Top model Cameron Russel has been working steadily for many years, being one of those rare birds with equal parts fashion and commercial capability: she has lots of strong editorial under her belt, walks major runways (recently, Balmain and Isabel Marant), she’s a Victoria’s Secret angel–though she’s never been a household name.
This year, she gave a TED Talk about the modeling industry–covering a range of topics, from its genetic requirements to the questionable ethics of an industry that dresses up 14-year-olds in women’s clothing and asks them to look sexy. Video of the talk went viral and Russell subsequently launched a women’s magazine–which she’s now making the rounds to promote.
On Nightline recently, Russell further emphasized the unrealistic standards of beauty put forth by the industry–and the mixed feelings she has about banking off them:
“It requires a genetic lottery win,” she says. “It’s just a lot of luck.”
The segment goes on to say that Russell “eats whatever she wants” and “only exercises for fun” to back up the model’s claim that one doesn’t have to work hard to break into the industry. “I’m not promoting anything unhealthy because I’m not unhealthy, but I am promoting an ideal that’s maybe not attainable. For that I have to feel guilty, and I have to assume some blame for that,” she says.
So would she ever consider giving it all up? “No I don’t think fashion is evil,” she says. “I hope the benefits outweigh the costs.”
A few bloggers have questioned Russell’s credibility–how guilty can she feel if she’s still cashing checks from Vogue and Victoria’s Secret?
…But we’d really appreciate it if more models (especially of her prominence) had the self-awareness and candor she does.