Emily Ratajkowski Parents: Key Facts You Should Know

Emily Ratajkowski, a model and actress, was born on June 7, 1991, and rose to fame for her captivating beauty and artistic talents. While many people recognize her from her appearances in movies, music videos, and fashion magazines, few know about the upbringing that helped shape her into the person she is today. This article delves into the background and influence of Emily Ratajkowski parents, who played an instrumental role in her life as their only child.

Born in London to American parents, Emily’s father, John David Ratajkowski, and mother, Kathleen Balgley, were both school teachers. The couple raised their daughter in Encinitas, California, where they nurtured her unique mix of artistic and academic talents. With her father of Polish, Irish, German, English, and Welsh descent, and her mother having Polish Jewish, Irish, and German ancestry, Emily’s multicultural background added another layer to her upbringing.

John, raised Catholic, and Kathleen, from a Jewish background, supported Emily in exploring her passions and embracing her heritage. These details provide context for understanding the life and career of Emily Ratajkowski, highlighting the crucial role her parents played in her journey to stardom.

Early Life of Emily Ratajkowski

Emily’s Childhood

Emily Ratajkowski was born on June 7, 1991, in London to her American parents, John David “J.D.” Ratajkowski and Kathleen Balgley. The only child of the couple, Emily was raised in Encinitas, California. Her father, J.D., is an artist from Coronado, San Diego County, while her mother, Kathleen, is a former professor.

Ethnicity and Nationality

Emily Ratajkowski has a diverse ethnic background. She is of German, Irish, English, and Polish-Jewish descent. Though she was born in London, both of her parents are American, hailing from San Diego. They migrated to the United States when Emily was five years old, giving her American nationality.

Training in Art and Modeling

Growing up in a family passionate about the arts, Emily was exposed to various art forms from a young age. Her father’s art background and mother’s academic orientation played a significant role in shaping her interests. As a result, Emily pursued modeling and began her career as a child actor, initially appearing in two episodes of the Nickelodeon series iCarly (2009-2010). Her modeling debut occurred on the cover of the March 2012 issue of a magazine.


Emily Ratajkowski attended San Dieguito Academy, a high school in Southern California. Further, she enrolled at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), undertaking studies in the English program.

Emily Ratajkowski Parents and Influence

Kathleen Balgley – Mother

Kathleen Balgley is a former professor of English at California State University. She played a significant role in Emily Ratajkowski’s upbringing, teaching her the importance of education and intellectual pursuits. Balgley’s background in academia influenced Emily’s own appreciation for literature and language, and her values likely contributed to Emily’s confidence and strong sense of self.

John David Ratajkowski – Father

John David Ratajkowski is a well-known painter and art teacher. His work in the world of art has been recognized internationally, with his colorful and bold abstract paintings being showcased in galleries across the globe. As a father, he played an integral part in shaping Emily’s understanding and love for art. His influence can be seen in Emily’s career choices, such as modeling and acting, where she incorporates elements of art and creativity. The father-daughter duo has even collaborated on an interview, further showcasing their bond and shared passion for artistic expression.

Rise to Fame

Breakthrough in Modeling

Emily Ratajkowski’s meteoric rise to fame began with her career in modeling. She made a name for herself when she appeared in the music video for Robin Thicke’s controversial hit song “Blurred Lines” in 2013. The video showcased her beauty, charm, and acting skills, capturing the attention of both fans and industry insiders. This exposure led to numerous opportunities for Ratajkowski, including gracing the covers of prestigious magazines and walking the runway for top fashion designers. Her unique combination of art-related interests and modeling skills helped solidify her status as a prominent figure in the fashion industry.

Venture into Acting

Apart from her successful modeling career, Ratajkowski has also ventured into the world of acting. Her big-screen debut came in the form of a memorable cameo in the 2014 psychological thriller “Gone Girl,” where she played Ben Affleck’s mistress. This performance demonstrated her versatility and opened new doors for her in Hollywood. She further refined her acting skills by taking on various roles on television shows and movies, showcasing her ability to portray diverse characters.

Impact of Social Media

Social media has played a crucial role in Emily Ratajkowski’s rise to fame. With millions of followers across platforms like Instagram and Twitter, she has harnessed the power of these digital channels to stay connected with her fans and update them about her modeling and acting ventures. In addition to providing behind-the-scenes glimpses into her professional life, Ratajkowski also uses her social media presence to advocate for issues close to her heart, such as body positivity and women’s rights. This multifaceted approach to online engagement has contributed to her widespread popularity and solidified her status as a famous personality in the worlds of modeling and entertainment.

Personal Life of Emily

Marriage to Sebastian Bear-McClard

Emily Ratajkowski married film producer Sebastian Bear-McClard in a private ceremony in 2018. The couple had been dating for a short period of time before they decided to tie the knot. Their marriage was a surprise to many, as they kept their relationship and wedding plans under wraps. Together, they continue to navigate their careers and love life, supporting each other in their endeavors.

Role as a Mother

In 2020, Emily Ratajkowski announced that she was expecting her first child with husband Sebastian Bear-McClard. She gave birth to their son in March 2021. As a mother, Emily has been open about her parenting journey, sharing her experiences and thoughts on social media. She has also expressed her desire to raise her child with a gender-neutral approach, giving her son the freedom to explore his own identity. Emily’s personal life has been a mix of her career and her role as a mother, constantly balancing the challenges and joys of parenthood with her work in fashion and entertainment.

Emily’s Views and Beliefs

Emily’s View on Feminism

Emily Ratajkowski is a confident and vocal advocate for women’s rights, embracing feminism and using her platform to foster open discussions around the female body and ownership. In her book, My Body, she shares her experiences as a woman in the public eye, discussing the scrutiny and the challenges she faces.

This model-turned-activist believes that women should have the freedom to express themselves and their bodies as they see fit without facing criticism or shaming from society. Emily’s strong views on feminism have led her to support other influential women, such as Kim Kardashian, who also face similar criticisms. Through her advocacy, she aims to encourage self-acceptance and body positivity, challenging the notion that men should have ownership over women’s bodies.

Influence of Art in Emily’s Life

Growing up in a family with a strong artistic background, Emily Ratajkowski was immersed in the world of art from a young age. Her father, John David Ratajkowski, is a respected painter and sculptor. Spending time in his studio during her childhood in both London and later in Encinitas, California, Emily developed a deep appreciation and understanding of art that continues to shape her life and career.

Art is an integral aspect of Emily’s life, and she brings the creative sensibilities and expression she learned from her father to her work in fashion and cinematography. As a mother, she plans to incorporate art into her parenting philosophy, ensuring that her child also has the opportunity to experience the beauty and impact art can have on personal growth and self-expression.



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