At just 11, Brooke Shields (New York, 57) became a sexual icon after starring in the 1978 film La Pequeña (originally Pretty Baby), in which she played a prostitute where clients offered their money , to see who they lost their virginity to. This was the beginning of a film career that would revolve around the sexualization of her body even as a child. More than four decades later, the actress is starring in a new documentary titled Pretty Baby (and still without a Spanish translation), which will air soon on the Hulu platform but premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last Friday. In it he revealed an episode of rape he experienced when he was 20 and in which he also spoke about the abuse of youth in the Hollywood industry.
It’s the first time Shields has spoken out about what happened, and while she didn’t name the attacker, she did detail what the episode was like, which haunted and embarrassed her for years. It was 1987. After graduating from university, the actress wanted to return to the world of cinema and had dinner with an industrial producer to discuss possible projects. After dinner they returned to the hotel where he was staying and from where he offered to call her a cab home. “I went up to his room and he disappeared,” says the actress now. This man came back into the room a few minutes later, completely naked, and pounced on her: “I was afraid I was going to drown.”
“I haven’t fought much, I haven’t. I’m freezing. A ‘no’ would have been enough, but I just thought: ‘Stay alive and then you’re gone.’ I just shut up and waited,” Shields says of the rape. When it was all over, she left the room, took a cab and cried “all the way” to a friend’s house. At 57 and almost 40 years after that event, Shields admits she took a long time to come to terms with the rape, during which time she blamed herself for the attack: “I thought I somehow sent an inappropriate message. I drank wine, I went into the room… He was confident”.
Years later, the interpreter sent a letter to her rapist to confront what he had done. But he never got an answer: “I told him, ‘You know what? I refuse to be a victim because this is something that happens no matter who you are and no matter if you are ready or not.” She wanted to put everything that had happened out of her mind but said she helped neither her body nor the system, the industry, and she just had to get stronger and try to turn the page on her own over time.Indeed, although she has reported episodes of serious harassment, she has never publicly reported this violation reported.
Still, the actress doesn’t want to just talk about this episode because the documentary isn’t just about her, it’s about the sexualization of youth in the industry. And no one better than Shields to talk about it. She also analyzes the media’s obsession with her virginity, her mother’s alcoholism, and her first marriage to tennis star Andre Agassi, whom she married in April 1997 after four years of dating, only to split just two years later. Two years later he married fellow tennis player Steffi Graf and she married screenwriter Chris Henchy. Both couples are still married.
Shield’s obstinacy about sexualizing adolescents stems from his own. She experienced a provocative nude session at the age of 10. A year later she played a child prostitute in La Pequeña. At the age of 15 he was part of the shooting of the film El lago azul (1980), a film about the sexual maturity and loss of virginity of two young castaways. A year later he starred in Endless Love (1981) by Franco Zeffirelli. However, what shocked the American public the most was undoubtedly the publicity he made alongside Calvin Klein. In it, the young woman advertises jeans with a phrase that has haunted her throughout her adolescence and adult life: “You want to know what stands between me and my Calvins? Nothing at all”.