September 17, 2021 8:15:06 am
In this Mid Atlantic series TED Talk, model Cameron Russell claims she has won a genetic lottery since she is everything a stereotypical ‘good looking’ woman in the United States is. She is tall, pretty, and an underwear model.
But the words Russell uses to describe the fashion industry that had her looking seductive at 16, are shocking. She enraptures her audience by strolling onto the stage in a bodycon black dress, looking every bit the professional model who has modelled for many a fashion brands in the past. She does, however, something radical: puts on a wrap-around skirt, wears a fairly average-looking sweater, and changes into flats.
She tries to prove that she can alter our opinion of her in a mere six seconds. “How we look — though it is superficial and immutable — has a huge impact on our lives.”
Russell begins to answer a series of questions that she is frequently asked, such as how she became a model and so on. She admits she always answers by saying that she was scouted, but that isn’t the true depiction of it. “The real way I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am a recipient of a legacy. For the past few centuries, we have defined beauty not just as health and youth and symmetry that we’re biologically programmed to admire, but also as tall, slender figures with femininity and white skin. This is a legacy that was built for me, and that I’ve been cashing in on.”
She attempts to make two powerful statements. Firstly, young girls who envision becoming models must consider the profession to be akin to winning ‘Powerball’, something purely based on luck and not a concrete long-term plan. She attempts to break the stereotype that if you have skinnier thighs or shinier hair, you could be happier. She says most models, despite their skinny legs, shiny hair, and fancy clothes, are most insecure and vulnerable since they are in a career in which their appearance matters at all times.