Emily Ratajkowski: ‘I was a bit of a ‘pick-me girl’… I really wanted to be chosen’

Emily Ratajkowski covers the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar, mostly to promote her podcast High Low with EmRata. She’s also, somewhat bizarrely, promoting her TikTok. Emily’s had a big year – her memoir, My Body, came out a year ago and people have been discussing it for months. She dumped her gross husband and she’s now a single mom in New York. And she’s got a popular TikTok and now a podcast. Some highlights from this piece:

She’s a multihyphenate: “I say ‘multihyphenate’ now because when people say ‘writer, actor, entrepreneur, activist,’ I want to throw up.”

Dumping her husband: “I can tell you that I have never been single before… I feel all the emotions. I feel anger, sadness. I feel excitement. I feel joy. I feel levity. Every day is different. The only good thing I know is that I’m feeling all those things, which is nice because it makes me believe that I’ll be okay.” She confirms that she is dating. “I have gone on dates,” she says with a smile. She’s not on the apps, “but give me time,” she jokes.

Dating wasn’t enjoyable for her for a long time. “To use the TikTok phrase, I was a bit of a ‘pick-me girl’ in the sense that I wasn’t very good at deciding what I liked. I really wanted to be chosen. It was hard for me to go on a date with someone and think about how much I did or didn’t like them. I would have been thinking about how they were perceiving me, what it meant, what they wanted from me, what it meant about my self-worth. I don’t have that anymore. So now it’s really fun to go to dinner with someone and be like, ‘Cool. I really enjoyed these parts of them. I really didn’t like these other parts.’ ”

Her memoir My Body: “To me, the book is more about what it means to be a woman in a very specific industry that profits from perpetuating certain beauty standards and women’s images. I believe the experience I have is what every woman has, just heightened.”

If Emily worries she’s reinforcing unattainable beautystandards online: “I completely understand that sexualizing myself and putting images out into the world that reinforce the beauty standard is difficult. I’m not trying to shake accountability. But I also don’t think I would have sold as many books had I not done that. That’s the way the world works. I mean, we all participate in systems that we don’t agree with…. If I personally stopped posting pictures of myself, would that change anything?”

On feminism: “I want to be able to have fun with how I present myself in the world without feeling like I’m a bad feminist or a good feminist. Duh. I don’t want to be a part of your club if you don’t want to have me. It’s fine!”

Her son is her top priority: “I’ve never had such clear priorities before in my life. Number one is Sly, and that’s that.” Motherhood, she says, has forced her to hold herself to a new standard. “It’s made me re-evaluate what’s important to me, like, what do I want to teach my son?”

The hustler: “I definitely see myself as a hustler,” she says, then clarifies: “I don’t hustle people, but I hustle.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

That’s not what a “pick me girl” is, the way she defines it. She thinks Pick Me Girls are “bad at knowing what they like” and “wanting to be chosen.” She might be that kind of woman, but the internet-feminist terminology of a “pick me girl” is “a woman who claims or acts as if she is unlike most other women, in order to gain attention from men.” She’s the Cool Girl, the “I’m Not Like Other Girls” woman. And make no mistake, Emily is that woman as well. Speaking of, Bazaar asked her directly about Brad Pitt and they dutifully reported: “Ratajkowski’s expression is unreadable when I ask if the rumors are true that she’s been hanging out with Brad Pitt.” That’s all that’s said. I think it’s more than possible that she was totally fine with a domestic abuser and child abuser using her name for PR because she too was using him to promote her podcast.

Cover & IG courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar.

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27 Responses to “Emily Ratajkowski: ‘I was a bit of a ‘pick-me girl’… I really wanted to be chosen’”

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  1. Jane says:

    Wow, she has a good or at least energetic PR team because she is everywhere at the moment!

  2. ML says:

    The number one picture BP would want out there (pr-wise) is one with him and his (happy-looking) kids. We haven’t seen that in years.
    The second thing BP badly seems to want is a tabloid-friendly, loving-looking romance. I can think if Neri, Nico, Ali, EmRata and now Inez think off the top of my head… and he hasn’t been able to replace AJ with a serious public girlfriend yet.
    If EmRata did date him briefly (which sucks), she didn’t stay and he wasn’t able to use her publicity to rehab his image. She also subtly trashed him via the MM movie and while they were supposedly dating, she was papped kissing a good-looking guy. Now BP’s story is that he’s been casually Inez during a time period which overlaps with when he was supposedly casually dating EmRata…that is not a good look for him.

  3. Tanesha86 says:

    Internet feminists didn’t coin the term pick me, Black women gave y’all that and it’s been butchered time and time again. It’s no surprise to me when folks don’t know what it actually means

    • Cait C says:

      I’ve never heard anyone other than black women use the term “Pick-me” until now. They really do copy / steal everything from BW.

      • yvrjanice says:

        So because black women coined it no one else can use it? Give me a break. This is getting ridiculous

    • Zazzoo says:

      Thank you! That term pre dates social media. I first heard it in the early 00s. But it’s been around longer.

      • Lux says:

        I’m slow to memes and monikers because I don’t have TikTok/Instagram and rarely know what’s trending or going viral unless it’s on an actual website (news, gossip, what have you!)…that said, I ALWAYS assumed that the “pick me” girl was a reference to Julia Robert’s monologue in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and was shocked that it’s not the origin. Or at least Urban Dictionary failed to mention the connection.

        It does fit exceedingly well though, the “Jules” character as the ultimate “pick me” girl. I really would like to know how it evolved and if it does come from BW, what the original (racial?) context was.

    • Jez says:

      This. This writer’s take on it, esp “internet-feminist”.. i mean wow. How does this person still have this job.

  4. Woke says:

    I kinda like her in general but her tik tok it just look like after the memoir and outside of the modeling industry she just look for topics to jump on.
    Can these celebs activists get that their opinion is not needed on everything ?

    • dominique says:

      i feel like most, if not all celebrity activism is self serving first and foremost, but in its best iterations, they can help shed light on causes that don’t gain enough traction, but examples of these are rare.
      Celebrities will look at whatever is the cause du jour and already gaining media attention, jump on it and loudly proclaim “this is SO important” as if their participation has helped the cause, sure, we can argue that even if it helps push the issue forward by 0.1% it is good enough, but generally they are the one most directly benefiting by having their names in the news and proclaiming themselves to be activist. I swear every celebrity is now an activist and a humanitarian. Dont even get me started on the photo shoots with poor black kids from Africa.

  5. TrixC says:

    I find her insufferable. She is nowhere near as smart as she thinks she is. Her responses to the questions about her feminism and role in reinforcing beauty standards are awful. She wants to rail against her industry imposing unrealistic beauty standards for women while at the same time profiting from those standards. She’s not a multihyphenate, just a hypocrite.

  6. Emmi says:

    Wait, so she almost got it, right? It’s true that women work within oppressive systems every day and make the best of it and it’s true that without doing that, we can’t really change anything. We could burn it down and I’m actually not opposed to that but that’s another topic.
    But … does she want to change the system or does she simply want to perpetuate every unattainable beauty standard there is? Because it’s one thing to say I need to get into the boardroom to fix this and therefore I need to play the game at least a little. It’s a whole different approach to say yeah, I’ll play into all of it and make money and once I’m successful, I’ll just continue to do that while paying lipservice to the issues.

  7. Jo says:

    We’re all part of systems we don’t agree with. Nothing could be truer and sadder. However we are not actively doing it – there is a difference. Watching the World Cup in Quatar rather than boycotting it bc you love football / soccer too much is not the same as playing in the team, and much less signing the agreement for Quatar to apply. It’s disengenious to think that promoting and profiting from and unwillingly participating is not the same thing.

    • heylee says:

      Thank you!!! I was trying to put my finger on where/how I disagree with that part of her argument. Some of us “have to” participate in these systems, others are actively promoting and upholding these systems. She is actively promoting and upholding the system – and profiting from it.

  8. Zazzoo says:

    Ironically she was the “cool girl” in the film adaptation of Gone Girl, the book that popularized the concept.

  9. February Pisces says:

    Women who are attractive are always villanized for being too sexual, stupid, vain and superficial and manipulative. All these perceptions are so wrong and dehumanising. The knock on effect is that reasonably attractive women have to deal with so much objectification, degradation and jealousy as a result. And not all of those women have millions of Instagram followers, brand deals or modelling contracts to make up for that. Instead that get passed over for promotions at work, deal with jealous Karen’s bringing them down or have creepy men trying to make a pass at them.

    I would have loved it if she’d proved peoples perceptions wrong, but I don’t think this interview does that. Saying if she stopped posting sexy images it wouldn’t change things is wrong in a way, because she does have influence. Lizzo is just one person and has done so much for curvy women. It just sounded like she doesn’t really want to because her ‘pretty privileged’ outweighs her ‘pretty punishment’ by a mile.

  10. Vanessa says:

    Emily is the definition of pick me white girl feminist energy she will always defend white woman but I never once seen her defend a black woman . I never once heard her denounce her ex husband use of the N word but because she attractive to some people with big boobs and says words that some white woman wanted to hear she hype up to high heaven . She not a feminist if she truly cares about woman rights she wouldn’t had stood by while Brad Pitt team use her as prop to make him seem like a catch especially after the Angelina story drop about brad abuse on the plane . Emily didn’t say anything she was fine with her name being attached to brad it got her photos taken and she didn’t shut that down .

  11. Otaku fairy says:

    Men and women have been just as desperate, if not more so, to distance women from the Emily’s, Cardi’s, Britney’s (etc.) of this world as those Other Girls have been to distance themselves from other women. Not exactly the best recipe for perfection, healthy dialogue, or for building bridges.

    Mandatory feminist good girls vs. wh*res tournament aside, I am kind of wondering if she did have a date or something with Brad Pitt in late July or early August, shortly before his abuse was exposed. That could explain some of her caginess and his PR team’s pushiness too. In an ideal world women wouldn’t have to put out public statements about situations like that and get caught up in the neverending game of trying to show the public that they can be decent people despite their sexuality. But it didn’t have to be a “please don’t cancel me” moment. It could have been a chance to extend emotional support to a woman whose abuser will probably never face consequences.

  12. Emmy Rae says:

    She thinks she can find some middle ground where she gets to profit off of the harmful beauty standards of her industry unapologetically and anyone who doesn’t approve is a mean feminist ruining her fun. I don’t think it works like that. Is she trying to widen the reach of what “beauty” is so that it isn’t just people who look like her plus people look like her and are blonde? If so, I haven’t heard about it…

    Signed, a mean feminist ruining wealthy celebrities’ fun

  13. Kate says:

    Look, it’s nice when beautiful, thin, famous women understand and denounce the impossible beauty standards of hollywood and fashion and all but the only thing that actually changes beauty standards is seeing different bodies and faces.

    This hit home for me recently b/c I’ve been bugged by my loose neck skin for the past couple years and got myself all pumped up to start looking into laser or sculpting procedures to “take care of it.” I spent a few hours online narrowing in on the best procedure and then looking up reviews and more info from people who have done it. Seeing the before and after pics was such a wakeup call to me. I don’t know how to express it very eloquently but just seeing so many pictures of other women with not-perfectly-smooth necks made me feel more normal. I was able to see myself as one of the many with this particular feature rather than zeroing in on this one area every time I look in the mirror because my brain sees it as a problem b/c it deviates from The Standards.

  14. Julessa says:

    If we’re being honest, almost every woman in the modeling, film, or music industry who is slim has profited off of the beauty standard, whether she identifies as a feminist or not. Especially *most* of the white women. People want to cherrypick which slim, pretty, and often white women get a pass for it and which ones don’t based on respectability. Should every female celebrity who benefits from that retire? In order to keep that from being sexist, we would also have to expect physically fit men in those industries to give up their careers too. Bye Thor. By Channing. Bye Jason.

    • Jo says:

      You quoted two men who fall under the category of « muscle men », one with a pretty face, the other less so, I’ll let you guess. All this to say that we are not banning conventionally pretty people from the screens, and, moreover, men have a lot of wiggle space re: beauty standards, whereas women have to be skinny or thick with tiny waists and that’s it, preferably white or not too dark. Men can have dad bods, long beards, bad skin etc and still be hot. Women less so. Much less so. The idea is to open up standards of what is pretty, charismatic and desirable. There will always be people who are striking, others whose beauty gets you after some time, others who are so charismatic no one gives a damn what they look like etc. But to earn your life solely on conforming to narrow beauty standards (which is not the case for either actors you mentioned) and earning your life from it while proclaiming yourself against it is a gymnastics I am not flexible enough for. Also, this is why I love living in the UK and consuming UK cinema / tv / series. The emphasis is not on actor’s beauty, and the ones who are considered attractive are often unconventionally so to the point where it doesn’t detract from their acting unlike Tatum. Much less surgery and body enhancement to look Barbie and Ken like, and that’s just the reality of US celeb system affecting its art.

  15. Julessa says:

    Even when protecting women is the motive, that doesn’t make it ok for people to hold attractive women to a standard they aren’t willing to hold attractive men to. Money and fame aren’t the only ways men benefit from their physical appearance. They also benefit by not being punished for it with excuses about saving the world. Channing Tatum (basically a male Emily Ratajowski, and I think he identifies as a feminist too ) acknowledged this male privilege himself and continued to benefit from it. No ‘feminist’ ultimatums for him.
    I get that people aren’t calling for actual bans, they’re just pressuring the women they dislike in the industry to solve body-shaming by ‘volunteering’ to retire and/or dress conservatively. With the unspoken threat being that their feminists cards will be revoked and they’ll be thrown to the wolves if they don’t. That ultimatum has been held over Emily Ratajowski’s head every time she has said or done anything for the past decade and it seems like that ultimatum has taken up an unhealthy amount of space in her head in more ways than one.