You may know American model Cameron Russell from the cover of Vogue or Elle, or you may have seen her in ad campaigns for companies like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, or even from the Victoria Secret runway. What you may not know her from is her inspiring TED Talk, on why looks aren’t everything. Russell acknowledges that she has won the “genetic lottery”, being born a tall slender white woman – the basic model material. In general she displays an amazing self-awareness, as well as societal awareness when it comes to the value of your appearance, and why this assignment of value is wrong. Using her 10 years of modeling experience, she answers the most common questions that she usually gets asked about being a model. She does a great unveiling of the process behind modeling, revealing the work behind the construction that is her image, because it is a construction – the image is not her, it has been built by an entire TEAM of professionals. She discusses that even though our appearance is incredibly difficult to change, and should in fact not matter, it has a giant impact on our lives. She realizes that she is the beneficiary of this social construct, giving the example of getting out of a speeding ticket scot free because of her looks, not because of who she is. She also points out that there are those who “pay a cost” because of how they look, not who they are. In New York last year 86% of teenagers that were stopped and frisked were black and latino. That’s a ridiculously high percent. The talk is definitely worth a watch, Cameron Russell is very down-to-earth and honest. It’s always good to hear that even if you have “the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair” you can still be insecure. The power of image is a prevalent thing in our society, and it’s good to hear an honest perspective from the media/modeling side of things.