Emily Ratajkowski launched her podcast, 'High Low With EmRata,' on Nov. 1

How EmRata Is Redefining Herself, In Her Own Words

“I’m just never going to be the good girl who makes everyone happy.”

Elite Daily; Tom Newton

Emily Ratajkowski starts our conversation by wishing me a “happy Halloween.” The casual kindness of it catches me off guard — as does the rest of our phone call. Throughout our conversation, it feels like I’m talking to someone named Emily, not someone famous for being EmRata: the A-list model, entrepreneur, and author.

Since her rise to fame in 2013, Ratajkowski’s image has seemed to dictate much of her career — and catapult it forward. But even before that, her looks largely determined how she saw herself. “Beauty was a way for me to be special,” she wrote in her essay collection, My Body, in 2021.

Now, Ratajkowski, 31, tells me, she’s ready to be recognized for more. There’s a reason her podcast — and book — highlight her voice rather than her image. “It was on purpose,” she says. “For the majority of my career in my 20s, so much of who I was in the world was a caricature and this one-dimensional character that was just about image. It was really frustrating for me, but it was also the source of my income and how the world seemed to accept me. ... It was really appealing to continue to be that one-dimensional person, but it didn't make me happy.”

High Low With EmRata released its first episode on Nov. 1, and although the bi-weekly podcast is marketed as a cross between Fresh Air and Call Her Daddy, it’s set to be a show entirely its own. In each episode, as Ratajkowski applies a high-brow lens to “low-brow” topics, she reminds listeners that her voice is one worth listening to — and that her influence extends far beyond her image.

Below, Ratajkowski opens up about her podcast and what this new era means for her.

Sony Music Entertainment

Elite Daily: With your podcast High Low and essay collection My Body, you have stripped your image from your voice. Was that intentional?

Emily Ratajkowski: It was. Modeling and this career has been absolutely amazing, and I feel so unbelievably grateful for it. That being said, I wanted to find a way to do what I always wanted to do: be a person who makes things and preaches them, rather than coming in as a visual aspect to them. That really happened with the book, and now the podcast.

ED: In a recent TikTok, you said, “I think we all need to be a little bit more pissed off. I think we should all be in our b*tch era.” Besides anger, what does your b*tch era entail?

ER: A guy recently texted me and was like, “Can you clarify what ‘b*tch era’ is?” So I sent the text to my girlfriends, and we were laughing because we’re like, “Of course they wouldn’t understand.”

Now in my text chain, we have an ongoing conversation about what b*tch era is. I would say Taylor Swift’s Midnights is definitely b*tch era. Being a multifaceted woman is b*tch era. Red lipstick, martinis, the grind, but also not the grind are all b*tch era.

ED: A lot of the criticism you’ve received seems to imply that someone beautiful cannot possibly be smart. How do you respond to that assumption?

ER: I used to try to make myself more digestible, and I’m not interested in that anymore. For a long time, I felt uncomfortable with the way people would respond to me when I wasn’t one-dimensional — when it wasn’t just about the way that I looked. Getting older, becoming a mom, and realizing that I’m just never going to be the good girl who makes everyone happy and makes everyone feel comfortable, has really helped me to say, “F*ck it.” I'm like, “The girls that get it, get it.”

Yes, I am a mother. Yes, I also wore *ssless chaps this weekend. Yes, I’m launching my podcast. All of these things happen simultaneously.

ED: You recently opened up about being single — the excitement and freedom that comes with being independent at this stage of life. What are you most looking forward to?

It’s so nice not to have to be thinking about a man other than my child. Of course, I love men, and I’m having a lot of fun dating, but ultimately the best relationships in my life are with women, and that’s what I’m really interested in talking about: women’s issues and our lives.

I don’t actually believe in high and low. Everything can be interpreted through the lens of relatively sophisticated politics and ideas.

ED: How will the podcast play off of the recent content you’ve been putting on TikTok?

ER: It’s my POV, so it’ll infiltrate every conversation I have with guests. With the solo episodes, “EmRata Asks,” the idea is that we’ll be posing a question and then investigating it. The one we launched with is “Do you have sex on the first date?”

What I hope to do with these episodes is investigate the power dynamics, the politics behind those things that might seem “low-brow,” which is why I called it High Low. It’s going to be very similar to the stuff that you’ve seen on TikTok and read in my book.

Unfortunately, a lot of low-brow stuff is just sexism. People are like, “Oh, that’s frivolous” because it’s something a woman cares about. For a long time, people said I was an Instagram girl, not a real fashion model. In the end, I think that that’s ultimately sexism. The truth is I don’t actually believe in high and low. Everything can be interpreted through the lens of relatively sophisticated politics and ideas.

ED: How do you feel like the public is receiving you now? Do you care?

ER: A year ago, I really cared. I wanted people to take me seriously. When I published the book, I was conscious of what I was posting of my body online. I still feel empathetic to that part of me and person that I was then.

Now, I’m not going to try to put on a turtleneck and be like, “I’m a writer.” I’m also not going to say that I didn’t write a bestselling book of essays. It’s a little different when a woman is trying to be funny, smart, interesting, hot, all those things at once. I know what the public will think of it.

It’s definitely scary, but ultimately, I don’t care. I’m going to be who I am, and hopefully people will respond to it. If not, at least I’ll sleep well at night because I’ll be doing stuff that I love doing.

ED: In your Harper’s Bazaar profile, you said that you used to be a “pick-me girl,” and it reminded me of the famous “Cool Girl” monologue from Gone Girl. To quote it, “Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping… Cool Girls are above all hot… Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, sh*t on me, I don’t mind; I’m the Cool Girl.”

Did you ever identify yourself with that “cool girl”? Do you now?

ER: I read Gone Girl way back in the day, and I remember being like, “Whoa, this is good.” And then, obviously I was in the movie.

Back then, the image I put out into the world was definitely the above-all hot girl, cool girl thing. In personal relationships, I wouldn’t necessarily like a guy so much, but it was so important to me that they liked me that I actually kind of ruined my own life, just so I’d always have that validation that I was special and cool and hot. I don’t feel that way anymore. I released that completely, and it’s really nice.

ED: Do you think the cool girl can exist in the b*tch era?

ER: I do. I think that she’s a different kind of cool girl because she’s not doing anything for anyone else.

Anytime you are appealing to the male gaze in some way, even if it’s ultimately because it makes you feel good, you’re still playing into the same things that are problematic. That’s just the nature of the world we live in. Unfortunately, the things that make me feel good are often things that will be perceived as appealing to men, like wearing makeup. But I just don’t care anymore. If it feels good to me, I’m going to do it.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.