Brooke Shields takes her daughters’ privacy and safety very seriously. In a podcast appearance, the model and actor spoke with Ali Wentworth about shielding her teenagers from the dangers of social media. Go Ask Ali is the first episode of the series and it’s a sensational one!
On the podcast, Shields discusses raising two girls, Grier Hammond, 14, and Rowan Francis, 17, and reveals that she and husband Chris Henchy “have access to all of their social media.”
Shields describes, in detail, the elaborate measures she’s taken to keep her children safe online.
“We have the power to turn it off for any reason. I can’t follow her,” explains Shields of daughter Rowan. “I have to follow her through another account just for security reasons. One of them is public and one of them is private.”
“At 16, we said, ‘As long as we can still have control over it and as long as you don’t post anything inappropriate, we will let you,'” the mom of two says. “Now that she’s in high school, her friend group has really opened up. We have it monitored all the time.”
Shields trusts that she sufficiently warned Rowan about online dangers, explaining “We have put the fear of God into them with regards to, ‘Whatever you post doesn’t go away. The words you choose have to be chosen very carefully.'”
“They’re starting to get it a little bit [Shields pauses] as long as I can keep a little fear in them,” she adds.
The actor describes how “hard” it is to talk about intimacy with her children, saying she had a “very strange relationship with sexuality as a child.”
“I’m dealing with this right now with one of my daughters,” Shields tells Wentworth. “There’s an agency that wants her to start modeling and I kept saying, ‘I need to understand the why.’ It’s a very different industry than it is now. This man said to me, ‘She’s too young. She’s 14. We wait until 16, signing them and taking care of them.'”
“The odd thing for me, I was 9, 8, 7. I was doing these pictures forever, yet I do Pretty Baby and all of a sudden I become the most famous virgin in the world,” she recalls of the 1978 film in which she portrayed a child sex worker. “I grew up with absolutely the most conflicting, paradoxical way of living. I just shut down.”
Shields reveals that it “wasn’t liberating” to play certain roles in her youth, because she “was so ashamed of everything growing up,” including her appearance.
“It wasn’t liberating for me,” Shields says of playing certain roles.
“I didn’t have big boobs. I thought my butt was big. There was [sic] all these weird messages that I was getting that were so contradictory,” she admits. “I wanted to hide. Even if I were to play a role, it wasn’t liberating for me.”
Shields also elaborates on how she’s approached self-worth with her daughters saying, “There’s a part of me that looks at the girls [and thinks], ‘They’re proud of their bodies.’ I don’t want them to lose that. I don’t want them to have shame [about] their bodies, but I want there to be enough fear.”
Wentworth, who shares daughters Harper Andrea, 15, and Elliott Anastasia, 17, with husband George Stephanopoulos, explains why she launched her podcast saying she “really wanted to do something that I was truly interested in and something I really wanted to talk about.”
“I thought, ‘I’d be really interested to know how you grow a teenager in a pandemic.’ It started from there.”
“It’s hard enough to raise a teenager, but in a pandemic, this is the time where most kids want to be away from their parents. Just how their physical emotional life changes in this time,” Wentworth continues. “There’s a lot going on in the world. I can see it with my own kids. It’s having a huge effect on them. It’s an interesting area to explore and seemed very timely.”
“The second part of the season will be a little funnier, which is how to have a relationship in a pandemic. You have to change the parameters a little bit. These are areas that I find very interesting and fun to explore,” she adds. “I hope when people listen they not only find it interesting and somewhat entertaining, but I hope there will be a few things that they’ll hear and really take in and that they’ll repeat to other people.”
It was excellent to hear these two mothers of teenagers discuss the difficulties of raising them and how they’ve been compounded by the pandemic. We’re also proud of Shields for bravely discussing her past and how it’s helped inform her current role as a parent. Be sure to check out the full discussion of Go Ask Ali to hear even more about it.