Emily Ratajkowski had worked hard on a series of essays in relative secrecy. But when she got the idea that one day she might, just maybe, like them to see the light of day, she asked for advice. “I reached out to [authors] Ariel Levy, Stéphanie Danler and Jen Silverman. I was kind of like, ‘Hey, I love your writing. Could you tell me if I’m terrible? ‘ The 30-year-old model turned essayist told Bustle. The three responded by letting Ratajkowski know that no, she was actually far from terrible. “Stephanie had no idea who I was when I emailed her and sort of thought, ‘I don’t know what you are looking for but if you are wondering if you are a writer , you are. “”
Ratajkowski says Danler, the author of Bittersweet, said “the thing I needed to hear” in order to seriously begin writing her first collection of essays. My body is not your traditional celebrity memory. This is definitely not a hero’s journey through the Hollywood system. Instead, it’s a rumination on the corrosive power of the male gaze, explored through the women he has touched.
Although at first Ratajkowski didn’t realize that was what she was writing. “I had to watch carefully and ask: what am I saying here in general? “It became clear that each essay was related to the female body,” she explains, citing Empathy reviews, Accounts, and How to write an autobiographical novel like his inspirations. “If it’s not my body, then my mother’s body, a famous woman’s body, or a friend’s body. All the essays revolved around the politics of the female body.
While this is a collection that should be required reading for everyone, Ratajkowski hopes it reaches teenage girls. “I want them to give each other a break,” she says of the message she hopes they get from the book. “There is so much pressure. Even if you go to high school: what are you wearing? Are you having sex with this boy? Is not it ? How do you represent yourself in the world? Below, Ratajkowski reflects on the writing from the bed, The right to sex, and the drafts that fill its Notes application.
By reading a spiritual companion at My body
The right to sex by Amia Srinivasan is definitely the best book I have read recently. It came out last month and it’s amazing, and I think it’s not unrelated to some of the ideas of My body. Just the idea that men would feel this right to have sex or a right to women’s bodies. Rather than just dismiss it, she takes a closer look and asks, “Well, who has the right to have sex? When does this apply? How does it work? ”She’s not afraid to question things that we’ve somehow accepted as untouchable.
About writing drafts in your Notes app
Sometimes when I’ve had a busy but calm morning all of a sudden I’m struck by sentences. I can’t always get them down, but I’ll just start writing in my Notes app. Most of the time I would copy and paste what I wrote into a Word document – to be clear, not fully formed, real sentences – but that would be helpful because once you start writing an essay it can be very difficult to continue this kind of stream of consciousness since you are so into it with words. So what to have that kind of skeletal consciousness stream [in the Notes app shows] “Oh, and it got me thinking about that, and I think it’s kind of related.”
Not wanting to feel like “a piece of shit” while writing
I try to have a morning routine when I go to write, where I take a shower and feel half-decent so that I can deal with whatever might happen and not feel like shit. To be clear, that means I get back to bed – I love to write from bed, which my husband finds absolutely crazy – with a little makeup on and wearing something other than what I’ve slept on. It does the trick.
Have the ultimate deadline to finish the book
Much of the book had been written before I even thought of it as a book. So when it came time to have deadlines, things got harder for me because I didn’t have that zero-pressure, fluidity thing. I was very nervous and it was around this time that it became very difficult for me to write because the pressure was so great. Besides, I was pregnant. I had this real growing baby due date and I knew, “He’s going to be here, and I want this book to be as finished as possible.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.