More than 15 years after Brooke Shields modeled a braided hairstyle on the cover of a Calvin Klein underwear campaign and the ensuing backlash, she sat down with Cosmopolitan. The world-famous model, actress and author told the magazine’s editor in chief, Joanna Coles, that she would choose to do it all over again. “I feel like I was a naïve kid who didn’t understand it, didn’t have that visceral feel for it, and I was just falling in love with the brand.”
Although she said that she had little idea what was going on at the time, Shields did remember receiving a call from CK: “The department store owner in London sent me an entire box of [Calvin Klein] underwear, and she said, ‘I want you to cover this up. We got together and people complained — they didn’t want a naked girl with a bra and underwear.’ … She told me, ‘Calvin Klein doesn’t want any lady to not cover up.’ I said, ‘But this is the kind of stuff that makes America so happy.’ She said, ‘I would just rather not do it.’ I really appreciated it.
In hindsight, Shields reflected on the consequences of not listening to those in control of her image. “At the time, I thought, ‘I can do that. I can cover up. I know people are talking. They’re saying, ‘She’s too old to be doing that.’ But I thought, ‘No, they’re just letting me be true to myself.’” She recalled the constant ridicule by certain media outlets: “My whole public life became about, ‘That dress! Oh my God! Where do I wear it? Where do I wear my hair? Is my face caked on black lipstick?’ I didn’t know about humiliation and pressure.”
Read the full story at Cosmopolitan.
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