Looks aren't Everything

I'd never heard of Ted Talks before but it's an organization committed to spreading ideas worth talking about.  I came across this Ted Talk video and as a former sort of model myself I found it to be very insightful. Cameron Russell has been a successful high fashion model for the last 10 years.  According to her she became a model by winning a genetic lottery and is the recipient of a centuries old legacy that has defined beauty as pretty, tall, slender and white.  This legacy was designed for her and as a model she cashes in on it.  She compares saying that you want to grow up to be a model to saying you want to grow up to win Power ball.  Whether or not you do it is not something you can necessarily control and it's not a career path.  When little girls tell her that they want to be a model she asks, "Why do you want to be a model when there are so many other things you can be?"

My take away from her talk is this.  Model images are fabricated by a team of experts.  Models are not that glossy airbrushed picture that you see in the magazines.  A picture of her at a slumber party looking like any other laughing teenage girl side by side with a retouched picture of her as a sultry sex pot tells the story because both pictures were taken on the same day and yet she looks totally different.  There is nothing extraordinary about her just because she is a model.  As a model she's not in charge of anything nor has she done anything special to be one.  Society decided what was beautiful, she fit the description so she gets to be a high fashion model.  If you don't fit into that narrowly defined definition of beauty then so what.  It's subjective and made up anyways and there are so many other amazing things to be in this world.

Those Victoria's Secret models that give my self esteem a beating when I watch the fashion show truly are genetic freaks of nature.  I've always said that! I will never look that way.  I wasn't born to look that way.  We live in such a celebrity obsessed beauty driven culture.  It's so easy to get caught up in all of that and feel down about yourself when you can't measure up to those impossible images of perfection.  I think this is a really powerful message to send especially coming from a model who literally is that standard that so many want to be.  It's totally superficial but looks do matter.  The way we look may impact our life but we have to remember that looks aren't everything.  We're all different.  Not everyone can be a Victoria's Secret model.  That's a good thing and I have to keep reminding myself of that.


Carla said...

I've recently discovered Ted when I downloaded Google Currents and my app market suggested downloading the Ted app. I absolutely love it!

A lot of people still don't understand this. And sadly, even though a model is speaking this truth, some people STILL won't believe it.

Rachel said...

this was an amazing talk, thank you for posting it. I love that Cameron is so honest. it really puts things into perspective when you realize that even supermodels have insecurities and are unhappy. good looks do not equal having a good life.

Law_Fal said...

Wow. Very true & very real.

Ali of Dressing Ken said...

Yes it can be challenging to find models of color when I am doing my photo research for the blog. I am aware of this and go out of my way to look but it is TOUGH. But it is getting better. Lucky Magazine posted an article in their forum that last fashion week had the highest amount of models of color, but still a far cry. If you check out my twitter feed I think I may have posted the tweet.

Ali of:


Janna Renee said...

I'm just happy that my hubby thinks I'm sexy! I'm waaay to short to be a legit model, so I would never even try. I'll take the money when they pay me for little jobs and promos, but even then I get surprised that it's that easy. However, it is not that easy to be a VS model or something serious. I think you could, though! You look like a professional model to me!

Kim Jackson said...

TED talks are absolutely phenomenally inspiring. Check out Elizabeth Gilbert's (author of Eat. Pray. Love.) and Gala Darling's (she's a blogger who spreads all kinds of radical messages of all kinds of self love and sparkliness).


toi said...

can't wait to watch this video. i love what TED is doing to spread a different point of view