Brooke Shields Bravely Confronts Her Own Child Sexual Exploitation – Rolling Stone

so Brooke Shields being objectified in her early years would be the understatement of the century. It’s hard to fathom how this all happened, or someone thinks it’s good, through a contemporary lens – nude model at 10, dubbed “the world’s youngest sex symbol” at 12, in a Hollywood A 15-year-old appeared nude in blockbusters. It’s extraordinary that she’s able to achieve any semblance of normalcy, let alone graduate from Princeton and become a powerful voice for mothers around the world.

“You know, my career is a life force within me because it’s the only thing I know,” Shields said in a new documentary. “Sometimes I’m surprised I survived it.”

exist Pretty Baby: Brooke ShieldsIn the two-part documentary, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and streams on Hulu later this year, the former child star looks back with clear eyes on her commodification and coercion, finally You can control your own narrative.

Shields started modeling as a child, appearing in an ad for Ivory soap. Although she is still a child, as she grows older, cultural forces begin to sexualize her in disturbing ways—a response to second-wave feminism, suggested by cultural critics in the film.By the time she was 11, Shields was in cute child, directed by the late French filmmaker Louis Malle. There’s a scene in the movie where her character is put on a literal plate and auctioned off to the highest bidder. In another photo, she kissed grown-up man actor Keith Carradine.

“We had our first kiss scene. I’d never kissed anyone before,” Shields recalls in the film. “I’m like, oh my god, I should know what to do, but I don’t. Every time Keith [Carradine] I would scrunch my face into a ball when trying to kiss. Louis is mad at me. “

Brooke Shields with her mother and manager Terry Shields in 1981.

Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

It’s a common theme: Men controlling shields that are too young. At 15, she was naked in a movie blue lagoon, a twisted fantasy film about two teenagers who fall in love on a deserted island. Shields, who was not having sex with the men at the time, described it as a “reality show” where they “wanted to sell my true sexual awakening.”That year she also took endless LoveHelmed by the late Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli, in the film’s sex scene, he becomes very frustrated with Shields for not giving her what she wants, in order to As for him starting to sprain her toe.

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“Zeffirelli kept grabbing my toe and wiggling it and making me look… ecstatic I guess? But it was more anxiety than anything because he hurt me,” she recalls.

Shields was mentored by her mother, Terry (whose parents divorced when she was young), a bohemian “force of nature” from Newark, New Jersey, who struggled her entire life with severe alcoholism problem. Shields’ childhood friend, actress Laura Linney, describes in the film how the two of them hid out in Shields’ bedroom as children when Terry got drunk and got out of hand.

“I didn’t revel in that kind of success in the ’80s. I didn’t think about, ‘Oh, I made it.’ All this stuff that has to do with being these ‘sexy’ characters just doesn’t feel like who I really am,” says Shields Say. “I don’t blame my mom, but I wish she’d said a little more, ‘Oh, let’s see what this means. Is this going to come back to bite us?'”

Director Lana Wilson (miss america) chronicles Shields’ entire journey over the film’s 136 minutes, from her well-publicized relationship with Michael Jackson (“It was childish…we were just friends”) to sitcom success susan suddenly And serve as a public advocate for mothers with postpartum depression, much to the chagrin of a certain high-ranking Scientologist.

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One of the scariest parts of the documentary is the episode involving cinematographer Gary Gross – an aptly titled one, if ever there was one. When Shields was 10, Gross, considered a family friend, took nude photos of her in the bathtub, which were published in a book by Rizzoli. When she became a global superstar at 16, Gross tried to sell the pictures. So Shields and her mother sued him in New York court.

Shields, who was also only 16 at the time, was cross-examined in court for two days, tearing up his face. At one point, Gross’ lawyer even asked her, “You enjoyed being naked, didn’t you?” (She was 10 at the time.) To make matters worse, the court sided with Gross, insisting that he owned the nude photos of the children and Right to do with the photos as he sees fit.

“I was more hurt by the breach of trust and friendship than I was uncomfortable with the nature of the photo,” Shields said. “That’s how I was treated by the people involved with the whole thing. It was low-rent, low-class — it had zero integrity, and to me, it was so angry and hurtful. I mean, my whole life, over and over and over, it was, “She’s a pretty face.” ’ ‘She’s a sex symbol. ’ It always burns me because that creative and intellectual nerd is at my core.”

Brooke Shields attends MoMA’s 12th Annual Film Benefit Presented by CHANEL in Honor of Laura Dern on November 12, 2019 .

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for MoMA

By the time she graduated high school, Shields had regained control of her life. She went to Princeton (where she graduated), wrote books and became a voice for teenage girls.

“For a long time it didn’t occur to me to have an opinion. I thought, just listen to everybody, listen to them,” Shields said. “I’ve owed people my whole life to do what they want. In the end, I asked myself: who would I be if I wasn’t allowed to do that anymore?”

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After graduation, however, she found film roles drying up. She said she was “vulnerable,” and around this time, an unnamed filmmaker sexually assaulted her under the guise of attending a conference. It’s a story she’s never shared publicly before.

“I was completely flabbergasted,” she shared. “My one ‘no’ should have been enough. I just thought, ‘Live it up and get out. I just shut it out. God knows I know how to detach from my body. I’ve practiced it.”

She continued, “I want to erase everything from my mind and body and continue on the path I’m going on. And the system never came to help me, you know? So, I just got stronger on my own.”

She did it.Shields discovers she has talent for comedy, cameos first friends as Joey’s stalker girlfriend, then with her own hit NBC sitcom susan suddenly, ran for four seasons. She fell in love and fell in love with tennis player Andre Agassi, who proved to be jealous and controlling, before finding true happiness with comedy writer Chris Henchy , and married in 2001.


After her baby was born, Shields became a public voice for postpartum depression, writing a book and discussing it on a talk show show, giving voice to mothers around the world who have gone through similar issues. Shields even helped get the Mothers Act passed—an important piece of legislation that dedicated additional resources to helping mothers with postpartum depression. Overall, her experience is a remarkable story of resilience.

“I guess I did intend to say, ‘Y’all think I can’t do it, but just look at me,'” Shields said. “And I think the same thing happens in college. You know,” she wouldn’t mean it. ” “She won’t be that smart.” ’ But I thought, ‘You know what? I’m not only going to surprise them, I’m going to surprise myself.’”


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