Emily Ratajkowski Does Care About the Haters

But she's not letting the trolls stop her from being real on her new podcast "High Low With EmRata."

EmRata Interview

Courtesy of Highlow

There are currently over 2 million podcasts in the world, a fact that Emily Ratajkowski points out during our interview to promote her new podcast High Low With EmRata. She’s humble enough to understand the statistics but equally as confident to know that she’s bringing something different to the market. Known for purveying a new brand of feminism and her honest candor surrounding controversial topics, she’s prepared to not only tackle difficult subject matters but also the social constructs that created them.

“I pitched [the podcast as] Call Her Daddy meets [NPR’s] Fresh Air,” she explains. “Listen, I'm no fucking Terry Gross [host of Fresh Air], but I hope that there's an intelligence and a thoughtful approach to the subjects that I'm going to be talking about that will hopefully really get people to think in a way that maybe surprises them.”

Her inaugural episode, which premiered on November 1, does just that: taking something like the concept of sex on the first date and poignantly articulating the disparities of how women approach the matter vs. men. “It [sounds] like something that you'd see on the cover of Cosmopolitan or something, but we get into power and gender dynamics and things that I think are interesting and complicated, but also have real life applications.”

Each week, she’ll drop two episode formats to the general public, one with a special guest and the other during which she’ll pose a question before diving in and providing her hot take. Finally, a third episode called “Talk Back” will be exclusive to subscribers and will invite listeners to write in with their thoughts that she’ll discuss on air. This week, EmRata will welcome her first official guest on the show, who is none other than podcasting mogul Alex Cooper of Call Her Daddy, an episode that will likely attract Cooper’s massive following from her cult-favorite show.

“The conversations are really exciting and having guests on and talking to them about the things I'm interested in is great,” she says. “It's an amazing way to get people thinking, get myself thinking about complicated issues and things that maybe seem simple but are high and low. The politics behind them are important.”

With a set fan base, her New York Times best-selling book My Body, and a viral TikTok page to boot, Ratajkowski is poised to sit atop the saturated podcast charts. Ahead, she tells InStyle why she wanted to start a podcast, the most common misconceptions about her, and the hardest part of being a mother in the public eye.

Why did you want to start a podcast now?

I have been thinking about starting a podcast for years. Then I made the decision that I really wanted the book [My Body] to exist and be published before I started the podcast because I felt like it was really important for people to have a sense of my POV, the stories that I'm interested in telling, and just who I am in a way that maybe they hadn't before. Podcasting is this amazing opportunity to express ideas in a more casual way than writing. It's somewhere between a TikTok and writing an essay.

You're known for your honest and relatable TikTok content. How did you become so comfortable expressing your thoughts on the app?

I was always somebody my friends and people who knew me would be like, "You would love Twitter. You would be so good at Twitter. You should get into Twitter." And I just never did. Partly, I think it's the character limit and the need to be witty and clever just turned me off. There's something about the video, the algorithm, culture, and convenience of TikTok where it's all about being informal and you can post anything from an outfit to a sexy video to a hot take, and it all kind of lands in a different [place]. It's very equal. You don't have to worry about curation in the same way that you do with traditional or past social media platforms.

Which of your posts has resonated the most with TikTok users?

There are ones that resonate in different ways. There are the ones that people really like because they're funny, and then there are ones that people respond to because it is slightly controversial. When I talked about how I feel about power dynamics between young women and powerful men and the way that we always tend to shame the other woman, that one landed. That pissed a lot of people off too. 

How will your podcast keep in the same vein of relatability?

The episode we're launching with is about sex on the first date and the question of do you have sex on the first date? And I think it's going to let people into my life in a way that they haven't been. I also have my best friends on, I have some of the producers from the show. TikTok is so informal, and it’s all of 15 seconds, three minutes. This is really me talking for 45 minutes. I don't know if [listeners] are going to like it, but hopefully [it will] be like sitting down and having a glass of wine with me.

What do you think still needs to change in Hollywood and how can the changes be made?

It's not just Hollywood, to be honest. It's our culture in general. You can work in an office or on a construction site and it still applies. We need to start from the very fundamentals of love and empathy and men understanding power dynamics, their place in the world, and the way that our culture has been constructed around their validation and power. I think that a lot of the conversations I hear around post #MeToo stuff is about consequence and fear, and I just don't think it's a reliable way for real change to happen.

What are some common misconceptions people have about you?

I don't know what people really think about. There's no way to totally know because you just pick up on little things. In general, there's a feeling with people in the public, with women particularly, to want to put them in a box and be like, "She's this type of girl. She's that type of girl." And I'm just not. I used to try to perform one type of person, one type of female, and I'm just over it now because it's just not who I am. I've been listening a lot to Midnights by Taylor Swift. I'm like, "I'm the monster on the hill." I'm not a “sexy baby” anymore, so we're just going to have to deal with it.

What guest has given you the biggest fan-girl moment?

I haven't had somebody on that hasn't been someone I know. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. It'll make for good episodes because they're people that I have some kind of relationship with. But I'm excited. There's a list of dream people: I really want to have Pamela Anderson, Monica Lewinsky, and Paris Hilton on. Hopefully those moments will come.

What makes your podcast stand out and different from the others?

Why I called the podcast High Low is because, first of all, people have struggled with how they perceive me, like, "Oh, I saw her in a bikini, but now she's writing a book of essays.” But I think that's just being multifaceted. And that's what I want to do with the podcast. I'm hoping that people will then be able to write in with their thoughts, and then that's what the subscription episode allows, is for it to become a conversation and a dialogue and discourse in a way that I could just never do with a book.

What’s the hardest part of being in the public eye, especially as a mother?

Obviously, you're criticized for anything you do as a mom. If your whole life is dedicated to your child, then you're suffocating them. If you're a working mom or you're a mom who also does things for herself, then you're a bad mom. You just can't win. But it's not really about being in the public eye. That's something every mother experiences in their community. It's just part of being a mom, which sucks. For me, [it’s the lack of] privacy. I'm starting a podcast, so I'm really throwing privacy out the window. It'll be an interesting process for me to figure out boundaries around what I want to share publicly and what I don't.

What is something that you want to instill in your son from a young age?

Radical empathy. Empathy is super important, and it's something we overlook really easily. And especially because he is a boy, it's super important for him to have that skill.

How do you ignore the haters and trolls?

It's really difficult. I would be lying to you if I said I don't care. The truth is, if you care about the praise you might get, then that means that you also care about the hate. I just learned to accept that they’re just always going to exist. I ultimately have to feel good about what I do; I'm the one who goes to sleep at night being myself. So I've learned that I'm not going to win no matter what I do. I can't let it impact me because I'll just be unhappy, and then I won't even be myself and won't be living the way that I want to.

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