The “Privacy Settings” model Emily Ratajkowski has no filter when it comes to women’s health. In collaboration with fashion designer Christy Dawn, Ratajkowski created a series of sweet little dresses with a big impact: 25 percent of the proceeds (hurry, they’re almost all out of stock!) will go to Planned Parenthood. With the organization in the news lately – first as the subject of a congressional inquiry and more recently for an attack on a Colorado facility – Ratajkowski says now is the time to get involved.
How did this collaboration come about? My friend Christy asked if I would be interested in designing a dress. The idea just came to me and I drew a sketch on the back of my script for this movie I was working on. She loved it and immediately had her pattern-maker do the fine-tuning that I don’t understand about dress-making. The turnaround was crazy—like only a month a half.
The choker collar is so popular right now. Even in high school, I always wore a little tie around my neck. It’s always been a favorite thing of mine. Now I feel like it’s acceptable and I don’t just look like a ’90s throwback [laughs].
Is designing something you would want to do more of in the future? Yeah, absolutely. I went to UCLA for arts school and obviously working so closely with the fashion world, it’s kind of a natural thing.
Why Planned Parenthood? What’s your involvement with the organization? I’ve done PSAs and different things with Planned Parenthood before. They’re the main charity that I work with. I got involved before the recent Senate vote and the shooting in Colorado. It’s really insane that they’re under attack, basically, at the same time that we launched this dress. It was a coincidence. I chose Planned Parenthood and continue to work with them because I think they’re one of the most hands-on women’s health organizations in the country. I think women’s healthcare is a fundamental right that every woman in this country, and hopefully the world, eventually, should have access to.
Many people think of it as just an abortion clinic, but they provide a number of other services. It’s really hard for young women coming into their sexuality to even talk to their parents, even if their parents are the closest people to them, or their family doctor whom they’ve known for a very long time. It’s really important for young girls and women of every age to have a safe place where they can go and get healthcare no matter what their insurance is, or what their background is.
As a model, do you feel a responsibility to be an activist, specifically regarding women’s health and rights? I mean, just being a woman, but also being a public figure. The first time I ever worked with Planned Parenthood, I was shocked at the reactions I got. Obviously, I had people who were really upset with me, but also I had a lot of people who were like, ‘Wow that’s so brave of you,’ which I think is so bizarre and says a lot about the state of the world right now—that people consider that to be such a ‘brave’ thing. I think it should just be a basic thing that every female celebrity and male celebrity supports. I’m hoping that this breaks down the taboo of Planned Parenthood, somewhat.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? Yes!
What was your reaction to the horrific events in Colorado regarding Planned Parenthood? Did it make you want to do more? Definitely. I think the important thing to remember though is that even when there’s a shooting or a vote in the Senate, like we saw this past week, it’s always important to stand by what you believe in. Even though a lot of people use Planned Parenthood, they’re often scared to speak about it. I think that’s really unfortunate because people forget that we have to fight for this. It’s just the reality of where our country is at right now. If you want your daughter or any person that you know to have this kind of healthcare, you have to be outspoken.
At what age did you feel comfortable talking about your sexuality? I grew up in a very liberal household, so I was definitely more comfortable talking about my sexuality more than a lot of young people. But at the same time, you don’t really come into your sexuality and have a comfortable understanding of yourself and your body without feeling inappropriate in some way until you’re older. I think that a lot of young women, myself included, are embarrassed about their body changing. Even dressing sexy was something that I was made to feel ashamed for just by people on the street. Having a place like Planned Parenthood where you have nurses and doctors who are able to make you realize you’re just a human being going through what every young woman goes through is super important.