For her entire career, Brooke Shields has fought an uphill battle, proving time and again, there’s more to her than meets the eye, even if her “pretty privilege” is all people ever see.

Looking at Brooke Shields today, you think, she may have just won that battle.

At 15 years old, Brooke Shields was on the cover of TIME Magazine honored as the face of the 80s. In 1981, Brooke Shields was celebrated as the most beautiful woman in the world…only she wasn’t a woman.

Brooke Shields on the cover of TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine /

She was a teenager.

Brooke Shields Today: Unveiling Her Life & Achievements

In her brave and beautiful Hulu miniseries documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, the 58-year-old looks back on her career as a child model and unwitting “sex symbol.”

The documentary itself is named after Shield’s first film credit. The controversial film Pretty Baby (1978) by French director, Louis Malle, where Shields plays a child prostitute.

But before there was “Pretty Baby,” there was her Ivory soap advertisement.

At 11 months old, after her mother put her up for the audition, Brooke Shields booked her first baby modeling job (pictured below).

Brooke Shields Ivory Soap Commercial
Ivory Soap

From then on, Brooke Shields was her family’s breadwinner. Her parents split shortly after Shields was born.

Her father, a businessman, favored a more traditional family structure while Brooke’s mother Teri preferred a more bohemian lifestyle.

Brooke’s ability to book job after job, afforded her mother and her a certain kind of lifestyle only Brooke could provide them with.

Looking back now, Brooke Shields clarifies that as a young child, modeling and the entertainment industry were never anything more than the difference between if her family could put food on the table or not.

Becoming the object of older men’s affection was just collateral damage.

Brooke Shields as a baby

However, it’s interesting to note, that Brooke Shield’s rise to fame coincided with the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s.

There’s a compelling theory that the celebrity of Brooke Shields was a middle finger to the Gloria Steinem’s of their day—the retaliation against autonomous adult women. The threat that if un-compliant, unyielding feminism persisted the powers that be would replace these women—with compliant, malleable, little girls.

If this was the hidden agenda, Brooke Shields was the secret weapon.

Brooke Shields Mystery Relationship With Michael Jackson

Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson

At 19 years old, Shields was romantically linked to Michael Jackson — at the height of his career in 1984. The child celebrities reportedly met when Shields was only 13 years old and became fast friends due to their similar upbringing, both their struggles and successes.

Brooke Shields today maintains this was where their relationship ended and that she was never romantically involved with Michael Jackson.

“[Michael and I] were both quite juvenile in some ways and mature in others. We had a bond. Both of us needed to be adults very early, but when we were together, we were two little kids having fun.”

– Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby

Yet even though Shields starred in back-to-back blockbusters, Blue Lagoon and Endless Love, and her magnetic on-screen presence was undeniable, it wasn’t Brooke Shields’s body of work that solidified her “it girl” status.

Shields was the object of envy for teen girls everywhere because of how naturally, undeniably, beautiful she was—and a such a young age. Shields seemed to have miraculously sidestepped the entire awkward stage of puberty.

It was as if she hatched from the egg full-grown.

Brooke Shields Today is just as beautiful as she was.
Getty Images

A twist of fate, an older Brooke Shields today looks back on with mixed feelings.

In her documentary, Shields is careful not to bite the hand that feeds her. She recognizes that her career opportunities came from the “pretty privilege” she had at such a young age.

At the same time, she admits that these opportunities also came with an overt sexualization, she was only half aware of, and even then, a lot of her objectification went over her head—even though the surrounding media pushed the narrative, she knew exactly what she was doing.

Her Most Famous Role Was in “Blue Lagoon”

At 14 years old, Brooke Shields starred in the young adult sensation Blue Lagoon.

Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon

The film was a coming-of-age romance that followed two children, shipwrecked on a beautiful island, as they matured into young adults and fell in love with one another.

During the press coverage of the film, Blue Lagoon Director, Randal Kleiser (of Grease fame) fanned the flame that what audiences were seeing on the silver screen, was the real-life maturation and sexual awakening of Brooke Shields, the actress.

As if Shields was the second coming of Marlon Brando, in a teen girl’s body.

Shields is topless for most of the film, with nothing but her long hair covering her exposed body.

Brooke Shields Today may have not made The Blue Lagoon

While Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly about the sexual awakening of two young adults, against an “innocent” island backdrop away from society—in her documentary, Shields revealed the characters she played who were experiencing a kind of sexual activation, couldn’t be further from the truth of her real life.

While the Endless Love star would play these leading roles, of a young woman who “loses her innocence”, Shields would later admit she was a late bloomer.

In fact, Shields didn’t have her first sexual experience until she was 22 years old.

At the time of shooting Blue Lagoon, and similarly with the film Endless Love—Shields was still very much a child who still thought as a child.

Which is what made her fame and widely-regarded beauty so controversial.

And this very sentiment is what Calvin Klein capitalized on when it quite literally shot Shields to stardom.

Brooke Shields’ impact on the fashion industry

As a model first and foremost, Brooke Shields was no outsider when it came to the in-crowd of the highly exclusive cliques in the fashion industry.

In fact, she was their favorite.

Brooke Shields and Andy Warhol in the 80's
Brooke Shields pictured with Andy Warhol (@brookeshields/Instagram)

Since the young age of 14 years old, Brooke Shields has landed a coveted Vogue Cover spot, a record 14 times.

Comparatively, billionaire influencer Kim Kardashian has only been on the American Vogue cover three times. Kardashian only snagged her first cover at 34 years old, on the condition she appeared with then-husband Kanye West.

Brooke Shields Today and Yesterday
Vanity Fair

But out of the hundreds of magazine covers Brooke Shields was plastered on, her greatest evolution was when Calvin Klein put her genes in his jeans.

In 1981 denim brand Calvin Klein released a series of television commercials and print advertisements starring Brooke Shields that tripled Calvin Klein’s sales overnight.

The ads which featured Shields in a series of suggestive positions, were incredibly controversial and even banned from airing on ABC and CBS.

Shield’s had a two-year contract with Calvin Klein that did not get renewed for the following year…but not for the reason you’d think.

The executives at Calvin Klein told Brooke Shields, that her campaign had been so successful, they had to let her go because she was too good at selling the jeans.

She said Klein told her people were going into stores and asking for the “Brooke Shields jeans,” which defeated the purpose of the ads for his namesake brand

Brooke Shields in Calvin Klein Jeans
Richard Avedon for Calvin Klein / ‘You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.

But the “American sex symbol” would find earning something much more rewarding than a Calvin Klein contract.

After 17 years in the fast-paced fashion industry, with the support from her mother, Brooke Shields would enroll at Princeton University in 1983, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French Literature.

Shields’ personal life and family updates

Looking back Brooke Shields today, reveals how attending Princeton was the first time she was encouraged and rewarded for thinking independently.

These lessons carried over into the many changing seasons of her life, as the Blue Lagoon Star grappled to return to her career after four years away from the spotlight.

Brooke Shields Today talks the importance of attending Princeton
Hulu / Pretty Baby

The entertainment industry is a fickle place, and Shields discovered the world wasn’t waiting for her with bated breath when she returned.

Shields recalls the pendulum swing and the romantic relationships she leaned on to make it through.

In 1996 after a series of box office misses, Shields landed her own sitcom Suddenly Susan. Shields played the title character, Susan Keane, a beautiful magazine writer whose weekly column, “Suddenly Susan,” reflects her struggles as a single woman in San Francisco after abruptly leaving her fiancee at the altar. 

The following year Shields married the number one tennis player in the world at the time, Andre Agassi, though their relationship did not last long, with Agassi growing more jealous with Brooke Shield’s career resurgence, in the wake of Suddenly Susan.

The couple split in 1999 with Brooke Shields meeting and quickly falling for screenwriter and producer Chris Henchy.

Henchy and Shields tied the knot in 2001 and Brooke Shields was thrilled when she learned she was pregnant.

In a devastating turn of events, which Shields chronicles in her memoir And Then The Rain Came Down, Shield opens up about the loss of her first child and struggled to get pregnant again.

Brooke Shields Today: Vogue Cover Pregnant

After several failed rounds of IVF, at 36 years old, Brooke Shields finally got pregnant with her eldest daughter Rowan Henchy in 2003.

The actress and model was also celebrated for her groundbreaking confession of her struggle with post-partum depression after the birth of her daughter Rowan, which was famously lambasted by Tom Cruise.

With a little bit of love and support, Brooke Shields, who had always dreamed of being a mother since she was a little girl, was able to grow from her battles with post-partum depression.

Brooke Shields Today

In 2006, The Shields-Henchy family grew, when the couple welcomed their second daughter, Grier Henchy.

Two decades later and the happy couple are still together.

They live a modest, private life in the West Village, a far cry from the world Shields grew up in.

Brooke Shields tries to shield her daughters from the chaos and drama…or at least as much as she can!

She and her family caught Norovirus

It seems “the cruise ship virus” Norovirus is taking the world by…stomach?

The ever-relatable Brooke Shields, made fans check their temperatures when she recently took to Instagram to share how sometimes, things aren’t always what they seem!

While Shields and husband Chris Henchey’s smiles say “paradise” her caption tells a different story!

Brooke Shields’ latest project “Beginning Is Now”

After 57 years in the industry, Brooke Shields today is doing what she does best: standing up for what she believes in after her voice was shut down for so long.

Brooke Shields Today

“I was always afraid of my opinion or thought I was going to be wrong. It’s your opinion — it’s your prerogative — and I was never really granted my prerogative until I went to college. And it was just intellectual then.”

– Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields today has a few upcoming ventures. The one she is most proud of is Beginning is Now.

Shields describes it as a “growing, global community of women, over 40, learning to live our fullest lives—on our own terms.”

The company’s mission is to open an honest dialogue, with women from all walks of life.

Nothing is off-limits, and best-kept secrets aren’t secrets here. We celebrate successes and embrace failures because both lead to new beginnings.
Now, let’s shift old perspectives and move forward, with real connections, stories that ignite us, and essential products. Let’s find the infinite potential in who we are. Let’s try something new. And let’s do it together.

– Beginning is Now

Brooke Shields has been called the most beautiful woman in the world, and as far as she’s concerned, that feeling should be a right, not a privilege.

Brooke Shields Today
Calvin Klein