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Kate Moss Says She ‘Couldn’t Get Out of Bed’ for Weeks After Provocative Calvin Klein Ad Campaign

Photo Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images
Photo Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images

Supermodel Kate Moss has reflected on one of the most famous photoshoots she was ever involved in, the infamous 1992 Calvin Klein campaign, and revealed that it wasn’t the easiest thing for her to do. Just starting out in the modeling industry, Moss struggled with what the photographers were asking her to do. It ended up having a big effect on her and ultimately deteriorated her mental health.

The iconic shoot featured Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg

Kate Moss sits in front of a Calvin Klein poster in 1994
British fashion model Kate Moss attends an in-store appearance at the Calvin Klein boutique at Macy’s, New York, New York, May 11, 1994. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Calvin Klein ran a campaign in 1992 that featured 17-year-old Moss alongside 21-year-old Mark Wahlberg. The results saw Moss straddling Wahlberg while both were topless. In some photos, Moss has her chest pressed against Wahlberg as he rests his face on her breasts.

The Calvin Klein underwear appears to be an afterthought of the provocative photoshoot, as both models wore jeans with the waistband of the brand’s undergarments peeking out. While the photoshoot was rather controversial, it shot Moss to the top of the modeling world. However, she has admitted that she had to pay a pretty high cost for the campaign’s success – her mental health.

Moss was extremely anxious before the shoot

Headshot of Kate Moss looking off into the distance.
English model Kate Moss photographed backstage at a fashion show in the early 1990s. (Photo Credit: Panorama / Avalon / Getty Images)

Previously, Moss explained in an interview how the time leading up to the shoot was very difficult for her. “I really didn’t feel well at all before the shoot. For like, a week or two, I couldn’t get out of bed,” she said. “I had a nervous breakdown… when I had to go and work with Marky Mark and Herb Ritts. It didn’t feel like me at all.”

Describing how she felt at the time, she said that being forced to pose topless made her feel “vulnerable and scared,” and left her feeling utterly objectified. “I think they played on my vulnerability,” she said. “I was quite young and innocent, so Calvin loved that.”

Moss’s memories of the photoshoot are “not very good,” as she explained, “I felt really bad about straddling this buff guy. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I thought I was going to die.” To help with her anxiety, her doctor prescribed her Valium, but photographer Francesca Sorrenti stopped her from taking it.

Of the whole experience, Moss said, “I didn’t like it. But it was work, and I had to do it.”

Wahlberg didn’t do much to soothe her anxieties

Mark Wahlberg topless in jeans, Kate Moss standing beside him.
Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg at the Saks Fifth Avenue Store in Hollywood, California. (Photo Credit: Barry King / WireImage / Getty Images)

At the time, Moss didn’t particularly like Wahlberg, which definitely made things even more difficult for her. “He was very macho, and it was all about him. He had a big entourage. I was just this kind of model,” she explained.

By that point, Wahlberg had already had a reputation as a bad boy, having had multiple run-ins with the law. When it came time to the shoot, he later admitted, “I think I was probably a little rough around the edges. Kind of doing my thing. I wasn’t very … worldly, let’s say that.”

Since then, Wahlberg said that the two have mended things. “I’ve seen her and said hello. I think we saw each other at a concert here and there, we said hi and exchanged pleasantries,” he explained. However, that doesn’t make up for how uncomfortable Moss was at the photoshoot.

“I see a 16-year-old now, and to ask her to take her clothes off would feel really weird,” she explained. “But they were like, ‘If you don’t do it, then we’re not going to book you again.’ So I’d lock myself in the toilet and cry and then come out and do it. I never felt very comfortable about it.”

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Calvin Klein himself has commented on the events that day, admitting, “It didn’t go too well. [Kate] didn’t like [Mark] at all. I have worked with so many women, great ones, and Kate was always difficult.” However, he said that Wahlberg that day was “a pleasure” to work with.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!