/Brooke Shields Says She Was Naive For Doing Calvin Klein Ads As A Teen

Brooke Shields Says She Was Naive For Doing Calvin Klein Ads As A Teen

Brooke Shields spoke candidly in a new documentary about how “naive” she was when she modeled for suggestive Calvin Klein ads as a teen in 1980.

“There was nothing in me that ever had the idea it was sexual,” the now-57-year-old actor and model said of the ads, adding, “That’s slightly naïve.”

The new Hulu documentary about Shields, “Pretty Baby,” is named after the 1978 film in which she portrayed a 12-year-old girl forced into sex work. The documentary was released on Sunday.

In her controversial Calvin Klein ads, teenage Shields recited lines that were heavy with double entendres and posed suggestively in the brand’s jeans. The ads featured Shields reading, doing math and being silly while sitting, lying down or showing off her flexibility. “You want to know what comes in between me and my Calvins? Nothing,” she famously said in one ad.

The campaign was pitched to Shields as a “series of cinematic commercials” that were going to be “a play on what a jean is,” she said in the documentary.

“I jumped at the chance because it was acting,” Shields explained. “It was just an exercise in memorization, in literary reference and I had to be smart to do it,” she added.

Shields has her hair done by a hairdresser before the filming of a commercial in the 1980s.
Shields has her hair done by a hairdresser before the filming of a commercial in the 1980s.

Lynn Goldsmith via Getty Images

Shields spoke to Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” last week about the controversy surrounding the Calvin Klein ads.

“I was deemed inappropriate, and [the Calvin ad] was just pornography and how can I talk about something coming between me and my Calvins? Like the phrase — that was a phrase I used all the time about my dog … My horse. I was like, nothing comes between me and my dog or me and my mommy,” she said.

She told Vogue in 2021 that she had no idea the line had a sexually charged double meaning when she shot the ad.

“If they had intended on the double entendre, they didn’t explain it to me,” Shields said. “If they’d explained it to me, why? Would they have wanted me to say it differently? It didn’t faze me; it didn’t come into my sort of psyche as it being anything overtly sexual, sexualized in any way.”

She added that people assumed she was “much more savvy than I ever really was.”

The beginning of the new documentary focuses on how the “Lipstick Jungle” star was objectified from a very young age thanks to a successful career as a child model and movies she made when she was 11 and 15: “Pretty Baby” and 1980’s “Blue Lagoon,” a steamy coming-of-age survival film based on Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s 1908 novel of the same name.

In the documentary, Shields’ childhood friend and actor Laura Linney described the movies as ones “you couldn’t make” today, adding that they’d be considered “soft porn” or “exploitation.”

Due to Shields’ early successes that focused on her appearance, it’s understandable that the teenager would be eager to star in an ad campaign that she thought would showcase her intellect.

“I think the hardest thing for me was really knowing who I was,” Shields explained in the opening of the documentary.

“I had this thing about not looking in the mirror,” she added. “I was just born with this face. And so I didn’t want to think about it. I wanted to think about things I could control, things that could have happened without beauty.”

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