With abs that stop traffic, an entrepreneurial approach to her modelling career and convictions about social issues that range from human trafficking to reproductive rights, Emily O’Hara Ratajkowski, known universally as “Emrata”, is just the tonic the fashion world needs now.
Born in London in 1991, raised in San Diego, Ratajkowski was a child actor in the Nickelodeon series, ‘iCarly’. She sprang into the wider public’s imagination after appearing on the March 2012 cover of the erotic magazine treats! which led to her appearance in music videos ‘Blurred Lines’ and Maroon 5’s ‘Love Somebody’. Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues soon followed and she then took to the catwalk for brands such as Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu Dolce & Gabbana and Versace.
Her feature film debut was as the steamy mistress in the 2014 film ‘Gone Girl’ and she has enjoyed cameos and bit parts in several other movies since then, including as the idealised model-type in the Amy Schumer comedy-social commentary ‘I Feel Pretty’. Cast as the outwardly perfect woman, Ratajkowski aimed to show that even beautiful people can suffer from low self esteem, disappointment, rejection and lack of luck in love.
At the time, Emily admitted she used to react angrily to people who judged her by her supermodel looks and assumed she was one-dimensional. “Truth is, we’re all completely struggling with our self-image and worrying about what people think of us,” Ratajkowski stated. “Every day is a different day for me. Some days, it’s like I am the absolute best; I cannot believe I exist on this planet. Then other days, you really don’t want to leave the house. “There was definitely a period where it made me feel bad about myself, as crazy as that sounds, and it made me kind of mad. But I’m able to laugh about it now.”
A passionate advocate for women’s health issues as a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, Ratajkowski is a self-identified feminist, and not shy about expressing her own sensuality. Nobody could miss her deceptively simple, knock-out attire on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair 2020 Oscars’ After Party, although all eyes were on her svelte figure, not her outfit – which for the record was a white bandeau top and matching skirt from her own label, Inamorata. And a lot of midriff. She told Elle magazine that confidence was a lot more than what you see in the mirror. “I think that confidence is about how you feel, as cheesy as that sounds. In mean, there’s so many different ways you can criticise your body, and it’s not just about what size you are, you know? “I feel like women, and young women especially, are just so hard on themselves and constantly comparing themselves.
I don’t know if I see that as much with men, certainly not physically. I think that you really want to be the sexiest, the smartest, the most hardworking. And that’s great that those are the things that we all want. But it’s also important to realise we’re human beings, and you’re not always going to be all the things that you want to be in every given moment.”
Her brand, Inamorata Woman, is the result of channelling her love of fashion and sexy aesthetic into an eclectic range in partnership with her long-time friend, Kat Mendenhall. The diverse and decidedly alluring collection is inspired by their Southern California beach upbringing.
The latest addition to the range is the Body Collection lingerie line Ratajkowski calls “sexy and supportive”. As Ratajkowski explained: “From my standpoint, from how we grew up, all different body types were beautiful. No one was questioning how naked they were. It was just all natural, fun. Inamorata Woman is all about applying that same attitude to our lifestyles when we’re in New York. It’s that beach attitude taken to the city. It’s not about the body, it’s about the confidence, it’s about self-love.
“I think the Inamorata woman is the woman 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.” In this age of celebrities documenting every moment of their lives on social media, and barely any secrets even if they eschew the limelight, Ratajkowski surprised the world with her wedding to independent film producer, Sebastian Bear-McClard in February 2018, managing to maintain privacy and tying the knot in a New York City Courthouse.
Wildly in love, enjoying a wave of success with her label, Ratajkowski is proving she is no different from the rest of us, facing the dramatic lifestyle changes imposed on the world under recent Covid-19 restrictions. In an Instagram post, she revealed how time at home is making her slow down and appreciate the simple things in life.
“Finished Love Is Blind (um, wow), ate two frozen pizzas w/ ranch, made calls from bed & took family selfies,” she wrote, promising there will be many more photos of her pup to follow. “He makes us the happiest and I’m going to take this opportunity to post a ton of pics of him ‘cause you know what? We all could use some puppy pics right about now.”