Brooke Shields says that she felt “taken advantage of” during her 1981 interview with Barbara Walters.
The former supermodel, 57, opened up about her problematic interview experiences during the early years of her modelling career while speaking to Drew Barrymore, on Tuesday’s episode of The Drew Barrymore Show.
During the show, Shields reflected on one interview that took place when she was very young, during which she said the interviewer asked the “same question repeatedly,” despite the fact that she was answering the question truthfully.
“I had to watch an interview of when I was 10 or something like that, and this woman asked the same question repeatedly,” Shields recalled. “And I finally, as this little girl, I said: “I don’t think you want to know my answer because you keep asking me the same question. And this is my answer but I can’t change it because it’s my truth.’”
The recollection prompted Barrymore to ask Shields whether the female interviewer she was referring to was Walters, who interviewed the child star in 1981 after Shields, who was 15 at the time, starred in a controversial Calvin Klein jeans ad.
The televised campaign featured Shields asking: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
After Shields clarified that she had not been referring to Walters, she reflected on the interview in question, during which the ABC news anchor had questioned Shields about her measurements, and whether she ever kept secrets from her mother.
“That was another fiasco,” Shields said, before recalling: “She asked me what my measurements were, and asked me to stand up.
“I stand up and she’s comparing herself to this little girl and I thought: ‘This isn’t right. I don’t understand what this is.’”
Despite feeling uncomfortable, and like she was being “taken advantage of,” Shields recalled how she’d “behaved and smiled”.
“But I behaved and smiled and felt like so taken advantage of in so many ways,” she admitted.
This is not the first time that Shields has condemned the interview with Walters, as the model previously described the conversation as “practically criminal” during an appearance on Dax Shepard and Monica Padman’s Armchair Expert podcast in December 2021.
After Shepard referred to the interview as “maddening,” Shields agreed, adding: “It’s practically criminal. It’s not journalism.”
Shields has also reflected on her role in the controversial Calvin Klein ad, with The Blue Lagoon star previously revealing to Vogue that she hadn’t realised at the time that the ad was sexual in nature.
“They take the one commercial, which is a rhetorical question. I was naive. I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think it had to do with underwear. I didn’t think it was sexual in nature,” she said in an October 2021 video for Vogue.
However, according to Shields, the designer and advertising company behind the campaign “knew exactly what they were doing”.