Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski is an Instagram star. Over 19 million followers log on to the social media site on a regular basis to see her latest posts. Photos of emrata, as she’s known on Instagram, in sexy swimwear or other seductive clothing appear on a regular basis, as do photos of her wearing very little or absolutely nothing.
Ratajkowski has become known for the myriad of poses in which she covers her breasts with her hands to keep photos Instagram-friendly. She recently spoke to Paper magazine, and talked about her concept of feminism and how she thinks of her Instagram account as “a sexy feminist magazine.”
The swimsuits in which the 27-year-old appears so often are from the swimwear line she launched in 2017, Inamorata Swim. Ratajkowski designs every piece, and sells them directly to consumers online. In recent months, she has also become a married woman, marrying film producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, with whom she had been friends for many years. She describes herself as being all over the map when it comes to interests and projects.
“I’ve always been interested in many things… Before, being a model was a contradiction to being an actress or being a musician — you couldn’t have a clothing line or be a designer. I don’t think that’s how creativity works… That’s never how it worked for me, I was always someone who was writing, painting, doing whatever…”
Ratajkowski’s first creative pursuit was theater classes her parents thought might lead to jobs with income, that could help pay for her college education. It wasn’t long before she had a job with Ford Models. She studied art at UCLA for a year before dropping out to focus on working. Her plan was to work for a couple of years and then go back to school. All that changed, however, when Emily was cast in Robin Thicke’s controversial 2013 video for his song “Blurred Lines.” It launched her model career in a way she didn’t expect. When she took on another project she sees as a creative outlet, her Instagram account, her popularity grew even more.
Ratajkowski says she thinks of her Instagram account as a magazine, “a sexy feminist magazine” to be exact. “Feminist” is not the first word that comes to mind for many who criticize her account as encouraging the objectification of women, but it’s a word the supermodel stands by.
“I think that the whole idea that because the body I was given might play into some patriarchal idea, I should be ashamed of it or be covering it up is ridiculous. I find empowerment in celebrating and sharing my sexuality. I think my body is beautiful and a lot of different bodies are beautiful.”
While she doesn’t think of herself as an activist, Ratajkowski does indicate that she has a passion for social issues, and was part of the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles. She has also shared photos of herself on Instagram that show her at the Women’s March, and participating in a protest of President Trump’s travel ban at LAX.
The one field that Emily Ratajkowski says she finds most challenging is film. She says, “There are a lot of older white men at the top who still don’t understand that just because you’ve seen a woman’s body, you can also take her seriously.”
As far as the swimsuit shots that are the target of so much criticism, designing and wearing them is empowering to Ratajkowski.
“I grew up in San Diego, and in the summer that is what you wore. You weren’t even at the beach, but you were living in a bathing suit. I love the confidence that came with that… It fit with my ethos of how I want women to think of their bodies.”
The beauty describes her swimwear work and photos as “empowering.” It’s an empowerment she hopes to take into many other pursuits including fashion and film-making in the future.