Swimwear Model Cameron Russell On Winning the Genetic Lottery
By Eva Keane
Many of you understand what it is like to exist outside of Western beauty norms. As a tall, thin, dark-skinned woman, I exist outside the beauty ideal of my own community, yet along the fringe of what is considered acceptable in larger society.
In this short, straight forward video Ms. Russell discusses the realities of how beauty and fashion images are manipulated and manufactured and very young girls are sexualized. First, if one seeks to be a model, you should be white. Beauty in western culture is defined by whiteness. It is noted that of the recent seasons runway shows with all models counted, 92% were white. If you are not white or fair, you’re chances of being a model and supporting yourself from your income are slim. (pun intended). The reason most of us know the names Joan Smalls, Naomi Campbell, Chanel Iman, Jordan Dunn, Liya Kedede and Alek Wek is becasue these are often the ONLY black or brown women hired out of hundreds of models each season.
Overall, these narrowly defined beauty ideals harm all of us as women. It is interesting to hear challenges to the fashion and beauty industry put forth by one of their own, a woman who is not only beautiful but insightful and willing to question the industry that celebrates her. In other forums Cameron has spoken passionately about promoting “Ideals that are unattainable”.
According to a recent LA Times article, the average American woman is a size 14 and weighs 160 lbs. Most fashion models working today are size 0 – 2, data on weight is generally not recorded.
At a recent TED Talks: Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don’t judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16-years-old.
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