If you happened to be living under a rock last summer you might have missed 23-year-old model Emily Ratajkowski's stunning breakout as one of the nearly naked dancers in Robin Thicke's controversial "Blurred Lines" video. More than 320 million views on YouTube later, Ratajkowski (the j is silent) still stands behind director Diane Martel's daring vision but admits, "I didn't expect the video to become this pop-culture phenomenon."
The director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) took notice; he cast her in his next movie, Gone Girl, which is due out in October. In the film, based on Gillian Flynn's best-selling 2012 novel, Ratajkowski plays Andie, a college student and mistress of a journalist (and possible wife murderer) played by Ben Affleck. On the subject of working with an Oscar-nominated director famous for his perfectionism, Ratajkowski gushes, "I worked really well with David because I was ready to be a student and he is the best teacher. He wants to do a hundred takes and I want to do them for him."
Despite her exotic looks, that foreign last name, and being born in London, Ratajkowski grew up in Southern California, the daughter of an artist and an English professor. "People either think I have a crazy Polish accent or a British accent; then I say 'gnarly' and surprise everyone." Ratajkowski signed to Ford Models at 14, but she always had her eye on the big screen, holding out for the right situation. "I didn't want to act in high school because I was sick of auditioning for Nickelodeon, Disney mean girls, or the cheerleader," she says. "I came back to it when I had enough leverage to pick and choose." The long-game strategy paid off. "I got a dream role in a dream film."
Emily talks Beauty, Diet, Exercise, Books and Boys
A year after she made the world do a triple take with her shoulder-shimmying appearance in Robin Thicke's summer 2013 anthem "Blurred Lines," Emily Ratajkowski's star is still shining. In fact, it's rising. The California beach girl will appear in the much anticipated film adaptation of the thriller novel Gone Girl with Ben Affleck, out this October, and is now filming the coming-of-age story We Are Your Friends, alongside Zac Efron.
The acting thing actually isn't something new: The brunette bombshell signed with an acting agency when she was 14, and through them, landed a contract with Ford Models as well. In fact, Ratajkowski is many things: an actress, model, bookworm, cook, and self-proclaimed karaoke fanatic. At the risk of sounding cliché (and making us even more envious), you might say she's the whole package. So when we had the chance to talk to the multi-faceted star, we peppered her with questions about all things fashion, men, literature, her career, and what it's like to get naked in front of the camera. Below, Ratajkowski shares her beauty and workout routine, plus her go-to designers when she wants to feel sexy—and tomorrow we'll get down to her dating life, what she looks for in a guy, and the naked stuff.
What does your beauty routine look like? What products do you swear by?
I love all of the Tarte Cosmetics because they're good for getting that dewy kind of look. They have a great mascara too. For my day-to-day, especially because traveling is so drying, I use a couple of different moisturizers: Chloé body lotion and Aquaphor sometimes. I put Aquaphor on my knees because planes dry me out so much.
Do you have any makeup tricks you've learned along the way?
Always keeping your eyebrows brushed up: If I don't have on any makeup and my eyebrows are in place, I feel ready, like camera ready. Also, putting lip stuff on your cheeks. I only use cream blushes or just straight up lipstick. On shoots, a lot of makeup artists do the same. It just looks so nice on your skin. Even in person, forget photographs, it's like a better look—less powdery.
If you weren't a model and you could do whatever you wanted with your look, is there anything you would do? Like bleach your hair or get a piercing?
Yeah, my mom has always had short hair, and I think she looks so good with it that I would just like to try my hair super short, like two inches. Honestly, I am not a huge beauty girl, so I'm pretty low-maintenance, California. I like going in the ocean and leaving my hair for two days with the saltwater beachy look. I think that is part of the reason I would love to cut my hair short. I just wouldn't ever have to think about it.
Tell me about your eating routine and exercise routine.
You know, I'm a carnivore. I really like to eat meat. I crave iron so I am definitely not the kind of person who you will find eating a salad. I like to keep it really balanced to give my body energy and also be healthy. I cook a lot, so that really helps: You know how much salt and sugar and all of that kind of stuff you are putting in your body.
What do you indulge in?
I think its good to indulge occasionally. I wouldn't say I am the type of girl who craves Doritos but I definitely love a good cupcake sometimes. You know what I mean? Or a croissant in the morning. I think it is like really important to give yourself a break. And also just really think about where things are coming from what kind of ingredients are going into your body.
And what about working out?
I really like to hike. L.A. is a great place for that. And doing yoga a couple of times a week is a really big part of my regimen.
What about fashion? What brands do you gravitate toward?
I really love Céline. Obviously. Alexander Wang. Givenchy. Those are probably my main favorites. Dolce & Gabbana too. I have been wearing their dresses to a couple of different events recently, and I was just like, 'Man, these guys know how to make a woman feel sexy.'
So where do you buy your lingerie?
I don't love fancy lingerie. It's beautiful, but I want to be able to be comfortable day-to-day. I love Cosabella because I don't like a padded bra, just underwire. I already have pretty full cups, so I don't want the extra push up, but I do like a little bit of support. They have just really beautiful, simple, comfortable bras that are really pretty and affordable.
Were you prepared for how much attention you got after "Blurred Lines"?
No. Absolutely not. I just thought it was another job—a music video, kind of fun. There are a million music videos and a million things that go up on the web. It took even a while for me to really understand how big of an impact it really had because people still love it, you know? Even a year later. I am really happy, but I think when you are working on a project and you are inside of it, you can't get that perspective of what is going to hit.
I heard that you love karaoke. Have you ever sang "Blurred Lines"?
I have never done "Blurred Lines."
So, what's your go-to karaoke song?
"Doo-Wop (That Thing)" by Lauryn Hill. It's so hard to sing, which is part of the reason I love it. It's a challenge.
How does it feel to be recognized on the street now?
Honestly, I just forget sometimes that this has happened and walking down the street someone might recognize me. Every time it happens, especially in New York where it happens like every day, I'm still shocked, like 'Oh, thank you'.
Is it mostly men or women who come up to you?
It's both actually, but maybe more women just because they are more comfortable with approaching.
So guys get nervous around you?
Um, yeah, it's just funny because they'll say 'Oh this picture is for my friend' and then we will go and take the picture and I can feel them shaking.
Have you ever felt held back by your beauty?
I hope no, but it's sort of a hard thing to judge. Certainly when I was going to UCLA, I did feel like there was a funny thing with being a model. Sometimes with women, they can be weird, you know how unfortunately women can react to other attractive women, threatened or whatever. But I think in general I have been very lucky and I have a lot of really wonderful people in my life.
Do you have a lot of girlfriends?
I have been so lucky, especially in my young adult life, to have a lot of really good girlfriends—which wasn't always true. I think it took me a while to understand how to even feel comfortable. But now I have a really solid group of girlfriends who I love and it makes me so happy.
You're very well-read and smart. Do you have to prove yourself to people because you're so beautiful?
I don't believe in proving myself ever. I'm in the school of thought where if someone is a curious person they can find whatever they want. So I like to present myself as I feel comfortable and not worry about having to prove myself. I hope that people around me, or at least when it comes to dating and even friendships, will be curious and the kind of people I attract will be the kind of people I want in my life anyway.
So when you are looking for a partner is his intelligence something that is very important to you?
Yeah, certainly. I don't know if it is something that I look for, but it's definitely something that I like to enjoy with someone. I really like people who are creative in some way too. I have noticed that in my dating history, I tend to get along with people who like to make things or are creatively inclined.
You've appeared nude at least a few times for work. Is there something that you have to do to get comfortable in your own skin before a shoot?
I've always felt very comfortable in my own skin. I grew up going to beaches in Spain where I would see topless women. My dad is a visual artist so I have seen so many nude paintings and that was something I always loved and was drawn to. I always found the female form from the photographer or the artists' side to be a really interesting and beautiful subject. So I never really thought of judging my body. I thought '"kay, we are going to make this image using my body and this person's eyes or camera.' So I never even thought about giving myself a pep talk, not because I'm so incredibly secure, but more because the way I framed it was different.
What are you reading right now?
I am reading Blow-Up because I have never read it and am really liking it. I am also reading a collection of short stories from my favorite author, Lorrie Moore. I love her books so it's been kind of fun to read her stories this way. I am also reading a book called After Visiting with Friends by Michael Haney.
Do you write as well?
Yeah, it's just kind of for fun, you know? Not something that I really share with people, but I love writing. I did go to UCLA for art, but the other option was going to Sarah Lawrence and doing creative writing all the way. So that is part of the reason I love to read so much.
Are you trying to make the transition from modeling to full-time acting or will you continue to model?
I would definitely like to continue to model. I have a place in New York and that to me is sort of a beacon of light with the fashion world. I will definitely continue to do both. I don't know that it needs to be a transition from modeling to acting. I think that they can both exist at the same time.
What are your goals for the future when it comes to your career?
Right now I would love to take a role that shows that I can really act. Not just like the model turned actress who can sort of make her way through a film and look pretty. I would really like to take on something that really surprises people and shows that I want to be taken seriously as an actress. Also, creatively speaking, that sounds really fun. As far as acting goes, that is definitely a goal, and then I would like to be in New York and make some moves within the fashion industry too. So we'll see.
[all pictures taken from her instagram]
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