&A that, “I think the Inamorata woman is the [kind] who will wear a bra top out to walk her dog and not even think about it. She is confident and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.”
That trademark confidence was on most recent display when Ratajkowski was photographed by Richard Avedon for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar wearing a black lace bra and showing off a patch of armpit hair (she also wrote an article for the issue on sexuality and gender fluidity, among other topics). The inevitable post-pic pique, principally among male Twitterers and Instagrammers, seemingly bothered her not at all. She replied in her own Instagram feed that, “I wrote [the Harper’s essay] about the importance of women’s right to choose (how she dresses, what she posts, if she decides to shave or not) no matter what influences have shaped the way she presents herself. Do your thing ladies, whatever it might be.”