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 ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more