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Calvin Klein: Brooke Shields and the Controversial Ads
Calvin Klein: Brooke Shields and the Controversial Ads

Calvin Klein: Brooke Shields and the Controversial Ads

In the 1980s, Brooke Shields, a rising star in the entertainment industry, found herself at the center of a media firestorm when she appeared in a series of provocative print and television ads for Calvin Klein jeans. At the tender age of 15, Shields became famous for uttering the flirtatious line, “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” However, the controversial nature of the campaign led to public uproar and even bans in certain countries. In a recent interview, Shields reflected on the scandalous period and shared her perspective on the controversy.

The Innocence of a Young Model

During her interview with Vogue, Shields revealed that she did not perceive the Calvin Klein campaign as sexually suggestive. She explained, “I didn’t think it was about underwear or sexual in nature. What was shocking to me was to be berated by assumptions and accusations that I had deliberate intentions.” Shields, then a naive and protected teenager, found herself caught off guard by the backlash and the way she was scrutinized.

The Backlash

Shield’s innocence did not shield her from the impact of the controversy. While she was away during the initial release of the ads, she soon learned about the bans and the public’s disapproval. The paparazzi and interviewers bombarded her and her mother with questions and accusations. Shield’s recalls the absurdity of the situation, with the paparazzi shouting, “How could you!” Despite the negative attention and condescending interviews, Shields maintained her composure.

Unscathed and Unfazed

Surprisingly, the scandal did not leave a lasting scar on Brooke Shields. She admits that she did not perceive the ads as overtly sexual or feel any negative consequences as a result. Shields acknowledges the protection her naivete provided, allowing her to remain relatively unaffected by the situation. She humorously reflects on the irony that, following the Calvin Klein ad, she gained fame for being a virgin, contrasting the image of her being seen as a calculated “Lolita” type.

A Different Era

Brooke Shields recognizes the significant changes that have occurred in the advertising landscape since the 1980s. While she doubts that similar ads would be accepted in today’s more critical climate, she also acknowledges that the boundaries of what is acceptable have shifted. The hyper-sexualization of young women in advertising has become a subject of criticism and scrutiny. Shields contemplates how her own experience might have played out differently in the present day.


The Calvin Klein ad campaign featuring Brooke Shields at the age of 15 remains an infamous moment in advertising history. Despite the scandal and controversy, Shields, with her youthful innocence, managed to emerge from the ordeal relatively unscathed. Her reflections on the incident serve as a reminder of the evolving perceptions of sexuality in advertising and the importance of protecting young individuals in the industry. Brooke Shields’ experience continues to be a topic of fascination and provides valuable insight into the ever-changing landscape of advertising and its impact on society.