Emily is an American erotica model, beautiful film actress and charming fashionista who has often received criticism for doing what she loves. Rising to fame through the eye-blowing music video 'Blurred Lines', Ratajkowski has since graced numerous magazine covers and music performances. Despite her controversial life, the charming model is a modern feminist who advocates for celebration of the female body.
Born to American parents in London, Emily O’Hara Ratajkowski’s father John David Ratajkowski was a painter and art teacher while her mother Kathleen Balgrey was a professor. Ratajkowski is of the polish-Jewish ancestry and was raised a Catholic. Balgrey on the other hand was raised as Jewish. Emily could however best be described as of British Isles, Polish, German and Jewish ancestry. The different backgrounds resulted to them travelling a lot across Bantry, Ireland and Majorca. According to Emily, this exploration helped shape her career from early days.
Even then, Ireland remains one of her favourite places on earth. With both her grandmothers living there, Emily spends almost every summer in Bantry.
John and Kathleen met when they were both teaching at San Diegulito. Emily was born when his father was 45 and her mother 39. They were also unmarried at the time of their daughter’s birth. The family initially lived in Kensington and Bloomsbury but later moved to San Diego, California when Emily was five.
Although Emily grew up without a television in her house, she was obsessed with theatre as a young girl. She loved acting and would perform stage shows with her family as the audience. However, she had tried a hand in soccer, acting and ballet, but none of the two captured her mind than modeling.
Emily attended San Dieguito Academy for her formal education and while there, she was offered a modeling contract. She then joined University of California to pursue fine arts, but quit after one year to fully commit herself to modeling.
At an early age, she got early exposure to nudity since her parents would visit nude beaches in Europe frequently. She also admired her mother topless on the beach and this further inspired her love for modeling. This exposure together with her father’s artwork and doubled with photography by great men like Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts played a big role in Emily’s nude work today. Emily confesses that she is quite comfortable with her naked body and more so when she poses totally or semi nude in front of the camera.
Ratajkowski obsession for modeling persisted but her parents were reluctant to give a go ahead. As an only child in a tight-knit family, they wished for a different profession for their daughter. Her mother actually once told New York times that Emily would be a brain surgeon. To them, they felt that their daughter was too young and they were not ready for a child-star model at that time.
In an interview, Emily nevertheless stated that she was quite lucky to have parents who encouraged her to enjoy herself as a woman. Her mother especially was a feminist and intellectual who inspired Emily to celebrate herself and believe that she can do almost everything. That attitude has been crucial for young Ratajkowski as a model.
Emily’s first acting role came by in 2004 after she was featured in The Little Match Girl. She played as the character Elsa at the Theatre School of the North Coast Repertory. The same year, she also played as Harriet in the Theatre production Harriet Potter and the Throne.
At age 15, Emily started auditioning for Disney Channel and iCarly roles. Soon enough, she bagged a role in the third season of Nickelodeon’s iCarly and played as Tasha, Gibby’s girlfriend in two episodes. After these small roles, her manager discouraged her from taking more acting roles until she became quite aware of her best acting roles.
Later in 2014, Ratajkowski starred in the thriller film Gone Girl as the character Andie Fitzgerald who was Ben Affleck’s mistress.
The following year, Emily co-starred in the film Entourage as a fictional character of herself. She played the love interest of Vincent Chase and her performance received sharp criticism as most people thought that it was not compelling enough.
Nevertheless, she got a supporting role in the 2015 movie The Spoils Before Dying. Although she appeared late in the television film, her role as Agent Day was positively reviewed by several critics.
Ratajkowski landed her first leading role in August 2015 in the musical drama We Are Your Friends where she appeared opposite Zac Efron. Her character was Sophie, the love interest of Efron. The role received mixed reviews with some describing her performance as stunning and sweet and others criticizing her for being dull. The film further uplifted her fame after she was selected to be part of the film’s promotional tour across Europe and North America.
Emily has recently been featured in several films that include Cruise, Darkness, the Netflix series Easy and Project Runway.
Ratajkowski modeling career typically began when she was a child. Having being exposed to a progressive life, Emily admired the female body on beaches.
At the age of 14, Ratajkowski signed a contract with Ford Models to do teen print catalog modeling. She then immediately started working for Forever 21 Kohl’s and Nordstrom swimwear and lingerie lines.
Her obsession for modeling is what precisely made her drop out of the University of California. The fine arts course she was pursuing conflicted with her artistic concept and she therefore quit and decided to focus on full-time modeling.
Ratajkowski’s first nude pose was for the Treats Magazine cover in 2012. The black-and-white photograph comprised of Ratajkowski sitting completely nude with knees tucked on the chest. Despite a lot of negative reviews, the cover landed Emily two high profile music videos later.
In July 2013, Ratajkowski was featured on the CR Fashion Book that includes erotic scenes with several other male and female models. One year later, she appeared topless for the GQ American Cover and this did not go too well with the public.
In 2014 and 2015, she appeared on several other magazine covers that include Cosmopolitan, FHM, Grazia France, British GQ, InStyle UK, InStyle Australia and Harper by Harper’s Bazaar.
Emily appeared in the 2013 video for ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke after he noticed the controversial model on the Treats Magazine cover. The music video was a great hit and peaked at number one on music charts in various countries. The popularity gave Ratajkowski a wide exposure which helped mould her future career. This further saw Ratajkowski named the woman of the year by Esquire magazine and Rolling Stone listed her among twenty hottest sex symbols on its list. However, critics described the video as sexist and degradation for women with some feeling that the lyrics promoted rape.
On the video ‘Love Somebody’ released in 2013, a bare-chested man appears to rub Ratajkowski’s chest using inverse green screen technology. Emily’s nude body is then revealed as she is being touched.
Ratajkowski is not only noted for her modeling, but she has on several occasions been admired for her beauty and sense of fashion. Having appeared on the Maxim’s Hot 100 list for two consecutive years and AskMen ranking her as the most desirable woman in 2014, there is no doubt why Emily has a huge fan base.
She is also a philanthropist and has done charity and severally appeared in public donations. Her notable public service is probably her advocacy for reproductive and sexual health for Planned Parenthood (PPFA) whose main role is women’s health. The foundation has also been supported by the National Right to Life Committee.
Even then, Ratajkowski has remained a controversial artist due to her nudity modeling. However, she defends her line of work by stating that, “I don’t think my career would have happened if it wasn’t for the way I look.” For this reason, she credits her sexy body and appearance for her success to date. In justification, she reveals that she poses nude for own enjoyment.
Her choice of career has been highly rebuked by some of her family members who feel that she is better suited for another profession. When she officially started modeling at 15, close relatives were afraid that she would be a victim of creepy men taking advantage of her naïve self. Or even worse, come into contact with agents who often force young girls to lose unnecessary weight. Although, the criticism made Ratajkowski uncomfortable, according to her, there was no better career in her life than artistry.
In 2015, Emily, together with several other female celebrities, was a victim in an online hack that saw her iCloud account hacked and all personal photos and videos uploaded online for public viewing. Although Ratajkowski was beyond the act’s control, the issue was hugely criticized by his fans across the world.
Ratajkowski advocates for sexual appreciation for the female body. She once came to Kardashian’s rescue after she posted a naked selfie on her Instagram that attracted public attention. The two ladies came together to advocate for sexual empowerment and highly rebuked body shaming.
In 2015, Ratajkowski accused photographer Jonathan Leder for releasing a book containing 70 of her nude pictures without permission. According to sources, Emily had taken part in a photoshoot conducted by the mentioned photographer in 2012 for purposes of artful works. Although, it remains unclear whether the two parties reached an agreement, the copyright law was in favor of Emily Ratajkowski.
Politically, Ratajkowski endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential campaigns. She asked her fans to vote for Bernie and not to go with the crowd supporting Hillary Clinton. This speech was against fellow celebrity Gloria Steinem’s statement that urged women to support Hillary as she faced male counterparts. In the speech, the talented model further stated that if she was to run for presidency, her goal would be redistributing wealth in the United States.
Emily is a modern feminist and she got the inspiration from her mother who supports equality for women. Emily is outspoken and is never afraid to stand for what she believes is right. She clearly states that she enjoys the freedom of sexual expression. To her, being sexy is a kind of beauty and self expression that should be celebrated. She however terms the societal notion of the naked female as trashy and playing into men’s desire something she calls weird. And for their perception, Emily clearly states that she has no apologies to make since people’s view to her sexuality is not her problem but theirs.
Emily’s position as a feminist has also been questioned with some calling her an opportunist exploiting feminism. The bold diva has however rebuked the criticism stating that she is a feminist with more to say than others. She further expressed frustration on a society that feels that a sex symbol like her cannot support fellow women. According to Ratajkowski, it’s fine with her being a professional nude model and at the same time support equality among women.
On relationship matters, Ratajkowski has had several unsuccessful relationships but never married. She started off dating Andrew Dryden, a creative director and menswear, but the two broke up in 2014. The talented model then remained single for a while before focusing on another relationship.
Her second public relationship was with Jeff Magid, a great mucisian known for the ownership of RBI Media LLC. The company serves recording artists, music superisors and TV films. The two are still together as of 2017 and are seen together in parties and functions from time to time.
Although Emily’s hometown is in California, she has residences in Los Angeles and New York.
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya