Reaction Paper Six: TED talk Cameron Russell

1. The title, speaker, and link (URL) to the TED video that you have chosen.

The title of the TED video I watched was “Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.” The speaker, Cameron Russell, is a well-known underwear model who has been in the fashion industry for over ten years. She has modeled for many companies, Victoria’s Secret is one of them.

2. Why did you choose that particular TED video?

I chose this particular video because it was influential when I first saw it. I wish I had been told most of this stuff when I was thirteen or fourteen. I feel like most girls need to know that modeling or simply being beautiful is not a “career path” like Cameron Russell said is her talk. I think even a few adults need to understand the concept of white privilege and what kind of benefits they earn simply from having a specific type color of skin.

3. What did you learn from watching this TED video?

In this video I learned that modeling is an occupation created entirely by society. What society deems as beautiful decides who will be hired and when. I had no idea that despite us boasting about today’s level of equality, there were so little non-white models hired in 2013. We’re in the 21st century and we still have white slender woman who fit the stereotype dominating an industry entirely dedicated beauty. If you were to take apart that simple sentence, what does that say to non-white, non-slender, non-stereotypical woman out there? Is it to say that everyone who doesn’t fit these characteristics is not beautiful, pretty or even simply a good person? I also learned about the huge problem that is racial profiling. “I live in New York and last year of the 140,000 teenagers that were stopped and frisked, 86% of them were black and latino and most of them were young men. And there are only 177,000 young black and latino men in New York so for them it’s not a question of ‘Will I get stopped?’ but ‘How many times will I get stopped? When will I get stopped?’ When I was researching this talk I found out that of the 13 year old girls in the United States, 53% don’t like their bodies and that number goes to 78% by the time they are 17.” Most of this section I found completely unacceptable about it but some part of it rung with the thirteen year old girl I used to be, the girl who felt that she needed makeup and straight hair for people to like her.

4. What are your reactions?

After this video, as a Filipino-Puerto-Rican-American, who sits at a nice 5’5”, feel extremely better about the choices I’ve made in life. After I first saw this video, I felt better knowing that instead of spending money on things like makeup products I was spending it on things I love doing. I bought books, video games and soon found that I am right where I need to be.

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