Emily Ratajkowski is the newest face of Nasty Gal for her fall / winter campaign, but established entrepreneur, writer, actress, model and activist Ratajkowski was most recently commissioned by New York Magazine for a self-written essay titled “Buying Myself Back”. It received over 850,000 views in its first 24 hours and generated widespread public discourse on image ownership and widespread praise for its sincere and beautiful prose. In recent years, Ratajkowski has also seen exponential success in her modeling career, where she claimed the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Vogue Italia, Vogue Australia, Vogue Spain, Vogue Germany, Madame Figaro, GQ and Glamor Magazine as well as InStyles British, Australian and American edition. She has worked with countless international brands and has appeared in the Versace, Marc Jacobs, Dolce and Gabbana and Miu Miu fashion shows. She is currently the face of L’Oréal’s Kerastase hair care line and formerly Paco Rabanne’s Pure XS fragrance.
Since 2017, Ratajkowski has successfully converted her more than 26 million followers on Instagram via her clothing line INAMORATA together with her business partner Kat Mendenhall and a small team of all female employees into a successful direct-to-consumer business. What began as a line of swimsuits has since grown into a swim, lingerie and ready-to-wear brand in multiple categories, designed and marketed exclusively by Ratajkowski. As the new face of Nasty Gal, Ratajkowski shares how the brand continues to empower women through their clothing and what empowerment means to them.
Yola Robert: Why has Nasty Gal been a favorite for you for a long time as this is the second collection that you have been the face of? How did your relationship with them come about?
Emily Ratajkowski: I grew up with Nasty Gal in San Diego because I definitely didn’t spend a lot of money on clothes. Only for me the availability was always very good. For this collaboration I loved what they put together and in the past I really loved the way they worked with me. They were really nice to work with as they really love to see me as an art director and really work together which is very important to me when I work with a brand.
Robert: Your self-penned essay titled “I’ll Buy Me Back” for New York Magazine was extremely compelling. Many women remain silent on these issues. Why do you feel like the time was right to come out and share your story?
Ratajkowski: I’ve been writing for a couple of years now and writing a number of different essays. My literary agent and I decided that we were at a point where we had all of the essays I’ve written so far, so we reached out to New York Magazine and they picked this piece. I was really excited because I really loved this essay and it is obviously very personal, but also represented so much of my 20s and my life, even just through picture ownership and consent. But I was still very nervous because it’s obviously a very vulnerable essay. “Tell your truth” can be really scary. The thing I thought about the most when they decided to use and publish this piece was how it would possibly talk to other young women and, in my dreamiest world, men too, by making them feel like it is a young woman in the world at the moment.
Robert: What has been the feedback to you since this essay was published?
Ratajkowski: It was overwhelming in the right sense! I mean I think it’s a fun thing because my experience as a model and as a public figure is obviously very specific, but you know I have girlfriends and when I share my writing with them they are like god, it’s so crazy that that’s just every woman’s story. It may be different, it’s not always about modeling, but the feeling that you know you want to get the approval and validation from someone that men can give women and how we compromise ourselves, how we are being exploited in situations like this and only female experience can be used, period. It’s really nice that it brought women together, and I just hope that in the long run it will change the way we look at performance dynamics for younger generations.
Robert: Nasty Gal has always worked to empower women through clothing. How are women supposed to feel wearing your Nasty Gal cut?
Ratajkowski: Personally I think fashion is one of those really amazing things but I had a complicated relationship with fashion as you know when you grow up you don’t feel cool enough you don’t feel cool when i was younger I had enough clothes and even now I’m going to say, “God, this person looks so fancy I could never afford that.” I like that Nasty Gal is approachable that way. I also just think that fashion, like a zebra print dress, can really help a woman project out into the world who she wants to be, and I love that clothes feel like a tool to express themselves .
Robert: When do you feel most empowered?
Ratajkowski: I would say I felt really empowered when this essay was published. It was really scary, again, I don’t want to say, “Oh my god, it was all amazing,” but I think women who share their stories, realities, and experiences can be the strongest thing.