Brooke Shields Takes Charge of Her Story in ‘Pretty Baby’

Brooke Shields has been known as beautiful, smart, and famous since she was a baby, but a new documentary reveals why it’s taken decades for her to feel confident in her talent.

“Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” is a firsthand examination of her success as a model, actor, author, and now lifestyle entrepreneur, despite being s*xualized and objectified at a young age and managing her alcoholic mother — the original “momager,” Teri Shields — with a dazzling array of archival photos and footage, and in-depth interviews with Shields.

Like other recent documentaries on Britney Spears and Pamela Anderson, “Pretty Baby” includes a cringeworthy barrage of media clips where mostly older men reduce her to a pretty face and have little interest in her answers to their questions. The film, which drops in two parts on Hulu on Monday, looks back at how women were treated in the 1980s and 1990s — including Shields revealing she was the victim of a s*xual assault by a Hollywood executive after she graduated college.

Shields spoke to The Associated Press recently about what she learned from the project, how she overcame being shamed for her personal choices and gained confidence, and how she sees her future.

Brooke Shields Takes Charge of Her Story

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

AP: In the series, you say, “I’m owning my identity fully.” What did you mean?

SHIELDS: I was concerned about the #MeToo movement simply because I didn’t want it to be reduced to a headline. But I knew that if I didn’t, I’d feel like a hypocrite or inauthentic. I hadn’t been able to speak about it until now, and it felt like you owed it to yourself. And I just hoped that out of two hours and however many minutes, the one brief story — I mean, I knew it was going to be clickbait — I wouldn’t be let down by the press again.


AP: It sounds like compartmentalizing was a survival technique for you.

SHIELDS: I believe that happens with an alcoholic’s child. You do learn to categorize, you know. You care about someone who is broken and suffering from a condition they can’t manage to control. Yet you can’t afford for their love to be fake. So you learn when things feel…out of control… I’d get orderly, and it became my center, my meditation, redoing my Filofax or refolding my socks.

AP: You recently started a company to celebrate women’s lives after 40. Why is that important to you?

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