Brooke Shields claims she felt “taken advantage of” during an interview with Barbara Walters in 1981.
The former supermodel, 57, spoke with Drew Barrymore on Tuesday’s edition of The Drew Barrymore Show about her difficult interview experiences in her early modeling career.
During the episode, Shields remembered a previous interview in which she said the interviewer asked the “same question repeatedly,” despite the fact that she was answering the topic 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 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 led Barrymore to question Shields if the female journalist she was talking to was Walters, who interviewed Shields in 1981 when Shields, then 15, appeared in a controversial Calvin Klein jeans campaign.
The televised campaign featured Shields asking: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
Shields then explained that she was not referring to Walters, and she thought on the interview in question, in which the ABC news presenter questioned Shields about her size and if she had ever held 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.
Shields had already labeled the interview with Walters 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 spoken about her role in the controversial Calvin Klein campaign, previously telling Vogue that she didn’t realize the ad was sexual in nature at the time.
“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”.