Reviews for My Body

by Emily Ratajkowski

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity. Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues. A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Model and actress Ratajkowski debuts with an intimate and accomplished essay collection that tackles big questions about internalized misogyny, the male gaze, female empowerment, and the commodification of sexuality. She describes her “defensiveness and defiance” when questioned whether dancing naked in the 2013 music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was “anti-feminist,” and admits that her viewpoint on being a “so-called sex symbol” has changed in the ensuing years. Ratajkowski calls out men who have simultaneously taken advantage of and dismissed her, including Thicke, who grabbed her breasts without permission during the filming of the music video, and photographer Jonathan Leder, whom she accuses of sexually violating her during a photo shoot and then releasing a book of explicit images without her approval. Throughout, Ratajkowski reflects on her craving for men’s validation “even when it came wrapped in disrespect,” and examines the limits of succeeding “as a thing to be looked at.” She also recounts an early sexual experience that she later realized qualified as stalking and rape, and documents her struggles to deal with her mother’s serious health problems. Enriched by Ratajkowski’s insider perspective on the modeling industry and her willingness to wrestle with the power of the male gaze rather than outright rejecting it, this is an astute and rewarding mix of the personal and the political. (Nov.)

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Ratajkowski was launched into stratospheric viral fame when she appeared dancing nearly nude in Robin Thicke’s 2013 music video for “Blurred Lines.” Since then, she has made an astounding fortune modeling and acting and has learned a thing or two about how her body operates in the world. In this memoir, she shares her experiences existing inside said body: her comfort with nudity, the times she dissociates from her body, and how people have treated, exploited, and cared for her body in the past. The book provides a glimpse into the world of contemporary modeling: the inappropriate behavior of photographers, the obscene wealth, and the oftentimes hollow experience of being merely the muse instead of the artist. One particularly interesting factoid readers will glean is that the “Blurred Lines” music video set was run by a majority of female creators. Having recently given birth, Ratajkowski shares that story here, too, and throughout her writing has a sweetness and even an innocence. Ratajkowski leaves readers sure that she remains in awe of her body and excited about all that the future holds. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ratajkowski's memoir is both personal and universal, and so great is her celebrity, a huge print run is planned.