The newest face of Viktor & Rolph's Flower Bomb opens up about living a multi-faceted life.
Emily Ratajkowski knows what you think about her. Her provocative street style is so prolific and well-documented that it borders on performance art (see: any time she teams up with Miu Miu). Her love life is so wildly speculated about that a single courtside appearance spurs a weeks-long news cycle. Whatever way she decides to show up in the world and express herself as a woman, people pay attention, and she owns it, too.
This self-awareness — along with her fascination with reactions to her public image and how she’s perceived — is the throughline in much of her work. Plus, she’s a Gemini. And as such, contains multitudes.
“I’m a Gemini. I absolutely identify,” she tells me about her sun sign. When we meet in a fragrant hotel room not far from Madison Square Park, she's wearing bangs, a drapey blazer, smoked-out eyeliner, and gorgeous floral perfume. Much like Ratajkowski herself, the scent in question — Viktor & Rolph’s Flower Bomb perfume, which she just became the face of — is equal parts feminine and edgy, fitting considering the twins represent duality within the zodiac. “It's the kind of thing that a 60-year-old aunt knows about,” Ratajkowski says of the fragrance. “But also a 14-year-old girl, which I think is really special.” Repping the iconic scent, which she describes as a highly personal fragrance that "everyone has an association with," is just the latest in a series of new projects for the model.
Most recently, the 31-year-old has been focused on her podcast, High Low With Emily Ratajkowski, and enjoying motherhood (she gave birth to her son, Sylvester Apollo Bear, in 2021), but she has, at one time or another, been labeled (or adopted) the title of memoirist, actress, model, and muse. These many, seemingly contradictory roles — media fixture and critic, feminist and fashion plate, mother and sex symbol — all ladder up to what is arguably her lifelong project: using her vantage point as a celebrity to critique fame through the lens of feminism. After all, Pamela Anderson, Monica Lewinsky, and Paris Hilton aren’t her dream podcast guests for nothing.
“I think all three of those women have been really out of control of their image and in control of it in different ways,” she explains. “They have complicated relationships to their sexualization in the media. They've used it to their advantage and, also, it's been extremely harmful to them. But, I think they're all really smart and have interesting things to say.” These are women, much like Ratajkowski, who’ve been projected upon, criticized, and overanalyzed by media, culture, and even their fans. However, unlike Ratajkowski in some respects, they did it long before attitudes started changing — something she’s fully aware of.
“Have you seen that stuff on TikTok — and with Gen Z in general — how they're all reclaiming ‘bimbo’ as a positive thing?” she asks me mid-way through our conversation. At the moment, I think I know where she’s going with the question, but it’s exciting to hear Ratajkowski put it in her own words: “I mean, I would say that my podcast is basically all about bimbo culture.” The description is the naked truth, and undoubtedly part of her podcast’s sleeper hit appeal. With guests like Donatella Versace, Chloe Cherry, and Julia Fox, High Low is one of the few celebrity podcasts with real panache.
For the TikTok era of yassification and "lucky girl syndrome," Ratajkowski feels like an appropriate patron saint (aka famous podcast host) to me. She says cool things like, “I really like Hailey Bieber's Rhode Lip Balm, it just makes me feel like such a little slut." She brings a sultry brown eyebrow pencil with her everywhere (“I use it as a lip liner, and then I fill in my mole, and I give myself freckles”). She understands the power of “bimbo culture” and knows about viral cult-favorite skincare products like Weleda Skin Food. She just gets it.
She's also, of course, still a mom, first and foremost. “It's funny because so many people have asked me about my skincare routine, and I've given them the 12-step thing that I do on certain nights, but can I tell you how many nights I'm like, ‘You know what I'm not gonna do tonight. I’m not gonna wash my face?'" Unsurprisingly, Ratajkowski is occasionally guilty of committing one of skincare’s cardinal sins (the others being forgetting sunscreen and over-exfoliation) and falling asleep with her makeup on like many exhausted moms and It Girls who came before her. It's easy to forget, however, that these days she groups herself in the former group, not the latter. “I just like get in bed, and it feels like this treat because I'm so tired, you know?”
Despite everything else going on in her life, it's clear life at home is her number one priority. She’s adopted the requisite “emergency” nighttime routine that comes with having less time to herself, which for Ratajkowski, is little more than splashing her face with water, applying moisturizer (Weleda Skin Food, of course), and then “passing out.” She’s committed to boring mom things like staying organized (she’s admittedly “really messy”) and cleaning out her enviable closet (she just donated 32 boxes of clothes). But Ratajkowski also makes it known the perks of motherhood far outweigh the adjustments. When I ask who’s the best-smelling person she knows, she answers quickly with a smile. “You know, my child? Are you kidding?”
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