Cameron Russell is tall, beautiful, and looks magazine ready as she steps onto the stage at a recent TED conference. She’s also a Victoria’s Secret model. But as she proceeds to do a “wardrobe change” in front of the crowded room, she also discusses how miraculous it is that she can change what people think of her in just a few minutes. And just how powerful that is.
But Cameron’s entire talk is about perception, and how even careers like modeling, which may seem to many a young girl to be the epitome of a glamorous, comfortable lifestyle, are not always all that appears on a glossy, photoshopped fashion spread in the pages of Elle.
Cameron’s message is refreshing, honest, and surprising in a way that puts the mantra of female empowerment and body image conflicts in an entirely new light.
The next thing people always ask me is, ‘can I be a model when I grow up?’ And, my first answer is ‘I don’t know, they don’t put me in charge of that.’ But the second answer, and what I really want to say to these little girls is, ‘Why? You know, you could be anything.’
I venture to say that not many people–especially those in Cameron’s position–would tell another to not strive to be like them. And yet this (role) model does. But more than that, for all the women and young girls listening she opens up a window into a world full of possibilities that are not based on a “genetic lottery,” as she calls it. That message means more by virtue of coming from a model’s mouth. At the very least, Cameron says something that catches most of us off guard, but at the most–and in reality–what she has done is caught one of our engrained perceptions by the tail, held it tightly, and challenged it to swim upstream in a different direction.
You could be anything.
If you still want to be a model, Cameron says, “Be my Boss.”
Take a few minutes to watch her inspiring talk here!