Emily Ratajkowski: ‘I’m Sick Of Women Being Told They’re Cheating By Having Work Done’

Model Emily Ratajkowski on the joy of cancelling plans, treatment transparency and WFB (working from bed)


by Verity Clark |
Published on

Premieres, parties and private jets. That is the life I imagine for one of the most in-demand models on the planet. The reality for Emily Ratajkowski is somewhat different. ‘I had dinner plans last night and I cancelled them,’ she tells me. ‘I went to bed at 9.30pm and it felt incredible.’

When we speak, it is early January and Ratajkowski is in manifesting mode. The decision to bail on dinner is part of her plan to prioritise herself. ‘I’ve got to be a lot more intentional about how I spend my time now that I’m a mom,’ she says. So, how does she execute the perfect bail? ‘Once you decide to do, or not do, something you have to stick with that choice and never think about it again.’ A good life lesson.

Sharing advice is something that comes naturally to Ratajkowski. Her first book, The New York Times best-seller My Body, explored the complexities of being a woman. Or perhaps, more accurately, the complexities of being Emily Ratajkowski. The 32-year-old has been objectified and viewed as a commodity since she appeared in Robin Thicke’s 2013 music video for Blurred Lines. More recently, she hosted a podcast, High Low, where she discussed everything from Biden to Botox.

©Instagram @emrata

So it’s no surprise that talk quickly turns to the thorny subject of ‘having work done’. Having spoken openly about her own experiences – Botox, yes; pouty lips: model’s own – Ratajkowski is on the warpath against the double standards that society often holds women to. ‘I am so sick of the Kardashian critique,’ she says. ‘Telling women that they’re somehow cheating by having work done while also having this incredible pressure on them to be the ultimate beauty. It’s tiring and I don’t like it.’

Contrary to popular opinion, Ratajkowski applauds Gen Z and the ease with which they share their lives on social media. ‘It’s really refreshing to see people on TikTok talking about their nose jobs, there is so much less shame attached to it for the younger generation.’ Does she believe celebrities have a responsibility to be transparent about what they’ve had done? ‘I don’t think they have an obligation to, what people do privately is up to them. Saying that, I do hope that we continue in the direction of being more transparent. Particularly public figures who are held up as these pinnacles of beauty.’

©Instagram @emrata

With a face that smoulders – even at 6am – Ratajkowski embodies these pinnacles of beauty herself. Having fronted campaigns for major fashion houses including Viktor & Rolf, Marc Jacobs and Victoria’s Secret, she’s easily one of the most recognisable women in the world. Deep brown doe eyes framed with nothing but the subtlest hint of eyeliner, pillowy lips enhanced only by clear lip gloss, Ratajkowski doesn’t look a million miles from her beauty crush, Penélope Cruz. ‘She has a signature look that is so timeless and I really admire that.’

In terms of her own signature look, Ratajkowski is happiest when she looks like herself. She’s into no-make-up make-up and describes her beauty vibe as ‘a sexy Bobbi Brown’. Unsurprisingly, given she grew up on the beach in San Diego, she feels at her best when she’s a ‘bit tanned, a bit salty’. But living in New York isn’t conducive to a year-round beach glow, so her make-up bag is filled with items that help cheat a sun-kissed look – a freckle pen is an everyday staple.

Scent also plays a part in making her feel like herself. ‘My mom always put fragrance on for special occasions, but it felt like it was something she was doing for herself.’ Now, Ratajkowski does the same. Candles all over the house create a cosy atmosphere while a spritz of a fresh, summery perfume, such as Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Tiger Lily, £95, is a way of ‘making me feel like I have that post-beach warm glow’.

Holiday mode may be ignited by perfume but, for now, there’s work to be done. A new writing project is underway – ‘don’t call it a book until it exists, that will curse it’ – which Ratajkowski admits she’s been working on mostly from bed because, ‘It’s a way of tricking myself into feeling like I’m not sitting down, so there’s no pressure.’ On top of everything else, she’s a hands-on mother and freely acknowledges that the work-life juggle is ‘so hard’. Life is busier than ever. ‘I look back at my twenties and think, wow, I had it good,’ she laughs. From cancelling plans, scrolling TikTok and working from bed, these days she’ll do anything she can to ‘find that time to myself ’. Ratajkowski may be a supermodel but, turns out, she’s also a regular Millennial.

Emrata's Beauty Essentials

With coconut milk, tiger lily and mango, this summery scent ‘really makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation – it’s my hack for faking a summer vibe.'

‘I’m big on blush, I really like the way blush looks on me.’ Technically a lipstick, this pigmented colour works as a blush, too.

‘I always have a few different variants on a lip combo in my make-up bag.’

‘I’m a drugstore girly when it comes to my moisturiser, and other than moisturising I just let my skin be.’

Verity Clark is the Acting Health & Beauty Director at Grazia

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