In a passage published by The Sunday Times, Emily recalls the moment from set where she and two other models were topless for the video.
She initially enjoyed working on the music video, which was shot using an all-female crew, until she and Thicke were alone on set.
“Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger’s hands cupping my bare breasts from behind,” she writes in the excerpt, “I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke.”
“He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set. The director, Diane Martel’s voice cracked as she yelled out to me, ‘Are you okay?’” she continued.
Martel has confirmed this report to The Sunday Times. She said that Robin “sheepishly apologised” after shout at him and threatening to shut down the shoot.
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After checking on Emily, Diane says that she “was very professional and said we could go on.”
Emily added that Thicke was “a little drunk” and “didn’t seem to be enjoying himself in the same way” throughout filming, but she feels she did not handle the situation as she should have.
The model recalls that the incident made her feel “naked for the first time that day,” and she was “desperate to minimise” the weight of the situation.
“I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body,” she notes, “I didn’t react — not really, not like I should have.”
The video has been scrutinised for promoting rape culture, despite the director’s efforts to challenge power dynamics. Emily herself also said that she felt nothing more than a “hired mannequin.”
“With that one gesture, Robin Thicke had reminded everyone on set that we women weren’t actually in charge. I didn’t have any real power as the naked girl dancing around in his music video. I was nothing more than the hired mannequin.
Emily Ratajkowski’s collection of essays, My Body, is available November 9.
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