Emily Ratajkowski wants to take back ownership of her body, and OnlyFans, she says, may be her way of doing that.
The model—who got her start dancing nude in Robin Thicke’s 2013 “Blurred Lines” music video—knows much of her fame comes from being overly sexualized in the industry.
In a new episode of her podcast, High Low, she says that though she has contributed to that storyline—by sharing sexy photos of herself on her social media accounts—it is ultimately her body to share how she sees fit, and her celebrity status has instead made people believe they can use her body and image for profit without her consent.
“I’ve had books of photos of me sold without my consent, I’ve had people profit off of my image—usually men—and I’ve got no cut off it; actually a lot of the times it’s cost me money,” she says in the episode released today, March 2.
She adds that in the celebrity iCloud hack of 2014 (when celebrities including EmRata, Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, and Rihanna had their iClouds hacked and personal photos leaked), she had to hire a lawyer and a tech company to clean the Internet of her photos. She also spent money to buy an art piece made of her by Richard Prince. And on another occasion, she had to hire a lawyer when photographer Jonathan Leder had an art show and allegedly published a book of photos of her without her consent.
Additionally, she says, paparazzi constantly take photos of her, and her baby son, without her permission.
Recalling these instances, Ratajkowski says she’s had “extremely brutal things happen” to her regarding the sexualization of her body, and for a long time, she has been trying to figure out how to take back control.
The nude photo leak, she says, “was one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. I lost a patch of hair the week it happened.”
She continues, “I thought my career was over—it was at a point where I really wanted to be a serious actress and everyone was telling me that I’d been photographed naked so much that it was gonna be hard for people to take me seriously. And there was a lot of conversation that these photos had been leaked intentionally, a lot of slut shaming. And they were extremely intimate photos; they were intended for someone that I was in love with. And it was horrible. I can’t tell you.”
In the podcast episode, titled “Should I Start an OnlyFans?” the My Body author recalls a recent conversation she had on her podcast with rapper Iggy Azalea about how the platform—where people charge for views of their own images or videos—helped Azalea feel in control of her sexuality and body image.
Azalea told Ratajkowski that many times in the past, she was the last person to profit off her body, and so launching her OnlyFans was her way of reclaiming her body and making some cash while doing it.
EmRata clarifies in the latest podcast episode that while she doesn’t think joining the platform would be an act of modern feminism, she does think it could be a way for her to feel empowered again.
Rosa Sanchez is the senior news editor at Harper’s Bazaar, working on news as it relates to entertainment, fashion, and culture. Previously, she was a news editor at ABC News and, prior to that, a managing editor of celebrity news at American Media. She has also written features for Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Forbes, and The Hollywood Reporter, among other outlets.