Just over one month since Emily Ratajkowski accused Robin Thicke of groping her bare breasts on the set of the “Blurred Lines” music video shoot, the model is sharing that she didn’t even recall the interaction until years later.
The event is detailed in one of Ratajkowski’s essays included in her new book titled My Body, which explores the different ways in which she has viewed her body throughout her life and career, including the birth of her first child in March. However, Ratajkowski admitted that she didn’t want to revisit her interaction with Thicke in anticipation of the response.
“‘Blurred Lines’ is something that I didn’t want to write about at all. I feel like I’ve spent my entire career trying not to be the girl from that video. So to just open up that can of worms and be like, ‘let’s talk about it’ went against like every instinct that I had,” she told Alex Cooper on an episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast. “The reason that I wrote about it is it was something that I had completely put into a certain category and box and thought about and talked about in one way. I didn’t even fully remember the experience because I was like no, no, no. It’s this, it’s that, it’s whatever. And once I started to be like, wait, maybe things have actually been a little more complicated than I always wanted to believe they were, that’s when I remembered this situation and experience. And I was like, wow. That’s why I initially had it first in the book.”
Ratajkowski recalled the reasons that she agreed to be a part of the music video in 2013 when she was working as a model and hadn’t yet reached fame. “One of the things that people don’t know about the video is that it was directed by a woman and part of the reasons I did the job,” she explained of director Diane Martel’s involvement. “She said to me it’s gonna be all these women, so I got to set and had this really different vibe than a lot of the jobs that I was doing at that time.”
At the time, Ratajkowski didn’t know who Thicke was, but was a fan of Pharrell who was featured on the song. She also wasn’t offered a lot of money, although she ended up making more than she was initially promised. Her experience on the set before interacting with Thicke was notably positive in comparison to that of her other modeling gigs at the time.
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“You’re a mannequin, which is what I write in the book. Truly just being used as a body and a face. And it wasn’t like that. There were girls a little bit older than me being like, ‘Oh my God you look so cute, do you like your outfit?’ That’s why I think I dance so funny and stuff. When you’re like relaxed with your girlfriends and you’re dancing around and you just feel completely comfortable. So that was the majority of the shoot,” she explained. “That’s why when a lot of people would say things like, ‘Oh this video is misogynistic, why did you decide to do it, aren’t you embarrassed?’ Basically, I was like, ‘Get off my back, f*** off. It was my choice and I did feel powerful in that moment. And guess what, now I’m famous, so I’m like making more money than I definitely did then so how can you assume I’m not empowered?'”
The point at which Ratajkowski’s experience changed happened later in the day when she was filming a scene alone with Thicke. After leaving the set that day, however, the memory disappeared.
“I don’t want to say I forgot. I would say that I just completely put it out of my mind because that also makes it sound like it was a choice. It wasn’t a choice. I wasn’t like, I’m just not gonna remember that part,” she explained.
It later came back to her when Thicke’s name was in the news.
“I was just laying in bed and went to Robin Thicke’s Instagram because I think his girlfriend had just gotten pregnant or something. He was on E News. And I was blocked. And I was like, why am I blocked? And sat there for a second and was like, did I say something? Like in the press. And then I remembered this moment when he was kind of drunk and he was in a little bit of a not great mood and we were shooting by ourselves and he put his hands on my breasts really quickly,” she recalled.
Ratajkowski then said that Martel stopped the music and there was a “weird moment” on set before they ultimately kept shooting. “I couldn’t have complained in that moment. I was 21, I was an actual nobody, a person on a wall in a modeling agency that you could pick […]. It’s a true, true meat market industry. So I didn’t complain and I just went home and I never told anybody about it really.”
The model had noticed that she was blocked from Thicke’s social media once before, which she brought to Martel’s attention. When Ratajkowski suggested that it might have been about something that happened on the set, she claimed that Martel didn’t respond.
Ratajkowski’s accusations against Thicke made headlines in October as an excerpt from her book — and this essay in particular — was leaked.
“The whole reason I wrote this book was to tell my story and be in control of the narrative,” she told Cooper. “I wanted it to be in my own words. And in a 5,000-word essay that really explains all the aspects of that day. The parts that were good, the parts that were bad and what this meant to me and why it was so defining to me. Sort of a huge part of the evolution of my politics and beliefs.”
The 30-year-old also explained that she doesn’t believe in cancel culture, which she was worried her account of the story would incite. “I’m sure that Robin Thicke has a lot of wonderful things about him,” Ratajkowski continued. “I don’t believe in good guys and bad guys. I think that our world needs to understand that we live in a culture that allows for men to feel like they can behave a certain way. It doesn’t mean that just because this person did that one thing or didn’t do that one thing they’re good or bad.”
Ratajkowski said that Martel responded to the accusations once they were leaked to the press, mentioning that she had a memory of the incident. However, Ratajkowski hasn’t heard from Thicke.
“That essay took the longest in the whole book to write and it’s kind of one of the more simple ones in a lot of ways. I knew that the reaction that I’ve seen this week was coming. I know people. I knew that people were gonna be like, she was naked in a music video, why has she waited so long? All the same things,” Ratajkowski said. “Definitely there’s consequences for me. People have all sorts of assumptions about me because this news is out.”
Although the chapter about “Blurred Lines” was originally at the start of Ratajkowski’s book, she explained that she moved it to be the second chapter to avoid those assumptions from potential readers.
“I just had this thought of somebody walking into a bookstore and seeing my name and being like, ‘OK My Body, all right this girl, I know who she is.’ And then they open the first chapter and they see ‘Blurred Lines,’ they’re just gonna be like, of course, OK,” she said. “And the book isn’t that. It’s not a celebrity memoir. It’s a bunch of essays about a lot of different ideas and I just wanted to give myself that shot with that person.”
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