“Being Fearless means being honest” says supermodel Cameron Russell in her TED Weekends video (below).
She spoke about her decade-long career in front of the lens which started at a very young age for her. She has been seen in the cover of Vogue, walked the runways of some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, and is genetically blessed to look as beautiful as she is.
But her TED Talk was all about breaking down misconceptions when it comes to physical appearance.
The Victoria’s Secret Angel talks about some startling statistics in her video.
“53% of 13 year old American girls are unhappy with their bodies, and this grows to 78% by the time they are 17, according to a study done in 2011.”
She also points out that working models are amongst the most insecure people you will ever meet. Why? Because their job depends on how they look every day. Cameron points out to young girls who aspire to be models that if you do get to have a career as a model, then you can’t really do much else. Because when you put on a resume “underwear model for 10 years” you can’t exactly try to be the next President of the United States. This is one of the hurdles she has come up against as a successful supermodel in fashion.
“The easiest place to see discrimination is our incomes. Modeling is one of the few professions where women actually out-earn men. And across all jobs, studies have found that more attractive women earn more.”
Why is this so and how are we working to change that fact that there are incredibly smart talented women out there who should be at the top of the game, regardless of what they look like?
Does the media have a huge part to play in this issue? Of course it does, and it will also be the media that has the greatest power to change the way we think about women.
“Physical appearance plays an enormous role in who gets seen. When women and other marginalized groups do get access to the media, they often have to fit into a narrow definition of what the people in charge are looking for. Women, for example, are more likely to be portrayed as victims when they get news coverage, and are more likely to be depicted wearing sexy clothing when they are cast in Hollywood’s leading roles.”
It’s great that Cameron has opened up this dialogue and we hope it will encourage young girls to re-think they way they view themselves and how they want to be portrayed in life.
“Women are often worried about how they look and that’s not superficial. We know that our appearance has nothing to do with how smart, creative, or hardworking we are, but it plays powerfully into what society decides we are worth.”
What does being fearless look like to you? How important is your physical appearance vs your intellectual capabilities as a woman?