Earlier this week, Nightline aired a segment about 25-year-old Cameron Russell, who, during a TEDxMid-Atlantic talk in December, likened her fortuitous modeling career to winning at Powerball. She reiterated for ABC’s cameras: “The barrier to entry to being a model is not hard work. You don’t need a degree … it’s just about how you look.” And because she promotes an “ideal that’s maybe not attainable,” Russell says, “I think I have to feel guilty.”
However, when asked if she might stop modeling for these reasons and more, Russell responds, “No … I mean I don’t think fashion is evil. I think some people definitely got at that issue when they said, ‘You still work in this industry, and you still promote a skinny white beauty ideal.’ I say, ‘Yeah that’s true and that’s unfortunate.’ I hope that the benefits outweigh the costs.”
A possible benefit: The upcoming issue of Russell’s Interrupt magazine (founded after her viral TedxTalk) will feature feminist writers, artists, and organizers … transformed into “runway-ready glamazons” to borrow anchor Bill Weir’s phrasing. She explains, “We said, ‘What if we did a mockery of what mass media wants?’ What mass media wants is all this hair and makeup. What if we did that and then we gave [the women] a moment to have [their] voices next to this picture?” Seems like a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing.