Emily Ratajkowski, Model


"I’ve been modeling for a long time, but only full-time for the last two years. And my career's definitely changed... What's funny is initially my agency turned down [Robin Thicke's] 'Blurred Lines' music video. We said, ‘There’s no way dancing in a music video nude is going to be cool.’ But the director, Diane Martel, wanted to meet with me, and after we talked, I was totally on board. She told me that she would make it fun and interesting, and how making eye contact with the camera would change everything. If you look at art history, nudes making eye contact with the viewer completely defeat the power of the male gaze. It’s crucial. Our attitude in the video was a little silly—we’re rolling our eyes, ignoring the men, and making fun of them... It’s also supposed to be about celebrating your own body and about confidence. It was a fun video, and in general, I have always felt great about nudity.

I was born in London, but I grew up in San Diego, and now live in New York. Growing up, my family spent every summer in Mallorca and Ireland and my mom, who is an English professor and a hippie, was always topless at the beach. And when I was little, I was always naked on the beach and around the house. I never felt there was this sexuality that was immediately tied to nudity. I thought, 'This is a body and it’s beautiful.' Yes, of course a naked body is sexy, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I developed early, and it was awkward because people would say weird things, but my mom taught me to never apologize. She always said, ‘Just love yourself. That’s all that’s important.’ I don’t think there has to be anything dirty or gross or objectifying about nudity. It’s not so black and white.

My mom is one of those people who always had 12,000 beauty products, but only used three of them. When I was a kid, I would always be like, ‘Why do we have this in the house? What is this 20-year-old stuff?’ As I got older I realized that you can just have five things that you love and a simple routine that you stand by. Then, you don’t ever have to think about it. Everything that I have, I use on a daily basis.

I don’t even use face wash—I clean my face with water. Then, I use a little bit of drugstore moisturizer, like Neutrogena, to take off my makeup. I put it on and rub off eye makeup with a tissue; it’s the fastest, easiest makeup remover. My main thing is Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar moisturizer. It’s so nice and thick. When I want my skin to look really dewy, I’ll put Aquaphor under my eyes at night. It just makes my skin feel firmer and moist. It’s especially good when I’m traveling, to keep my skin from drying out and over-producing oil.

For makeup, after my face is moisturized, I mix a little Hope in a Jar with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup, Broad Spectrum SPF 20 in Natural Beige. It’s amazing! It’s so light and you don’t need anything to apply it with, or to wear anything else. If I need any spot coverage, I use Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette. I found it one time that I had a huge casting, and I had a bad breakout. The night before, I did terrible things to my face, and I woke up and emailed my agent and said ‘I cannot go to the casting.’ It was an important meeting. She said, ‘You’re crazy. They already know what you look like. It doesn’t matter if you have a zit.’ But I thought it was terrible, so I went to Sephora for help and they gave me that palette. It saved my life. [Laughs] I have a brush to apply it with, but it’s easier to blend with my finger. I can use it under my eyes, too.

I have a serious thing about brows. If I don’t put on any makeup, I at least need to brush my eyebrows with Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara. Once they’re standing up straight, I feel pretty. I used to use a Chanel product, but you don’t need the Chanel, it’s the same thing. I fill them in with Maybelline Expert Eyes Twin Brow and Eye Pencil in Medium Brown.

On my cheeks and lips I wear a berry lipstick—Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in #9. It’s super nice because you can put on a tiny, tiny little bit, and, for cheeks, it works better than powder blush. My lips are pale. When I get on set, people always ask me what I have on them because they’re so light. So, this lipstick gives my lips some dimension. It’s funny because in ‘Blurred Lines’ everyone loved that I had red lips, but people are sometimes scared to use color on me because my lips are so full. I like wearing something darker, though. At night, I put the berry lipstick on thicker, or I use MAC Russian Red. That’s my fancy makeup—either a red lip, or a cat eye.

For me, a cat eye looks really exciting. I use Revlon's ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen because it has a nice felt-tip point—it’s just so much easier than drawing it on with a brush. I don’t even own eye shadow. For mascara, Clinique High Impact Mascara is nice because it doesn’t go on really thick, it just volumizes and looks relatively natural.

In terms of hair, mine is very fine, but I have a lot of it. I hate washing it, so I only do it every three to four days with Bumble & bumble Gentle Shampoo and Mending Conditioner. In between, Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo is my savior. I was using baby powder before, because that’s what they use on set. I don’t really like the dry shampoo sprays, because they don't last. Powders make my hair get fuller and you don’t have to do the blow dry/wash thing too often. I think it just fucks with your hair too much.

I don’t wear perfume. I used to wear DKNY Be Delicious but once I ran out, I kind of just stopped. I really love the scent of my body wash—Bliss Soap n' Scrub. It smells amazing, like you’re getting super clean. Two in one! After that I moisturize my body with Bliss Body Butter.

When it comes to clothes, I’m kind of a minimalist. I have a full cup, so clothes hang differently. The avant-garde stuff that looks great on flat chested girls doesn’t always work for me. But I want to be a model that breaks down the traditional body boundaries. You don’t have to be 5’9” and an A-cup to be a successful model, and that’s nice."

—as told to ITG

Emily Ratajkowski photographed by Emily Weiss on August 28, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • amelia

    Do you ever read Top Shelves of models and think, 'wow, I'm never going to be that low maintenance'. Hahaha

    • Janet Lee

      So true! Having said that, if I had nice skin and manageable hair, it would cut my routine by 99.9%!!!

  • Emily Knott

    I love posts like this! So helpful!


  • Francesca

    she's STUNNING.

  • alice Bradshaw

    Thank you for this post.. I love emily I follow her on instagram before the clip of Robin Thicke, I think she's absolutely perfect.




  • sara

    what is the brand of her top?


    so pretty!!

  • Charlotte

    I love that she is actually low maintenance. great top shelf ITG!

  • Michelle Lee
  • freudianslippers

    I would love love love to know what she was wearing on her lips in the Blurred Lines video. I'm OBSESSED and I've been dying to find out! ITG you are perfect.

    • Sophie

      Yes, please share ITG! I've been trying to work it out for months. I still feel a little iffy about the video in general, but there is no denying the make up is stunning.

    • i2uthanne

      I asked the make up artist for the video, Sharon Gault, what kind of lipstick was used in the music video on twitter and she responded! She said her assistant used Calvin Klein lipstick.


  • http://buyingcrueltyfree.com/ Catherine

    This model totally stood out to me in the video, she nailed the whole feel of the video so perfectly. She's also just completely gorgeous!

  • Chrissabella

    Great post, and she's stunning!


  • http://www.kpfusion.com/ Kimmie

    she is such s doll. I like that she mixes products and isn't caught up on brands. she just uses what works!

  • Chantel

    She looks so pretty!

  • Juliana

    a hippie with 12.000 beauty products?

  • sarah

    "If you look at art history, nudes making eye contact with the viewer completely defeat the power of the male gaze" I get what she's saying, in terms of art history eye contact makes her naked and not nude (when you're nude you're not aware of your lack of clothing, when you're naked you're aware, it's Eve before and after she took a bite from the apple). In the video she's naked and her sexuality is out in the open, it's not just about the viewer's sexuality. That being said, I take it with a grain of salt, because this isn't turn of the century painting, this is a music video.

  • http://ellaprettyblog.blogspot.com/ Ella Pretty Blog

    Loved this post - Emily is so gorgeous and looks like she's having so much fun in the video (I've only watched the censored version lol). I also recognized her in some forever21 pics on their site. I absolutely loved the red lipstick she wore in the video - anybody know who makes it? She's inspired me to rock red lips too - it's definitely attention-getting! I use MAC's REDD.

    MY BLOG: ♥♥♥ Ella Pretty ♥♥♥

  • Aubrey Green

    I'm obsessed with her, she's pretty much perfect.

  • Lana

    I have no idea how people only wash their faces with water. If I were to do the same, my skin would be a mess. Sigh. Love this simplistic approach. Major money saver!

  • Lana

    definitely a prettier version

  • Lana


  • Holly

    I would feel great about nudity, too, if I had her bod. Good god!

    • Leetoki

      Yeah, I read that and was like 'I would have no probs about nudity if I could be flaunting that" When I watched that video, I was actually mildly depressed by how amazing her breasts are, and i'm not one to dwell on something like that haha. I'm sure she works hard to maintain it all though, and kudos to her for it.

  • lulu

    I want to know more about the no face wash thing, how does she take off her foundation? Must know these things!!

    • Cat

      I would really REALLY not advice anyone to not *properly* wash their face. Some people have the genes to get away with it in their youth, but sooner or later they too will have to learn!

      (By properly I don't mean harshly. Foaming face washes infuriate me haha. Something simple that doesn't completely strip your skin like a balm/milk/oil and a facecloth will do. Rant over. Sorry.)

  • Aubrey Green


  • Catherine

    She has as much right to talk about nudity and body image as that 'fat chick' from Girls. I don't think she's preaching and since when did being conventionally beautiful automatically exclude you from body image issues?

  • Olivia

    That red lipstick she was wearing in "Blurred Lines" was perfect! Can ITG find out what they used? Glad you guys covered her in Top-Shelf what a babe!

  • clarie

    This picture doesn't do her rack justice lol
    I said the same thing until I "google imaged" her

  • Jane Stevens

    Such a brilliant post ......... I like it very much http://beautiesfactory.co.uk

  • http://www.cakevsscales.co.uk/ Monta Rosa

    Oh she's stunner & low maintenance...After the 'Blurred Lines' video she went right to the top of my boyfriends fancy list and I seriously don't blame him :)

  • Ivy

    I fall in love with her after watching the Blurred Lines, good to know what she is using on her face!!!!!!


  • ITGLacey

    Update—thanks for the catch!

  • http://aboutdrama.blogspot.ru/ DRAMA

    She is amazing! Love her Instagram (EMRATA)


    • brookesmasher

      YOU are amazing!!! love your photo...BABE MUCH

  • C

    Because she brought it up? She is telling us about her experience and the way she sees it, why should we not discuss how the message is and has been perceived on our end? Some people find the song offensive, some don't. That's ok I guess. But if anyone feels this, or any other song/person/institution etc. is encouraging "rapey" anything, they most certainly can and should express it.

  • tary

    Yeah, of course it's great feeling good about nudity and your own body, but the music video is so NOT about that. It is just the most objectifying thing I've seen in a long time... I get that it's suposed to be fun, but that is not what it is... It's so strange to see those men fully dressed and the girls naked...

    • Kyle

      It seems it "is so NOT about that " to YOU. Maybe you are looking at it different then others. There is a possibility that you are not taking it the way they wanted you to. Of course that is your choice but then is it their fault if you are not comfortable with it ?

  • tary

    "I can't stand when skinny models who happen to have big racks, act like they are defying all logic of modelling by being "curvy""

    Exactly! Is like when they make Gisele the spokeswoman for "real bodies". Yeah. Right.

  • jfs537 .


  • Nina R.

    "...nudes making eye contact with the viewer...completely defeat the power of the male gaze" has a long history and Emily is displaying her education here! The revolutionary and celebrated "Le Dejeuner sur L'Herbe" by Edouard Manet can be credited with starting this imagery.

    The video itself is open to interpretation, but the confrontational nude female gaze is loaded with meaning.

    • Jessica

      Many Playboy models stare directly at the camera, and they are most certainly sexual objects. I do not think that the woman looking back completely defeats the power of the male gaze.

  • holydances

    no, but she certainly represents it. She is a "model" after all, representing and being a spokesperson for the brand/clothing/song/art, whatever they may be modeling.

  • Leetoki

    Very true - she's a girl next door who could turn vampishly sexy in a flash, they would just eat her up over there!

  • Nina R.

    s.m.: I am not giving my seal of approval to the video but pointing out Emily's own intellectual analysis. Videos and visual media can be looked at as having the impact that paintings did in the past. The impact of the pose and nudity in the Manet painting in its time may be seen as analogous to the uproar over the video and song.
    Jessica: "Defeating the power of the male gaze" does not negate the the existence of objectification and as I said it is loaded with meaning, including awareness of being sexually objectified. I am glad to know that the participants in the video at least gave some thought to what they were doing.
    Thank you for your polite criticisms. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to comment and not be attacked. I think it's pretty amazing that there is a beauty blog that provokes this kind of discussion - go ITG!

  • Anne

    So glad she mentioned the red lips in the video! I have a screen grab of it and have been after that shade for ages. ITG, we need to know!

  • morganmoon

    who is her top by?? i looove it

  • Get it already

    Robin said himself that the lyrics are about trying for 20 years to turn his wife into a 'bad girl' in bed.

  • Melanie

    Can you let us know where her top (or is it a dress) is from? It's breezy pretty.

  • beautyandfollynyc

    Wonder if "Russian Red" is the lip color from the Blurred Lines video!

  • Mr. M

    "blurred lines is the most creepy, rape-y song/video i have come across in a very long time".

    I have to agree with you... and i am a male. It is distressing to think that the evolution of dialogue/engagement between a man and a woman still leads with the man 'thinking' of how he can tame/untame a woman to do his bidding. Sexual slavery much? It's not even a fantasy anymore! ha.

  • catcherinthestyle.com

    Love this POST!!! Emily is amazing ;)


  • Cindy

    Really??? Google her.

  • Allie

    Her lips look HEAVENLY. The lipstick just went on so softly.

  • Rani

    She actually admits to using various products like Sisley, in other interviews. Trying to come off as effortless is probably part if her agenda. However she got endlessly mocked for that in a New York Times article. Really, just admit you're human too.

  • Marta

    I LOVE her rings in these pictures!!! Does anyone know the brand or know one with similar rings?

  • Col

    I think I have more of a problem with the word rape-y than I do the video. Should rape be turned into an adjective to throw around to describe music videos? Maybe it's kink. Maybe it's fun teasing. Probably insulting to her to say she was part of something promoting rape culture. But the idea that she thinks she's breaking down walls in the modeling world by being a size 0 with big boobs deserves an eye roll.


Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion Sensitive Skin SPF 30
philosophy Hope in a Jar
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Neutrogena Healthy Skin
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20, Natural Beige
MAKE UP FOR EVER 5 Camouflage Cream Palette No. 1
Maybelline Expert Eyes
Maybelline Expert Eyes Twin Brow & Eye Pencils, Medium Brown
MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural #9
Clinique High Impact Mascara Black/Brown
Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Gentle Shampoo
Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Mending Conditioner
ALTERNA 'Caviar Anti-Aging' Dry Shampoo
bliss Super Minty Soap 'n Scrub
Bliss Lemon and Sage Body Butter
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen