It’s hard to overstate the cultural impact of Brooke Shields in the 1980s. A new documentary examines the model and actor’s childhood and adolescence and the cultural forces behind her meteoric rise to fame.
Shields’ mother Teri was one of the original momagers, guiding her daughter into modeling at a very early age. Shields starred in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby as an 11-year-old (!) sold into prostitution. She then went on to appear in two huge hits: the 1980 castaway drama Blue Lagoon:
And the 1981 teen melodrama Endless Love:
But what really put her on the map were her ads for Calvin Klein jeans. Several of the TV ads were banned for being too suggestive. Shields has since talked about the complexities of being presented as an object of desire at such a young age.
The documentary begins with a survey of Shields’ career and impact, then gives her space to talk about how it impacted her then and now. Director Lana Wilson told Vanity Fair:
“I saw this little girl basically on the hot seat being grilled by these talk show hosts who would first praise her for her beauty and her sensuality and her maturity, but then also would criticize her for being an exhibitionist…I thought, This is a situation that a lot of women and girls still have to navigate, and often privately. But here’s Brooke Shields at age 12, having to deal with all this publicly. I just had this moment of feeling like this is incredibly contemporary.”
Image: YouTube / ABC News