It’s one of the most iconic ad campaigns of all time – and arguably the one responsible for turning a then-17-year-old Kate Moss into a worldwide sensation.
But in a rare new interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs program, the British supermodel, now 48, has revealed that her 1992 Calvin Klein photo shoot – in which she straddled Mark Wahlberg (better known at the time by his rap moniker, Marky Mark) – left her feeling objectified, “vulnerable and scared” .
Shot by the late Herb Ritts, Moss and Wahlberg posed topless for the campaign, wearing Calvin Klein underwear that peeked over the top of their weathered jeans – with the images causing a stir in the early ’90s for the pair’s provocative pose.
Moss, who previously told Vanity Fair that she hated having to press her naked breasts against Wahlberg and called him a “d**khead” in a 2012 interview with Glenn O’Brien, told Desert Island Discs’ host Lauren Laverne that her memories of the shoot itself were “not very good.”
“It was all about him. He had a big entourage – and I was just this tiny model … I was quite young and innocent,” she said, adding that Wahlberg, a “buff guy”, “was very macho”.
“I think they played on my vulnerability… I really didn’t feel well before the shoot. For a week or two I didn’t get out of bed – I had severe anxiety and the doctor gave me Valium.”
Wahlberg himself admitted to Guardian in 2020 that he may have been “rough around the edges” at the time of the shoot.
Told that Moss had had a bad time, the actor said he was “kind of doing my thing.”
“I wasn’t very… worldly, let’s say that,” he said, having previously shamed Moss’s body for looking like his nephew’s.
“But I’ve seen her [since] and said hello. I think we saw each other at a concert here and there, we said hi and exchanged pleasantries.”
Like most of the models who shot to fame in the ’90s, Moss told Laverne her career was one carved from an undeniably toxic culture of misogyny, exploitation and disordered eating.
During the interview, she also opened up about another photo shoot that she fled from when she was only 15, during which she was targeted by a sexual predator who pressured her to remove her bra.
“I had a horrible experience for a bra catalogue,” she said.
“I was only 15 probably and he said, ‘Take your top off,’ and I took my top off. And I was really shy then about my body.
“And then he said, ‘Take your bra off,’ and I could feel there was something wrong so I got my stuff and I ran away. I think it sharpened my instincts.
“I can tell a wrong ‘a mile away.”
Often criticized for promoting the so-called “heroin chic” of the era and glorifying “thinness”, Moss also said she believes she “was a scapegoat for a lot of people’s problems”.
“I was never anorexic. I never have been,” she said.
“I had never taken heroin. I was thin because I didn’t get fed at shoots or in shows and I’d always been thin.”