Brooke Shields recently opened up about why she changed her mind about giving her 17-year-old daughter, Grier, the green light to pursue a career in runway modelling.


Despite a lifelong career as a model and actress, Brooke stayed more on the print side and never fell into the runway category. But to this day, she remains fully aware of just how tough it can be – which she says was part of her initial apprehension.

“I fought it for so long. It’s such a different industry now than it was. She’s interested in runway. And that’s brutal and backstage is just brutal,” she said during an appearance on Live With Kelly and Mark. She went on to say she didn’t think she, herself, would have been able to handle it. 

But with her daughter wanting to carve out her own path, Brooke decided to give Grier her blessing – but only with certain parameters in place.

“I finally had to give in and say if you’re gonna do this... I’m not gonna be your manager,” she explained. “You're going to be with an agency. You’re going to have a great work ethic. It’s not going to be comfortable and you're gonna listen to me,” Shields explained, adding that Grier would still have to go to school.


Brooke was famously managed by her mom, Teri, from the time that she booked her first ad for Ivory soap at 11 months old through to when Brooke was in her twenties. 

“We were glued at the hip, which probably was how I could survive because you couldn’t get to me. She was such a mama bear and so protective. On the one hand I was very naive and on the other I was just thrown into this crazy world,” she said on the show. 

Despite often speaking fondly of her mom in interviews both before and after her death in 2012, she’s admitted there were aspects of dysfunction in their relationship. Teri has been accused of exploiting her daughter and taking advantage of her beauty. These accusations heightened as Teri’s alcoholism became more apparent, which made Brooke feel the pressure to protect her mom. 

"It's so innate when you're an only child of a single mother," Brooke said in an interview earlier this year. "All you want to do is love your parent and keep them alive forever, and so I wanted to protect her. And by virtue of protecting her, I was justifying everything, and that solidified that bond between us."


It’s likely that the reason she refuses to be her own daughter’s manager stems from the complications and dysfunction that came with her relationship with her mom. She knows the value of having a professional, objective manager whose job it is to protect Grier and help advance her career.

Much like we’ve seen with other celebrities like Drew Barrymore, Tori Spelling and Jennette McCurdy, Brooke’s mom proved unable to protect her from a lot of the terrors of childhood fame, which she explores in the 2023 documentary, Brooke Shields:Pretty Baby. In the documentary, she described being sexualized as a young girl and also described being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood executive during her younger years in the industry. 

"Doing the documentary, you see it all together, and it's a miracle that I survived," she told PEOPLE. "It's taken me a long time to process it…I'm more angry now than I was able to be then. If you're afraid, you're rightfully so. They are scary situations. They don't have to be violent to be scary."


There’s no doubt that all of this caused her to feel that initial apprehension about Grier pursuing a runway modelling career in the first place. But thanks to Brooke’s parenting, and her emphasis on being real and honest about the things that happened to her in her own career, her daughters have a wealth of knowledge, confidence and a willingness to speak out about injustices, as we saw in the two-part documentary. That anger that she described feeling has seemingly been inherited by her daughters, who seem determined to ensure that circumstances change for women. 

“The thing that they really, really hooked into was how difficult the journalists were with me as a young person. Nobody complained about that, nobody wrote about that,” she told Kelly and Mark. “They only wrote about subject matters in fake films. In movies that weren’t my real life. But the way they hammered at me. My daughters took real offence to that.”


In much of what Brooke is saying – there seems to be power in anger. The idea that she’s “more angry now than she was able to be then” is an incredibly powerful sentiment, especially as it pertains to Grier entering into an industry where she will have to deal with much of what her mom did. Because of that anger, both from her mom and from her and her sister for what Brooke had to endure, you can bet that Grier will be hypervigilant, looking out for people who may be looking to take advantage of her. She’ll feel more empowered to push back on journalists when she feels the need to. Most importantly, though, she has the luxury of being able to consult her mother, a seasoned and well-respected professional in the industry, when she feels like she could use some guidance on something.

People look at nepotism and nepo babies and automatically assume that the benefits of being born into money or fame lie within the connections you have access to or the resources you have access to, in this case, to pay an agency to manage you. But the way that we see nepotism functioning in this case is also really about protection and guidance. And I’d argue that those two things are way less about nepotism and a lot more about a mother’s love.