Victoria’s Secret angel Cameron Russell has spoken out about society’s unrealistic pressure to be beautiful, discouraging women from becoming models and declaring “Victoria’s Secret models are the most insecure in the world”.
The 26-year-old American spoke at a TEDx seminar back in January but the full impact of her honest and eye-opening speech is only now gaining momentum, with over 2.4 million people watching her presentation on the TEDx site and a further 1.5 million tuning into the YouTube version.
Despite having worked for the likes of Armani, Vogue and Calvin Klein, Cameron has spoken out about society’s obsession with a certain body type and look and says the perceived ideal certainly doesn’t guarantee you happiness.
“I’ve received all of these benefits from a deck stacked in my favour and it doesn’t always make me happy,” she said.
The 178cm model begins her speech with a demonstration of how easy it is to judge based on superficial information. She walks on stage in heels and a short black dress before changing into a long, loose skirt, flats and a sweater and stating, “Image is powerful but also, image is superficial.
“I just totally transformed what you thought of me in six seconds”.
Russell structured her talk by answering some commonly asked questions about why and how she became a model and was quick to dismiss the hype.
“The real way I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery,” she explained.
“[Models] say, ‘It’s really amazing to travel. And it’s amazing to get to work with creative, inspired, passionate people,’ and those things are true, but it’s only one half of the story because there are things that we never say on camera."
“The thing that I have never said on camera is, I am insecure. And I am insecure because I have to think about what I look like every day”.
On the subject of young girls approaching her and asking if they could be a model too, Cameron’s response to them is frank.
“Why? You could be anything?” she tells them.
“If you ever are wondering ‘If I have thinner thighs or shinier hair, will I be happier?’ You just need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs and shiniest hair, and the coolest clothes, and they are the most physically insecure women, probably, on the entire planet”.
Not happy just to speak about the world of beauty, Russell went on to address the broader problem of race and gender discrimination.
“I get free things because of how I look, not who I am, and there are people paying costs for how they look and not who they are”.
Perhaps a change of career is on the cards for this eloquent, bold model. She displayed an early interest in politics and a meeting at age 10 with former American President Bill Clinton could be a sign of things to come.