I can’t take credit for discovering this video of a model’s TED talk, which recently took place at TED Mid-Atlantic. It was actually something I found on The Cut earlier today and I was so taken by it, and all that was said, that I had to share it with you in the hopes that you will watch and really listen.
There is so much to take in here as model Cameron Russell speaks to the crowd at TED. She starts with one of the most profound messages right from the word go as she steps onto stage wearing a skintight dress and does a quick “deck change” into something entirely different, which she notes will change our perception of her as a person. She is addressing the “power of image” and as we all know too well in this world, image does sometimes appear to be absolutely everything. Who am I kidding? Image truly is everything. That’s the reason Britain has a £21 billion fashion industry. It’s the reason women spend countless hours and mucho money making sure that every wrinkle is erased and every piece of clothing is perfectly paired. We are a society that is obsessed with how we look.
Now let me first say I am certainly not calling us all out on that. This is, after all, a fashion blog and I am wholeheartedly obsessed with image and always have been. But I do draw the line and I do happen to think it’s a pretty healthy one. Cameron Russell talks about winning a genetic lottery with her looks and she is correct in saying that. She is bloody gorgeous. However, these days it isn’t enough to be born and live the way you are, for those of us that didn’t win the lottery. Now we can all spend hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to look just like this genetic lottery winner, when it was us that put her up their on the beauty pedestal in the first place.
So where does the cycle end? I’m afraid to say it doesn’t. We will continue to idolise and worship at the feet of perfectly shaped and immaculately dressed women. There is truly no end in site for this. However, the importance of this piece is in sharing with one another the reality of the situation and model Cameron Russell tells a truly intelligent tale with her TED talk. One of my favourite moments of the talk was when Cameron shared pictures on photo shoots versus personal shots taken in normal life around the same time period. It is quite honestly amazing to see the transformation that she has laid out. I’ll sum it up with Cameron Russell’s perfect description – “These pictures are not pictures of me. These are constructions.” Amen, sister.