It’s been 41 years since then-15-year-old celebrity TV presenter Barbara Walters asked Brooke Shields about her body measurements on national television. Shields, now 57, reflected on what she called the “fiasco” on “The Drew Barrymore Show” on Tuesday.
“She asked me for my measurements and told me to stand,” Shields told Barrymore, per Page Six. “She stood, and she was likening herself to this little girl. And I thought, This isn’t true. I don’t understand what this is. But I acted up and just smiled.”
Shields added that she “felt benefited in many ways” during the controversial 1981 sit-in. Then she became a child model, and she’s already become a movie star with roles in ‘Pretty Baby’ and ‘The Blue Lagoon’. She appeared in an advertisement for Calvin Klein’s racy jeans shortly before the chat.
Barrymore, a former starlet who suffered similarly confusing situations, sympathized with Shields and reflected it in her uncomfortable interview with Walters – who in 1997 asked Barrymore about her childhood experiences as a rising Hollywood star.
“She was like, ‘Talk to me about drugs and alcohol, talk to me about your mother, talk to me about bisexuality, talk to me about everything,'” Barrymore told Shields. “And I kept saying, ‘You know, Barbara, I’m doing really well,'” It was five, six, seven times.”
Barrymore added that she had nothing but respect for Walters and never thought of her “in a negative light” – which Shields said she “completely” agreed with.
Walters’ reps did not respond to Page Six’s request for comment.
Shields has spoken about her bad feelings about the interview before. Last year, the session was described as “practically criminal” and “not journalism” on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. She said she felt pulled in two directions, between a media that “can’t tell” whether she was a “sexed tigress” or a child being “exploited”.
However, Shields never stopped moving forward. She founded the “Beginning is Now” fashion line and community of women over 40, and most recently modeled for Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand, along with Juliette Lewis and Chelsea Handler.
“I felt like I was in a train wreck by the end of it, but it was such an honor,” Shields told People of the bra. “There was a piece of humanity in it that probably shocked me more than the fact that I ever had the guts to wear underwear after such a few years.”