Emily Ratajkowski has said she would not have posted those steamy shots of her in a bikini unless she thought it would become a media storm.
Ratajkowski, who graced the cover of the most recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, responded to the backlash she faced last week after sharing photos of herself on Instagram wearing a green bikini with cleavage slashed to show her entire chest.
After fans flooded the comments with messages encouraging her to share more photos, she posted several of herself in lingerie and a sports bra. “These photo shoot photos were intended to have a friendly, summer vibe and evoke that feeling,” Ratajkowski wrote in her post. “They were not taken to incite any negative emotions.”
It came after a string of similarly scantily clad images surfaced online, with critics suggesting that Ratajkowski is “sexualising” her body and her occupation. On Wednesday, the actress who appeared in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video responded with a statement, in which she said she was “appalled” that her career as a model might make it harder for “women to get paid fairly.”
“I recently posted a photo of myself to Instagram, in my sports bra and lacy undies for my friend’s upcoming music video,” she wrote. “The idea was to have fun and be silly.”
“With everything that’s going on in the world right now, especially the lack of equal pay and agency for women, that seemed like the right sentiment. However, within hours of posting, my photo had received an overwhelming amount of negative feedback.
“There are so many ‘negative’ responses I’m not interested in. You don’t have to agree with my photo but talking about it with me is never negative. I chose to share this photo because I wanted to take a moment to change the conversation. And think: what if my photo had been taken out of context? Almost didn’t post this!”
The comments are not the first time Ratajkowski has been accused of taking “overshare-y” photos, but these particular shots are in a key position in her career. She has appeared in numerous films, including Grown Ups 2 and Gone Girl, and works as a model and actress in her native US, acting in the film We Are Your Friends with Zac Efron and Zac Efron: Dirty 30. She moved to London with her family three years ago and is now based in London and Los Angeles.
The response to her shoot prompted a debate in the internet era about the ethics of showing too much skin on social media. In December, the photographer Tyler Shields told the New York Times that he was “an advocate for the more naked kind of picture you can get”. “I find nudity sexy. People love to see sexy.”
Shields, a commercial and editorial photographer for publications like Rolling Stone, has caught the attention of Kim Kardashian, who took to Twitter to throw her hat into the ring.
Speaking last year on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, she said that while she found her brother’s eight-page naked spread on his own website “scary”, she understood Shields “to be a freedom fighter, fighting for people’s freedom of expression, which I support.”
Shields himself was criticised for his voyeuristic practice of taking explicit snaps of his models. In 2014, he took a sample of a signed shoot on Instagram, and used the image as a mocking parody of Kim Kardashian West, announcing: “Khloé Kardashain, you better put on your panties.”