Superstar Brooke Shields began her career at just 11 months old when she appeared in an ad for soap. Moving on to the silver screen and top modeling gigs including her iconic Calvin Klein campaign, Shields reflected on how she became known as a myriad of different personas throughout her decades in the limelight.
Brooke Shields starred in a controversial film at a young age
Shields was basically the breadwinner growing up after her parents divorced when she was only five months old. Her mom, Teri, was a notorious “momager” and allowed Shields to pose in Playboy at the age of 10 and appear in the 1978 film Pretty Baby as a child prostitute when she was 11. Though Teri received sharp backlash for those decisions, Shields is now more focused on how times have changed.
“It was a different era,” she told The Guardian. “I just don’t know if you could make that movie today. I guess you’d have to have an actress who was older, playing younger. I’m not quite sure what the rules are now… But I also wasn’t personally scathed by it.”
The former model explained that her upbringing in New York exposed her to much of the film’s subject matter prior to landing the role. Shields noted that she was able to separate fact from fiction when playing the part.
“I mean, it just takes five minutes to see – on the old 42nd Street – what prostitution was,” she remarked. “And also I was very sequestered from all of it in my real life. I was a virgin till I was 22, so it was all pretend in my mind. I was an actress – I didn’t suffer privately about it.”
Brooke Shields said her job ‘paid the bills’
Shields was quick to point out that while her mom allowed her to be cast in provocative roles in films like The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love, Teri could also be very protective of her. The former Broadway star emphasized that she enjoyed her life in the spotlight, even at a young age.
“She had this baby that looked this way, and that’s how we survived,” Shields said of her mom. “My looking a certain way paid the bills. I just loved the approval. And I loved working and I loved being on a set. We had fun, we traveled everywhere. So it wasn’t as if I felt the responsibility as much as, ‘Oh my God, we get to get a car. Oh, we bought a house’. … That’s the way it went for decades. As long as I was happy, we kept doing it. I never did something I didn’t want to do.”
Shields’ career evolved into more film appearances, modeling gigs, roles on Broadway, her own sitcom Suddenly Susan, and attending Princeton University. Now the mom of daughters Rowan, 18, and Grier, 15, she acknowledged the many labels she’s been given over the years with the most recent one being from her 2005 book “Down Came the Rain”.
“My image went through so many different machinations,” Shields revealed. “I mean, it was like, I was the Lolita, then I was the most famous virgin. Whatever anybody wanted to label me as, they did. Now I’m the depression person, because I spoke about postpartum depression.”
‘A Castle for Christmas’ is Brooke Shields’ new Netflix film
Shields is now promoting her new holiday rom-com A Castle for Christmas, where she plays author Sophie Brown who travels to Scotland amidst a troubled divorce. The Netflix film’s focus on self-discovery and independence drew Shields to the project.
“I was just so attracted to how strong this woman was,” Shields said. “She’s a great mom, has a full career and yet she’s asking herself: ‘What now?’ ‘What’s going to happen next?’”
A Castle for Christmas is now streaming on Netflix.
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