'It was scary.' According to this Emily Ratajkowski story, our attitude to bodies is worse than ever before.

Emily Ratajkowski reached a newfound level of success after she gave birth to her son, Sylvester in March 2021. 

And it was all because her body changed in a way she didn't like. 

The model, author and actor shared the story on her podcast High Low With Em Ratatelling listeners about how the most pivotal recent turn of her career was when she was the most unhealthy. 

Watch: How to improve your daughter's body image. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

In July 2022, reports said Ratajkowski and her husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard were divorcing when she found out he had cheated on her

A source told Page Six then, "Yeah, he cheated. He's a serial cheater. It's gross. He's a dog."

She had been married for four years and had only given birth to their son 15 months earlier. 


In her new podcast episode, the model confessed that time left her a "super anxious space".

"I had lost a ton of weight after my son was born," Ratajkowski said. "... And I could not gain the weight back."

She continued, telling listeners it was a "frustrating" experience not being able to gain the weight back.

"Weighing that much was really alarming and I could not gain weight," she said. "I couldn't enjoy food and it wasn't about my body image, it was about my anxiety and if I'm ever stressed, the first thing that happens is I stop eating. It's just how my brain works."

However, weight loss only led to even more success in Ratajkowski's career. 

"It was really frustrating for me because I actually didn't like being that skinny," the model shared. "It's weird though because fashion definitely... like, I started walking more shows. I was getting booked for things that I hadn't booked for before. 

"And when you talk about body ideals, that's really scary."

Read more: Plus size models are disappearing from the runway. Maybe that’s a good thing.


Ratajkowski's story of success after weight loss, despite admittedly being unhealthy, points to a larger issue within the fashion industry's previous push for body diversity. 

Over the last decade, we've seen more plus-size women on magazine covers, at fashion weeks and in major social media campaigns than we ever have before. 

But during New York Fashion Week 2023, you'd have been hard-pressed to see a single larger person walking the runway. 

That's because there barely were any.

Reports are reflecting this change too, including the Business of Fashion, that found the number of plus-size models walking in New York Fashion Week had been rising in previous years. During the Autumn/Winter 2016 season, there were just four, but in February of last year, there were 51.

However, this year's had just 31 plus-size models of more than 3000 featured in their catwalks.

Listen to this episode of The Spill, Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast. Post continues after audio. 

A report from Vogue Business found that of the 9137 looks that strutted down the catwalk in this year's Autumn/Winter  season, across 219 shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, only 0.6 per cent were plus-size (US 14+) and 3.8 per cent were mid-size (US 6-12). 

This means a majority of the bodies shown (95.6 per cent) for AW23 were in a size US 0-4. 

Only 17 brands had a plus-size look, too.

On Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast The Spill, Elfy Scott acknowledged Ratajkowski's privilege in taking on new jobs at a point where she knew she was unhealthy. 


"She insinuates with stories like this, that she doesn't have a choice," Scott argues. "And I think that she always has a choice. I think she's an extraordinarily privileged person who clearly has a lot of wealth that has been accumulated independently and good for her. She has done that. 

"But at the same time, it's not as though she had to take those jobs."

Scott went on to question Ratajkowski's decision to share images of her body on social media, when she was admittedly unhealthy.

"On her Instagram and her social media around this time — when she had had her baby — she posted a lot of photos of her rail, thin abs, basically showing all of the muscles protruding in certain ways," Scott said. 

"And I think on the one hand, she would argue, 'I have the right to display my body as I want, it's a form of empowerment.' But on the other hand, I am very upset that she would choose to promote that body type to her thousands of young women, I think that is deeply upsetting that it doesn't even occur to her how damaging her behaviour can be."

Mamamia's Laura Brodnik agreed, arguing the model is playing "two different games". 

"On one side, she's playing the visual game where she is profiting off her very thin body on Instagram and in fashion shows. But then she also wants to be in this space of being an activist and having a podcast and being an author," she said. 

One thing is clear: Ratajkowski's story of discontentment with her own body is further proof that the fashion industry is straying away from being body positive as fast as it possibly can.

Feature Image: Instagram @emrata/Mamamia.

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