Jump directly to the content
Preach On, Victoria's Secret Model
Preach On, Victoria's Secret Model

Preach On, Victoria's Secret Model


Jan 29 2013
She's pretty, privileged, and not afraid to admit it.

Cameron Russell's TEDx talk went viral a couple of weeks back, as viewers clamored to share a Victoria's Secret model's frank discussion on fakeness or "construction" of images with their daughters (and sons).

Certainly I want my kids to hear this message, but that's not why I came away so impressed with Cameron Russell. I'd spent college summers interning at a catalog company and seen what she was referring to up close and personal. I had been there for the transformation that took place at a photo shoot. I had learned the magic of Photoshop. I've not been under any illusions about the "beauty industry" for a long time.

What impressed me about Cameron Russell was her ownership of the very thing that made her a success.

"For the past two 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 and femininity and white skin," said Russell, a 5-foot-10 brunette with a face like Cindy Crawford's. "And this is a legacy that was built for me. And this is a legacy that I've been cashing out on."

That is not something you hear folks claim every day. Not many of us are willing to cop to the various legacies built for us—especially those we've been "cashing out on."

Clearly I wasn't the only one struck by this. While a guest on Soledad O'Brien's Starting Point, Russell says simply she believes we should be talking about the "uncomfortable and complicated" topic of privilege and that she is well-qualified to speak to it.

To illustrate, Russell turns across the table to Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, and says: "You're a senator, and you're a white man. I'm sure you had to work really hard to get there. And that means that it's very complicated to figure out and unpack the role of privilege. But for me, it's so easy. I'm here. I'm successful because I'm pretty. It's easy to tell that story. Because it's honest and it's obvious."

Indeed it is. But no sooner does Russell say this than does she face pushback—CNN contributor Ryan Lizza wants her to credit her own worth ethic as a model. In asking this question, in pushing her to attribute her success to hard work (which Russell insists accounts for just "2 percent" of what's she's achieved), Lizza further proves Russell's point.

Related Topics:Beauty; Body Image; Pride

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Slammed in the Spirit

Slammed in the Spirit

Hope for a Christian blogosphere that focuses more on God than each other.
Ian and Larissa Murphy: Trusting God through Traumatic Brain Injury

Ian and Larissa Murphy: Trusting God through Traumatic Brain Injury

A viral video made their marriage famous, and now, their story continues.
Diversity in the Dorm Room

Diversity in the Dorm Room

How college roommates teach us about race, culture, and ourselves.
The Heart of the Gendercide Problem

The Heart of the Gendercide Problem

What the church can do to address the issues underlying global violence against women.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Forgiving My Pastor, Mark Driscoll

As God rebuilds, I see Mars Hill shift its focus to love.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Preach On, Victoria's Secret Model