Model Cameron Russell: I won the 'genetic lottery'

Most people have an idea of what they believe models are really like. However, a lot of them may not believe they're anything like Cameron Russell. Russell has been a model for ten years, however it's not hard work that's kept her in the job.

In an editorial she wrote for CNN, Russell is honest about her profession, writing, "The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy." By legacy, she means appearing young, feminine, and having white skin. While some non-white models have made it big, Tyra Banks for instance, Russell noted a study done by a Ph.D. student at NYU in 2007. Of the 677 models on the runway that year, only 27 of them were non-white. "This is a legacy that was built for me, and it's a legacy that I've been cashing in on," she says. 

Russell also recently gave a TEDx Talk. TEDx Talks are a series of conferences, with a variety of speakers. The day Russell spoke, Colin Powell gave a talk as well. She had hoped her lecture, where she narrated her life experience thus far, and explained how her career truly works would help put focus on other narratives. However, all it did was reinforce what she explained in the talk. "Beauty and femininity and race have made me the candy of mass media," she says, pointing out that Powell's talk has far less online views than hers.

She hopes to use the spotlight that is on her to talk about something meaningful. Requests for interviews are pouring in, but she doesn't know what she should, or even could, talk about. "Do I refuse these offers outright because of my lack of experience, because I'm not the right person to tell the stories that are missing from the media?" In the meantime, she says she's "figuring out what it all means."
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