Victoria Secret Model, Cameron Russell, challenges society’s narrow definition of beauty and its power in perceived success and failure.
“Image is powerful. But also, image is superficial.”
On a darkened TEDxMidAtlantic stage in D.C., a 25-year-old, 5″10 fashion model presented to a skeptical audience sporting a clingy, black mini-dress.
“I feel like there is an uncomfortable tension in the room right now, because I should not have worn this dress.” The model’s tanned and toned long arm reaches towards a knee length wrap-skirt and ties it around her 23-inch waist. Then she pulls a plain dark cardigan over her lusciously-long brunette locks.
Imagine one magician’s smoke bomb then…POOF! The air clears to reveal the once siren to a more approachable woman — Ms. Cameron Russell. A person many can identify with and a fearless female with an inspiring voice.
“I’m quite privileged to be able transform what you think of me in a very brief ten seconds — not everybody gets to do that.” To girls aspiring to attain the ideal beauty, she urges them to aim higher. She equates her success in the world of modeling to winning the genetic lottery — it’s unattainable for most and hardly a reasonable goal.
The media is calling her 9-minute speech “controversial.” I say, it’s about damned time the media aired a reasonable voice. Watch…
Hallelujah that Russell realizes she is so, so, so much more than the sum of her parts. Attention should be payed to this empowering message not because she is beautiful AND smart. No, that doesn’t give her brownie points or give more power to her words. Her words are valuable because they are TRUE.
While concluding her talk on society’s oppressive obsession with beauty, Russell ends with: “I hope we all feel more comfortable acknowledging the power of image in our perceived successes and our perceived failures.” Amen, Russell. Here’s to hoping individuals will aspire to be the best they can be and not just the best looking.