Produced by ‘Sway’
Emily Ratajkowski is winning in the Instagram era: She has 28.6 million followers and has spent more than half her life making a living as a model. But even at her level of success, she still wonders: When you make a living off your desirability, is the power of your body ever just yours?
It’s one of the questions she explores in her debut book of essays, “My Body.” Because even now, she’s still working to keep her followers’ attention. “I want them to see me and look at me and also click the link to read the article that I care about,” she says. She calls Instagram an empowering tool for curating and controlling her narrative. But she also sees how the platform is a “validation machine” that can quickly turn toxic, especially for teenage girls navigating a world shaped by the male gaze.
In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Ratajkowski about why she’s chosen to stay in modeling for now, despite the ambivalence she expresses about both the profession and the double-edged sword of beauty. They also discuss how she wishes she could be angrier and why she doesn’t regret her appearance in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video.
This episode contains strong language.
(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)