Emily O’Hara Ratajkowski is a Polish-American model and actress.
She was born on June 7, 1991, in Westminster, London, the only child of American parents, Kathleen Anne Balgley and John David Ratajkowski. Balgley, who earned her PhD from UCSD, became a lecturer of English at UCLA. She then taught American Literature in Poland from September 1987 to July 1988, and again from September 1988 to July 1989, under the Fulbright Program. Balgley met Ratajkowski, a painter and art teacher, while they were both teaching at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas, California. At the time of their daughter’s birth, they were aged 39 and 45, respectively and unmarried. Ratajkowski describes her mother as a feminist and intellectual. The family lived in West Kensington and Bloomsbury before settling in San Diego, California, when Ratajkowski was five. She was raised primarily in nearby Encinitas. Balgley formerly taught at California Polytechnic State University, and as of 2011, teaches at San Diego Jewish Academy.
Ratajkowski is of Irish, German, Polish, and Polish-Jewish descent. Her father was raised Roman Catholic, whereas her mother was raised Jewish.
Before Ratajkowski left London at the age of five, she was obsessed with theater. She began acting as a child, staging shows for her family. Ratajkowski tried soccer, acting, and ballet before modeling.
Ratajkowski visited nude beaches in Europe with her family during her youth. Exposure to the nude female figure in photography and art during her formative years, including the work of her father, as well as the photography of Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts, prepared her for nude work. She is comfortable with the naked body. She was also influenced by third-wave feminism and works such as The Beauty Myth and Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf.
With encouragement from an acting coach, Ratajkowski met and signed with a talent agent who contacted Ford Models. That same day, she signed with Ford at age 14 and went on to do teen print catalog modeling for Kohl’s and Nordstrom. At 15, Ratajkowski began auditioning for Disney and iCarly roles, but as she pursued acting she was often cast as a “bitchy girl”, cheerleader, or other limited roles.
After campaigns and editorials with photographer Tony Duran, Ratajkowski began shooting more fashion editorials and posed for several early issues of the artistic erotica magazine treats!, including the cover of its third issue, in March 2012. She credits that cover for bringing her the two unsolicited, high-profile, music video roles.
Ratajkowski played Andie Fitzgerald, the mistress of Ben Affleck’s character, in David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl.
Ratajkowski co-starred in the 2015 film Entourage as a fictionalized version of herself, playing the love interest of Adrian Grenier’s character, Vincent Chase. She was also cast in the 2015 miniseries The Spoils Before Dying as Agent Day, appearing late in the series.
Ratajkowski earned her first leading role, opposite Zac Efron, in We Are Your Friends, a musical drama released in August 2015, and was part of the film’s promotional tour to Europe and North America. She played Stanford University dropout Sophie, the love interest of Efron’s character and girlfriend/personal assistant of Wes Bentley’s character.
Ratajkowski played Jessica Weintraub, the female lead opposite Spencer Boldman in the film Cruise, which was written and directed by Robert Siegel. She was hired as part of the cast of the film In Darkness. She had a role opposite Aaron Paul in Welcome Home. On November 9, 2017 , Harper’s Bazaar UK published a story about Ratajkowski’s impending release of her own swimwear brand after Emrata Holdings LLC acquired the trademark to Inamorata in August and she left a trail of breadcrumbs on social media. The bathing suit line, Inamorata, went live on November 16, 2017.
Ratajkowski co-starred alongside Amy Schumer in the 2018 comedy film I Feel Pretty. Her role included ad libbed improvisational comedy.
In September 2014, Ratajkowski was a victim in a female celebrity hacking and internet posting wave of stolen nude iCloud photographs.
Emily has raised funds, done public service announcements, and committed to a short film promoting reproductive and sexual health for Planned Parenthood (PPFA).
Ratajkowski says she enjoys freedom of sexual expression while still being a feminist, and is outspoken about using her celebrity to support the empowerment of women and women’s sexuality.