Childhood & Early Life
Emily O’Hara Ratajkowski was born on June 7 1991, in Westminster, London, to Kathleen Balgley and John David. She was the only child of the couple. While her mother was a professor of English, her father was a painter and art teacher.
As a child, Ratajkowski spent a significant amount of time in Europe. Visiting nude beaches in Europe exposed the young Ratajkowski to the nude female figure in photography and art during her formative years. Works of prominent photographers, including that of her father, left a deep impact on young Emily’s mind.
Ratajkowski spent the first five years of her life in London before finally settling down in San Diego, California. Before leaving London, Ratajkowski had become obsessed with theatre. Her love for acting found her the debut role of Elsa in the adaptation, ‘The Little Match Girl’. She then took up a couple of roles and even tried her hand at ballet, and eventually started modelling.
On the academic front, Ratajkowski attended San Dieguito Academy High School in San Diego, while pursuing a career in modelling and acting in Los Angeles. In 2009, she enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) but attended the same just for a year. The school’s ideology conflicted with hers which led her to drop out.
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At the age of 14, Ratajkowski signed a deal with a talent agency. She also signed an agreement with Ford and did a teen print catalogue modelling for Kohl's and Nordstrom. She took up several minor un-credited roles in television and film projects.
In 2010, Ratajkowski began a career in modelling. She posed for various artistic erotic magazines. Her bold look coupled with her rawness earned her roles in two high-profile music videos. She also appeared in a bunch of commercials during this time.
Ratajkowski’s popularity went two-folds in 2013 after she featured in Pharrell Williams’s video, ‘Blurred Lines’. Though the video got into a controversy and was labelled sexist and misogynistic by some, she believed that it did not objectify her or any other women, and instead talked about female power and sexual freedom.
‘Blurred Lines’ proved to be a breakthrough in Ratajkowski’s career. It stayed at the number one spot on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart for twelve consecutive weeks, making it the longest-running number one song of the decade. Furthermore, it became the number one song of 2013 Music Charts in countries like Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
‘Blurred Lines’ gave Ratajkowski a sudden rush of unanticipated prominence making her a star overnight. Almost abruptly, she had turned into a sex symbol and became a permanent fixture on several highly-prized fashion magazine polls and lists. Rolling Stones, Sports Illustrated, FHM and AskMen listed her among their hottest sex symbols.
Banking on her newfound recognition, Ratajkowski soon found herself supporting roles in major films. She played the mistress of the Ben Affleck’s character in ‘Gone Girl’. Immediately after making waves for her performance in the film, she appeared as the cover model for the highly reputed, ‘Cosmopolitan’ magazine.
In 2015, Ratajkowski co-starred in ‘Entourage’, playing the love interest of Vincent Chase. Her role in the film received widespread appreciation. The year also saw the release of ‘The Spoils Before Dying’ in which she played Agent Day, a role which was also favourably reviewed.
August 2015 marked her debut in a lead role for the musical drama, ‘We Are Your Friends’ opposite Zac Efron. In the film, she played the character of Sophie, a Stanford University dropout. During the film’s promotional tour to Europe and North America and its premiere in London, Ratajkowski emerged as a style icon, earning multiple best dressed citations. Her performance received mixed reviews but she was commended for her dancing skills and sex appeal.
Post the success of ‘We Are Your Friends’, Ratajkowski appeared on the covers of various magazines, including Grazia France, British GQ, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle UK and Australia. She also made her runway debut for Marc Jacobs at the spring/summer New York Fashion Week finale and for Miu Miu at the Paris Fashion Week runway.
After a splendid success in 2016, Ratajkowski began 2017 with a cover shot for Vogue España in February, and followed it with cover appearances on InStyle, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar in months to follow. She modelled for the French fashion brand, The Kooples’, and even designed a 38-piece bag collection for them.
In 2018, Ratajkowski featured alongside Amy Schumer in the comedy film, ‘I Feel Pretty’. Her role was a pivotal one, which she played to perfection.
Currently, Ratajkowski has her hands full with film projects. Her upcoming releases include ‘Cruise’ opposite Spencer Boldman, ‘In Darkness’ alongside Natalie Dormer, Ed Skrein, and Stacy Martin and ‘Welcome Home’ opposite Aaron Paul. She has also been cast as a series regular in the NBC pilot ‘Bright Futures’
Family & Personal Life
Emily Ratajkowski was in a relationship with Andrew Dryden, a creative director and menswear buyer. However, not all was good between the two, and the couple separated in February 2014.
In December 2014, Us Weekly confirmed that she was dating musician Jeff Magid. However, this relationship too did not last long, and the two moved apart in early 2018. They welcomed their first child together, Sylvester Apollo Bear, on March 8, 2021.
On February 23, 2018, Ratajkowski, through her Instagram account, announced that she married actor-producer, Sebastian Bear-McClard, her boyfriend of a few weeks, in a courthouse wedding.
Other than being an actor, Ratajkowski is an avid activist. She committed to a short film promoting reproductive and sexual health for Planned Parenthood (PPFA), and is greatly involved in PPFA for its role in women’s health on the global platform. On numerous occasions, she has used her celebrity status to support women empowerment and women sexuality.