Brooke Shields is preparing for the release of her new documentary Pretty Baby, which is coming to Hulu on April 3 after an initial release at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on January 20. The title of the documentary was inspired by a 1978 film by the same name, which featured an 11-year-old Shields.
In the 1978 film, Shields plays a 12-year-old girl named Violet, who is raised in a brothel and eventually becomes a child prostitute. She strikes up a relationship with a much older man, who was a photographer at the brothel, and they eventually get married before her parents intervene and convince her to leave.
The new documentary explores the sexual objectification she experienced as a child actor – she was just 11 years old when she appeared nude in the 1978 film – and how the young women of today can avoid a similar experience as they endure the many ‘perils and triumphs of gaining agency in a hostile world.’
Among the many revelations in the Pretty Baby documentary is her personal experience being raped by an industry executive upon graduating college in 1987 – nearly a decade after the Pretty Baby film was released. It occurred at a time when she was ready to return to Hollywood after studying at Princeton.
In her early-20s, Brooke Shields ended up going to dinner with an industry leader – who was unnamed – to discuss possible acting projects. After dinner, he invited her to his hotel room so he could call her a cab. Instead, he took his clothes off and forced himself onto her – she froze and couldn’t fight back.
Those dark details are depicted in the documentary, but they were never discussed with her two children – Rowan Francis, 19, and Grier Hammond, 16. In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Brooke Shields said she got in trouble with her daughters for not warning them about those dark details prior to watching it.
“You know I thought I did [teach them], but there’s a lot in the documentary they did not know about with which I got in trouble with them for because they were mad that I didn’t inform them about everything,” she said in the red carpet interview. “”But needless to say, it opened up some other conversations.”
Brooke Shields Wants to Help Young Women Find Their Own Agency
In her interview with PEOPLE, Brooke Shields explained the importance of helping young women ‘find their own agency as early as possible,’ especially with the rise of social media – something that wasn’t around when she was a teenager and/or young woman. “It’s more dangerous than ever,” she says.
She adds that conversations like the ones she’s now having with her two daughters are really important in achieving that end goal. And it was fitting that she was having the interview on the red carpet of TIME’s Women of the Year Gala in Los Angeles on Wednesday – which fell on International Women’s Day.
“I don’t think there’s anything better than celebrating and uplifting our fellow women than when we’re all in the room doing it at the same time,” she said of the event, which was honoring several nominees – including Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett, Ayisha Siddiqa, Masih Alinejad, Ramla Ali, and more.
Brooke Shields might have some new conversations and dialogue to have with her daughters, but they’re the same conversations and dialogue that every parent should be having with their children. As for the Pretty Baby two-part documentary, fans can watch it on Hulu starting April 3 – less than a month away!
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