Emily Ratajkowski Gets Real

Emily Ratajkowski Gets Real

Emily Ratajkowski Gets Real

Emrata speaks with Inez Van Lamsweerde on male fragility, politics, and adding 'essayist' to her personal brand.

Emrata speaks with Inez Van Lamsweerde on male fragility, politics, and adding 'essayist' to her personal brand.

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Styling: Alex White

VMagazine's own, Inez Van Lamsweerde opened a discussion with the model, actress, and entrepreneur, Emily Ratajkowski —asking real questions and getting real answers. With no topic off-limits, we discover more about public figure Emrata as she reclaims her private life. The candid conversation between the two appears in the pages of V126, available for pre-order now at the VMagazine shop here.

Read the full interview and view the stunning photos below:

INEZ VAN LAMSWEERDE Hi, Emily! Are you in the Hamptons?

EMILY RATAJKOWSKI Yeah, we’re here!

IVL It’s beautiful, huh? How has it been going? Have you been able to keep your Inamorata [swimwear line] going?

ER This was the first year of having our own office, and a lot of new hires. So to postpone things was nerve-racking. But in May, we had our biggest month ever, since our founding. That was a surprising moment. How has work been for you guys?

IVL In terms of photography, it has started back up just recently. I wasn’t a fan of the FaceTime shooting. We did two shoots like that, and it wasn’t the same experience. Or at least it wasn’t the reason I got into taking pictures...To capture someone’s most heroic moment with joy and a true exchange and connection however short.

ER Right. What I love about you and Vinoodh is there’s so much joy. In any creative industry, you see people lose sight of that. It becomes just a job. But I feel like you really still have it: [exuding] joy in the process of creating images, or even just meeting people. You’re so curious and excited. I think that’s such a rare thing.

IVL I’m generally extremely excited by people and by meeting new people. It’s not just, “Go stand there,” and that’s it. It’s an exchange. But they also have to want to be involved. I sometimes wonder what it’s like for a model...Coming on a job, and then having to project what people want. What if it’s completely not your style or your taste? How do you handle yourself or [summon] your confidence in that situation?

ER It’s a really good and specific question. In general, you have no control. When I was younger, I just kind of let things happen. And I struggled with that. I’m so glad that I don’t [have to do that] now. I’m not this passive person who is not in control. I’m 29, so I’m kind of leaving [that] behind. That’s the great thing about having Inamorata.

IVL You model everything you make, too. It’s such a perfect extension of you…

ER Yeah, I’m choosing the vision–everything from the images to the fabrics. Which is what I love: being creative. I love art, I love film. And I’m selling my book in September.

IVL You’re publishing essays? Is this what I’m hearing?

ER Yeah. My mom is an English professor and a writer, so for a long time, I was like, that’s her thing. [Meanwhile] I had this career track of my own. But I was so young [that] it didn’t really feel like something I had chosen. Then in the last couple years, I went through a lot...A lot of growing up. I got married. My mom got really sick. So there was this painful but also really amazing period of being able to write. I put together about 10 personal essays. I’ve gotten past the book-proposal stage, which feels good.

IVL How great, and how brave.

ER Yeah. Bravery or stupidity! You have to be a little stupid to be brave.

IVL I wonder what it’s like for writers, to just live entirely in your head. You don’t depend on a team or anyone. Is that a wild feeling?

ER Learning to be a team player is one of the best things. But also, when you’re 23 and you’re new to a crazy, overwhelming, fancy world, you barely get to exert enough control to mess up or be playful. That’s one of the things I like about writing. Nobody except you is in the way. Either you do it or you don’t.

IVL Yes! I’m dying to read them. So great. And does your husband get involved?

ER Er, no. He’s a film producer, and reads so many scripts, so he’ll give some notes. But he’s like, this is the one thing that I could just never do. Like, writing a personal essay. I think there’s something with men in our culture...they’re not taught to reflect on their lives. I think it blows his mind that I would be so willing to welcome someone into my brain in that way. He’s actually been a really interesting reader for me [in that way].

IVL Yeah, I can imagine. I feel like with everything going on in our culture, on every level, there’s something about raising a boy...Which my husband and I are doing and how much has changed about perceptions of manhood.

ER Yeah, what is that like?

IVL It’s actually amazing, guiding a young boy through life...And helping him grow into the 17-year-old that he is now. My son and his friends...They all have strong emotional intelligence. Their teachers made them talk about their feelings from day one. To the point where I’m like, oh God, not again. But you know, it actually creates a generation of people that are completely open. My kid is completely non-judgmental. He has his own opinion, but isn’t judgy. In the [fashion] world...everyone judges everybody, but we tried to not allow that into dinner table conversations.

ER I have no doubt that your son is very special. I used to feel kind of like, “All men are such and such. Their privilege is exhausting, and I don’t owe them anything or an explanation of my experience.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve dealt more with that anger. My politics have developed and my personal relationships have, too. I understand, with love, that men’s experiences have been really limited. The way that men feel and process shame is so different. You have to teach them about experiences that you, as a woman in the world, [have had]. Expose them to that. I read a book over quarantine [about this]: The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks. I made my husband read it, too.

IVL We’ll have to read it, too! And I saw on Instagram–you loved Normal People, too?

ER Yeah! I really love Sally Rooney. I like Conversations with Friends more, controversially. But loved Normal People [too]. I crushed on Paul for some reason.

IVL Yeah, I think everybody did.

ER Wait, Inez—I saw that you guys had your anniversary. And you also got married at the courthouse in New York!

IVL Yeah. You did too? It was a surprise thing...For seven years, my husband would ask me to marry him every morning. And every morning I said yes, but we never did anything about it. And then early one morning, we called some friends, put on our jeans and walked to City Hall. Did you do it the same way?

ER That is so romantic! Yeah, well it wasn’t seven years. It was much shorter. But we decided three days before. A couple friends flew out and we met at the courthouse.

IVL I never had that princess dream—the dress and the entrance. That was never me.

ER I’m [the same way], especially now. The thought of having to go to an event just sounds…Like, I don’t want to do it. I have friends who say, “Don’t you love getting your hair and makeup done? Isn’t it so much fun?” And I’m like, Oh my God, I refuse.

IVL Yes! Life has switched its priorities away from all that. Plus, you’d have more time to be in your writing bubble...It’s been such a pleasure talking with you, and I can’t wait to read those essays!

Credits: Makeup Fulvia Farolfi (Bryan Bantry) Hair Orlando Pita (Home Agency) Manicure Megumi Yamamoto (Susan Price Inc) Executive producer Stephanie Bargas (VLM productions) Producer Tucker Birbilis (VLM productions) Casting & Production coordinator Eva Harte (VLM productions) Lighting director Jodokus Driessen (VLM Studio) Digital technician Brian Anderson (VLM Studio) Photo assistant Joe Hume Tailor Sam Walls Stylist assistants Lily Zhang, Trevon Barnes, Neve Rechan Makeup assistant Robert Reyes Hair assistants Sean James Decures, Kekayi N’amadi Manicure assistant Kana Kishita Retouching Stereohorse Location Pier 59

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