Emily Ratajkowski
Instagram @hulu

“This book changed my life,” says Emily Ratajkowski in reference to Sally Rooney’s “Normal People”.

“I read it in two days and I was on vacation in a beautiful place and I had no interest in the place. I was just obsessed with reading this book and sobbing my eyes out actually, crying happily on a beach so there’s an image for you.”

Reviewing the book’s adaptation to television, the 29-year-old model and activist acknowledged that in Marianne and Connell’s search for themselves and the equilibrium of what they believe to be “normal” was not unlike “anybody who is existing in the world in 2020.”

What I found particularly interesting about Ratajkowski’s views on Normal People was her idea that their seesaw relationship didn’t come down to timing or their emotional or physical connection. No, in Ratajkowski’s opinion, the reason they didn’t work out came down to an imbalance in social capital (that is, the shifts in social power in different environments whether it be high school or college or home. It was ever-changing and never really matched up.)

“Marianne and Connell both fear being ‘The Other’ and that’s the whole title. They are not able to connect because there’s this imbalance of social power and capital,” says Ratajkowski.

“When I say capital, I mean money, social status based on popularity – for example, Connell is a really good football player – their looks and even love,” she continued. “I think Connell has this amazing relationship with his mum. I remember reading the book and watching the show too just thinking I really hope I’m that kind of mum because she loves him in such an honest way, she respects who he is but she also had really good boundaries and she’s just cool.”

READ: “Normal People” will retuRN with extra episodes.

“The show starts with Marianne having no social capital. She’s not cool at all but Connell obviously is. He’s socio-economically much more on the same page as most of the people in town and in their school so he has an advantage in that way,” says Ratajkowski.

“Marianne on the other hand is super rich. Connell’s mum works at Marianne’s house as a maid. So there’s a sort of weird imbalance where Marianne’s not cool and also an outsider and an ‘other’ because of her money… Connell is embarrassed of her.”

READ: A Sartorial Dissection Of “Normal People”

But that changes when the pair get to college. “Then Connell becomes the outsider because the things that make you cool [in college] is being really smart and well-read and that’s something that Marianne is amazing at. Everybody has money and Connell doesn’t and they are both considered these country bumpkins. Marianne definitely has an advantage.”

“I think it’s an interesting thing to think about in our own lives,” continued Ratajkowski. “What gives people status and privilege?”


Ratajkowski goes on but I’ll let you listen to it below. She makes some really interesting points.