Interview with Emily Ratajkowski on bangs, being blonde, and motherhood
Emily Ratajkowski–or EmRata as she’s known to her 29.6 million Instagram followers and two million TikTok followers–is done holding back. She launched a podcast called High/Low that premiered on November 1st (“In my Bitch Era,” EmRata captioned the news on her Instagram), which has so far featured interviews with Ziwe, Julia Fox, and fellow podcaster Alex Cooper.“It’s definitely interesting,” Ratajkowski told ELLE.com on a bright October day in Paris.“I feel like I have a lot of empathy for my guests.”
Empathy is why Ratajkowski is in Paris in the first place. She’s been the long-standing face of the haircare line Kérastase, which recently launched a new initiative, Power To Dare, which aims at closing the confidence gap between men and women through mentorship, education, and inspiring discussions, alongside their nonprofit partner Step Up. According to a study by Kérastase, women consistently consider themselves less confident than men, making it harder to self-advocate for higher pay, promotions, or equal opportunities. After a full day of inspirational talks, EmRata spoke to ELLE.com about feeling confident, motherhood, and why her revenge bangs are sticking around.
What lessons do you want to teach your son about being confident?
“I think about him all the time. Everyone’s going to beat on his spirit because he’s just so sweet right now, and all he knows is genuine excitement and curiosity. I think about the reality of life, and I think to counterbalance that, as a mom, I’m going to continue to give him all of the love that I can. And show him that I appreciate him in ways that are unique to him. Hopefully, that’ll help build confidence. Little boys are taught about being entitled to things that I think women aren’t. There’s a real gap there. I think finding that balance with my son will be interesting.”
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How do you project confidence when you don’t feel confident?
“I’ll trim the bangs, honestly, which is the ultimate confident move. I’ll trim the bangs, and then I think a red lip. If I just throw that on, I’m like, ‘Well, nobody can fuck with me,’ basically. You also have to work on confidence internally. So don’t fake it. I basically wait until I actually feel confident.”
Were the bangs an impulsive decision?
“Relatively, yeah. I love them. I never want to go back. All of my friends were like, ‘You cannot be this person. You cannot go through a breakup and get bangs.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to be this person.’ And then all of them are like, ‘I’m so sorry, you were right; they look good.’ So I feel really great about it. I’m like, ‘I’m not just being crazy, I swear. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to not having bangs.”
Do you have any mentors?
“A lot of my friends are my mentors. We help each other in a lot of ways. We share so much information with each other, which I think is maybe even better than advice, because it’s just a way to have resources and build a community–how much someone’s getting paid, or help someone, encourage them to advocate for themselves. Sometimes, you need a friend to tell you that. I feel totally fine with there being multiple powerful women in one room with no competition and no worries about scarcity.”
Do you have professional advice for young women?
“I do think following your instincts is really important. As women, we’re taught very early to question our instincts, and that we have so much to learn. And that is the difference, I think, between young boys and girls, and how we’re raised and impacted. For me, what I found is returning to my instincts and being able to do a gut check and understand what I want, because ultimately, it’s about what makes you happy and doing what you want to do rather than what somebody’s telling you what you should want, or what you should do.”
How was being blonde?
“I never colored my hair before and then I went blonde, and I was like, ‘What the fuck did I just do?’ But I actually loved it. It was in the middle of the pandemic, so it was the right moment. And then I got pregnant, and my body started changing, and I was like, ‘I cannot be blonde and also pregnant. I’m going to have an emotional breakdown.’ But it was fun. I think that beauty and hair can be such a great way to play with identity and self-expression.”
“As a model, you’re basically this hired mannequin, and people do what they want to your hair, your makeup, your body. They dress you how they want, and you don’t really get [a] say. That’s the job description. So it’s really nice to know exactly the things that I want and how I want to look, and be able to do that.”
Tatjana Freund is a Beauty Commerce Writer, covering makeup, skincare, and haircare products and trends. She’s a fan of vodka tonics and creepy Wikipedia pages.