Emily Ratajkowski—who has recently been seen galavanting about town with a new mystery man (who’s apparently a DJ)—seems to be moving forward just fine. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar published Thursday, Ratajkowski acknowledged her split from Sebastian Bear-McClard and the emotional roller coaster it took her on, but also how it’s changed her entire outlook on dating and partnership: Namely, she’s determined to no longer be a “pick-me girl” (her words, not mine!).
Ratajkowski admitted to Harper Bazaar’s writer Thessaly La Force that she once prioritized being liked and desired by men over figuring out what she actually liked and desired in prospective partners. When she was younger, the need for male approval resulted in her jumping from one relationship to the next—a decision she said she also made, frustratingly enough, to protect herself from predatory men in the modeling industry. (It’s so deeply sad to know how much more likely some men are to respect boundaries when they see a woman as “belonging” to another man.)
Ratajkowski said she’s only now discovering that dating can be enjoyable (can’t relate, but good for her!!), and reevaluating her approach. “To use the TikTok phrase, I was a bit of a ‘pick-me girl’ in the sense that I wasn’t very good at deciding what I liked,” she explained to the magazine. “I really wanted to be chosen. It was hard for me to go on a date with someone and think about how much I did or didn’t like them.”
She continued, “I would have been thinking about how they were perceiving me, what it meant, what they wanted from me, what it meant about my self-worth. I don’t have that anymore. So now it’s really fun to go to dinner with someone and be like, ‘Cool. I really enjoyed these parts of them. I really didn’t like these other parts.’”
As Ratajkowski pointed out, the phrase “pick-me” is commonplace on TikTok and Twitter as a derogatory shorthand for women who go along with what men say and do for status and acceptance. Male approval can certainly have (extremely conditional) perks, but Ratajkowski is, apparently, no longer interested in them. I repeat: Good for her!
Being newly single at 31 wasn’t something Ratajkowski had planned on, but the fact that her own mother was divorced and in her early 30s when she met Ratajkowski’s father is a source of optimism. “She always romanticized that time in her life,” Ratajkowski said of her mom. “So, I’ve expected this decade to be the best decade. Even if I didn’t see it going this way.”
When it comes to who she’s actually dating, Ratajkowsk did not confirm, but very notably did not deny, going out with Brad Pitt. “Ratajkowski’s expression is unreadable when I ask if the rumors are true that she’s been hanging out with Brad Pitt,” La Force wrote. But perhaps tellingly, Ratajkowski did acknowledge the Instagram gossip account Deuxmoi, the first to report her outings with Pitt, saying that it has, in her words, “little spies everywhere.”
Some have correctly pointed out the irony of Ratajkowski’s feminist TikTok persona as she’s possibly been dating a man accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife. But maybe it’s all bizarrely part of her rebranding? Her upcoming podcast, High Low With Emrata, is supposedly all about candidly celebrating her imperfect feminism, which has been the subject of many a think piece about her simultaneous participation in and complaints about the System™.