You know you’ve hit the big time when the Prince impersonator at your party is actually Prince.
“It Girl” Emily Ratajkowski didn’t immediately realize that at Madonna’s Oscar night bash earlier this year, where she was dancing next to Paul McCartney.
“As I was leaving, I saw this smaller guy with a mini-Afro walking out and I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a Prince impersonator,’ ” Ratajkowski says. “And then I looked back and I was like, ‘No, that’s actually Prince!’ ”
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The fact that she was on the guest list shows just how far the 23-year-old model-turned-actress has come since her topless cavorting in the video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” last year.
Credit that party invite in part to her major-movie debut in the blockbuster “Gone Girl.” Her rising star power started to become clear while filming it.
Ratajkowski found herself on a set in a small river town in Missouri, taking direction from David Fincher in her memorable turn as Andie, a college student with an intense crush on her professor, played by Ben Affleck, who’s at the center of the mysterious disappearance of his wife. Even more special, she’d been a huge fan of Gillian Flynn’s novel before she knew a movie adaptation was in the works.
“It’s when you get off work and you’re driving home and you think to yourself, ‘What did I do today? Oh right, I made out with Ben Affleck,’ ” Ratajkowski says. “It occurs to you, this is my job.”
She’s not the only one who’s impressed. GQ, Cosmopolitan and Ocean Drive magazines all planted the beauty on recent covers. But those sizzling shots are nothing compared to her part in the “Blurred Lines” video. And Ratajkowski doesn’t even blush talking about the nudity-heavy clip.
ut after becoming the face of the “Blurred Lines” phenomenon, she realized something had changed. Ratajkowski remembers the exact moment: she was on the
“It wasn’t uncomfortable for me to shoot,” she says. “I’ve always been comfortable in my body. I have a really great mom who told me never apologize for the way you look or for your body. You’re a woman and that’s something you should celebrate and not feel uncomfortable with.”
But she was slightly less comfortable with the backlash from critics who felt the clip mirrored the sexist lyrics of Thicke’s hit song. “People don’t realize that I showed up on set and I had never heard the song before,” Ratajkowski says. “It wasn’t like I was part of the creative process of writing that song.”
Before the video, Ratajkowski’s career had been humming along. The London-born, California-raised theater buff had a two-episode role on Nickelodeon’s “i-Carly” in 2007, but was savvy enough even at 16 to steer clear of taking too many such roles and being labeled as a child actress. Instead, she did fine as a model, scoring a magazine cover here, a Carl’s Jr. ad there.
phone with her mom while walking through SoHo, when she heard a woman calling her first name. At first she thought it must be someone she knew — but it turned out to be a fan who wanted to take a picture.
“I could hear my mom (on the other end) going, ‘What is going on?’ ” Ratajkowski laughs. “It was a funny experience to share with your mom.”
But Ratajkowski had bigger dreams than just gyrating through pop videos (or making it into Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue). That September, she entered a New York City “cattle call” audition for the part of Andie in “Gone Girl.” Two days later, she was on a plane to Los Angeles to read with Affleck in front of Fincher.
“Two hours later, they called to tell me I got the part,” she says. “On Labor Day weekend no less. I screamed and called my parents. It was surreal.”
Not as surreal as the déjà vu feeling Ratajkowski experienced walking the red carpet at the movie’s New York Film Festival premiere last week in a glamorous red dress. She flashed back to the times when she was a little girl and her mother used to sweetly whisper to her, “You’re so beautiful, people think you’re a movie star.”
“Now she calls me before the premiere and was like, ‘Now you are a movie star,’ ” says Ratajkowski, who lacks the long showbiz career needed to become cynical in such moments.
Having recently wrapped the romantic comedy “We Are Your Friends” opposite Zac Efron, Ratajkowski hasn’t paused on her whirlwind ride long enough to get her hands on an actual copy of her Cosmo issue, much less process her meteoric success.
And as for that Oscar party where she mingled with McCartney and Prince, Ratajkowski felt like Cinderella at the ball. But the clock doesn’t seem to be nearing midnight anytime soon.
“My friend said one day you’re going to be one of those people and people will be saying that about you,” Ratajkowski says. “And I don’t think I can ever get my head around that.”
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