Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model. | Cameron Russell


Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Morton Bast Hi. My name is Cameron Russell, and for the last little while,
I’ve been a model. Actually, for 10 years. And I feel like there’s an uncomfortable tension
in the room right now because I should not have worn this dress. (Laughter) So luckily, I brought an outfit change. This is the first outfit change
on the TED stage, so you guys are pretty lucky
to witness it, I think. If some of the women were
really horrified when I came out, you don’t have to tell me now,
but I’ll find out later on Twitter. (Laughter) I’d also note that I’m quite privileged to be able to transform
what you think of me in a very brief 10 seconds. Not everybody gets to do that. These heels are very uncomfortable,
so good thing I wasn’t going to wear them. The worst part is putting
this sweater over my head, because that’s when
you’ll all laugh at me, so don’t do anything
while it’s over my head. All right. So, why did I do that? That was awkward. (Laughter) Well — (Laughter) Hopefully not as awkward as that picture. Image is powerful, but also, image is superficial. I just totally transformed
what you thought of me, in six seconds. And in this picture, I had actually never had
a boyfriend in real life. I was totally uncomfortable, and the photographer
was telling me to arch my back and put my hand in that guy’s hair. And of course, barring surgery, or the fake tan that I got
two days ago for work, there’s very little that we can do
to transform how we look, and how we look, though it is
superficial and immutable, has a huge impact on our lives. So today, for me, being
fearless means being honest. And I am on this stage
because I am a model. I am on this stage because
I am a pretty, white woman, and in my industry,
we call that a sexy girl. I’m going to answer the questions
that people always ask me, but with an honest twist. So the first question is,
how do you become a model? I always just say, “Oh, I was scouted,” but that means nothing. The real way that I became a model is I won a genetic lottery,
and I am the recipient of a legacy, and maybe you’re wondering
what is a legacy. Well, for the past few centuries we have defined beauty
not just as health and youth and symmetry that we’re biologically
programmed to admire, but also as tall, slender figures, and femininity and white skin. And this is a legacy
that was built for me, and it’s a legacy
that I’ve been cashing out on. And I know there are
people in the audience who are skeptical at this point, and maybe there are
some fashionistas who are like, “Wait. Naomi. Tyra. Joan Smalls. Liu Wen.” And first, I commend you on your model
knowledge. Very impressive. (Laughter) But unfortunately,
I have to inform you that in 2007, a very inspired NYU Ph.D. student counted all the models on the runway,
every single one that was hired, and of the 677 models that were hired, only 27, or less than four percent,
were non-white. The next question people always ask is, “Can I be a model when I grow up?” And the first answer is, “I don’t know,
they don’t put me in charge of that.” But the second answer, and what I really want to say
to these little girls is, “Why? You know? You can be anything. You could be the President
of the United States, or the inventor of the next Internet, or a ninja cardiothoracic surgeon poet, which would be awesome,
because you’d be the first one.” (Laughter) If, after this amazing list,
they still are like, “No, no, Cameron, I want to be a model,” well, then I say, “Be my boss.” Because I’m not in charge of anything, and you could be the editor in chief
of American Vogue or the CEO of H&M,
or the next Steven Meisel. Saying that you want to be
a model when you grow up is akin to saying that you want to win
the Powerball when you grow up. It’s out of your control,
and it’s awesome, and it’s not a career path. I will demonstrate for you now
10 years of accumulated model knowledge, because unlike cardiothoracic surgeons, it can just be distilled right now. So, if the photographer is right there, the light is right there, like a nice HMI, and the client says,
“We want a walking shot,” this leg goes first, nice and long,
this arm goes back, this arm goes forward, the head is at three quarters,
and you just go back and forth, just do that, and then you look back
at your imaginary friends, 300, 400, 500 times. (Laughter) It will look something like this. (Laughter) Hopefully less awkward
than that one in the middle. That was — I don’t know
what happened there. Unfortunately,
after you’ve gone to school, and you have a résumé
and you’ve done a few jobs, you can’t say anything anymore, so if you say you want to be
the President of the United States, but your résumé reads,
“Underwear Model: 10 years,” people give you a funny look. The next question is,
“Do they retouch all the photos?” And yeah, they pretty much
retouch all the photos, but that is only a small component
of what’s happening. This picture is the very first
picture that I ever took, and it’s also the very first time
that I had worn a bikini, and I didn’t even have my period yet. I know we’re getting personal,
but I was a young girl. This is what I looked like with my grandma
just a few months earlier. Here’s me on the same day as this shoot. My friend got to come. Here’s me at a slumber party
a few days before I shot French Vogue. Here’s me on the soccer team
and in V Magazine. And here’s me today. And I hope what you’re seeing is that these pictures
are not pictures of me. They are constructions, and they are constructions
by a group of professionals, by hairstylists and makeup artists
and photographers and stylists and all of their assistants
and pre-production and post-production, and they build this. That’s not me. Okay, so the next question
people always ask me is, “Do you get free stuff?” (Laughter) I do have too many 8-inch heels
which I never get to wear, except for earlier, but the free stuff that I get
is the free stuff that I get in real life, and that’s what we don’t like
to talk about. I grew up in Cambridge, and one time I went into a store
and I forgot my money and they gave me the dress for free. When I was a teenager,
I was driving with my friend who was an awful driver
and she ran a red and of course, we got pulled over, and all it took was a “Sorry, officer,”
and we were on our way. And I got these free things
because of how I look, not who I am, and there are
people paying a cost for how they look and not who they are. 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 that they’re 17. So, the last question people ask me is, “What is it like to be a model?” And I think the answer
that they’re looking for is, “If you are a little bit skinnier
and you have shinier hair, you will be so happy and fabulous.” And when we’re backstage, we give an answer
that maybe makes it seem like that. We say, “It’s really amazing to travel,
and it’s amazing to get to work with creative, inspired,
passionate people.” And those things are true,
but they’re only one half of the story, because the thing
that we never say on camera, that I have never said on camera, is, “I am insecure.” And I’m insecure because I have to think
about what I look like every day. And if you ever are wondering, “If I have thinner thighs
and shinier hair, will I be happier?” you just need to meet a group of models, because they have the thinnest thighs,
the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes, and they’re the most physically
insecure women probably on the planet. When I was writing this talk, I found it very difficult
to strike an honest balance, because on the one hand, I felt very uncomfortable
to come out here and say, “Look I’ve received all these benefits
from a deck stacked in my favor,” and it also felt really uncomfortable
to follow that up with, “and it doesn’t always make me happy.” But mostly it was difficult to unpack
a legacy of gender and racial oppression when I am one
of the biggest beneficiaries. But I’m also happy
and honored to be up here and I think that it’s great
that I got to come before 10 or 20 or 30 years had passed
and I’d had more agency in my career, because maybe then I wouldn’t tell
the story of how I got my first job, or maybe I wouldn’t tell the story
of how I paid for college, which seems so important right now. If there’s a takeaway to this talk, I hope it’s that we all feel
more comfortable acknowledging the power of image
in our perceived successes and our perceived failures. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model. | Cameron Russell

  1. Why was this woman on a ted talk, there was nothing interesting about her talking about how privileged she is and how easy life is for her. And the clothing change didn't make her less sexually attractive. WTF. By the way she was lacking a lot of grit and intelligence to become a doctor or anything that is hard to achieve.

  2. Good looks do not guarantee happiness. They go through same things Like-just okay people& We are all Okay& Loved by ourCreator

  3. "looks aren't everything" – good looking people
    "money isn't everything" – rich people
    "it's all about money and looks" – me

  4. Girls are told, they need to be thin and beautiful… Women are beautiful in the own way… U are beautiful

  5. This speech wasn't topical, "Looks aren't everything."

    She spent the whole time talking about what her looks have gotten her in her life. Just saying you're insecure doesn't make you normal, we all are insecure at times, but MOST of us are insecure because we CAN'T look attractive or how we want to, where as this woman is insecure about "Not looking the best."

    I can understand not being in the best shape or looking the your best every day but she even said herself "I have been blessed with a winning genetic lottery and a Legacy."

    There are some people who would kill just to look the way she does, the career doesn't even matter, but the simple fact that her career is what got her there on a TED talk on Youtube only strengthens the contradiction that "Looks Don't Matter"

  6. i hate it, if the language of the description and the video does not match. Thumbs down for every video.

  7. It doesn't matter what I have or don't have… It does matter how much I can give to everyone else… Life is about being important to others.

  8. Being ugly is like starting the life without an arm, you're at disadvantage, you need to constantly prove yourself, just in this small talk you see how people laugh on her terrible jokes.

  9. First time I've ever watched Ted. your message was absolutely amazing you are wonderful speaker I enjoyed your presentation best of luck to you hope you continue

  10. This is why we need eugenics. The number of beautiful white girls as a percentage of the total global population is ridiculously low, and they very seldom have more than two children, especially in former communist countries. Absolutely nothing is being done about this because we are failing to look at beautiful girls as a finite resource, which means that policy makers are failing to encourage motherhood and immigration from (mostly Eastern) Europe. Most of the adult women in the United States who we think of as beautiful were born between 1990 and 2001. If you look it up, it's about 1.3 million white women per year. Of these women, perhaps a fourth of all girls approximately between the ages of 18 and 29 are fat or obese. Others are simply unattractive, and still others have diagnosable defects. That leaves the adult male population with under 12 million women, most of whom are in some form of monogamous sexual relationship or another. Meanwhile, the US in 2017 had close to 11 million millionaires, up 6 percent from 2016, according to data published in 2018 by the Spectrum Group's Market Insights Report. The US is literally getting to a point where you have to be a millionaire to date a beautiful white woman. And about half of them have ugly tattoos.

  11. Yooo, this message…she wants us to not see her but her journey. Blindfold yourself and listen. I didnt blindfold myself, as soon as she started speaking I got her message. She's trying to send the message that ITS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS.

  12. I was told the best thing about my looks is once you look at me everything else seems better. Somebody point out it was not a compliment 🙁

  13. I'm sure this movie is very interesting but my English has low level yet

  14. This is a dumb TEDx session. Her speech revealed nothing new; it only confirmed that she is an airhead.

  15. Well she just basically let me know that white privilege is real… not to say that African Americans don't have a fair shot but we're going to have to fight

  16. Black and Latinos are stopped and frisked more because they commit more crime. Facts don't care about your feelings.

  17. Well at least she's really a model, instead of Iowa Corn Dance Queen '96 who thinks she's a fucking model.

  18. Rich and beautiful people saying money and beauty is not everything thats true, because they have experience that. we dont know because we are just looking from our perspective. And we desire to be like them. That means people having all the things in the world but missing on something. And unfortunately this materialistic world cant give us that.

  19. Health is everything and then Money is everything. If you have both you can buy looks to some extent.

  20. Seriously? Whining about how you look good and get free stuff? This is a Ted talk?

  21. Being attractive is both a blessing and a curse. Yes people respond to you better however everyone in town wants to shag you so you have to constantly reject people’s advances towards you. Occasionally someone will just hate you right away or instantly avoid you because they don’t like pretty people because they know that many of them are spoiled and shallow people

  22. Dark girls has to go through alot,teally alot. . . . .looks are everything . . .people keep on saying that they are not racist or something but deep inside they really are . . . People behave so differently with dark skinned,even dark skinned boys consider dark skinned girls low. . .people actually discriminate on the basis of colour.

  23. Хуею с таких эпитетов- мажоры- деньги это не самое главное, модели- внешность это не самое главное. Ты, бля, попробуй для начала прожить в теле урода, чтобы говорить о том, что внешность не главное. Внешность это огромный аванс от вселенной, который поможет получить тебе практически все, что можно пожелать в социуме, работа, семья, любовь или достаток, не важно, если ты не конченный дебил, внешность даст тебе все. Но если ты урод, тебе придется зубами прорывать себе дорогу к обычному выживанию. Потому что никто не любит уродов, не хочет видеть их соседями или коллегами, никто не мечтает иметь от них детей, никто не хочет их ебать. И этого будет вполне достаточно, чтобы к тому моменту, когда ты из стадии выживания перешёл в стадию существования, тебе бы уже стало наплевать на то, жив ли ты вообще. Господи, кто-нибудь, заткните уже этих богачей и красоток, которые вещают миру, который перенаселен нищими уродами, для которых каждый прожитый день это уже подвиг. Если ты не родился в Индии в секте проституток и с 9 лет не работаешь на панели, если не живёшь в Мексике и тебя не спиздили наркокаратели и не поотрубали тебе с мачете ноги, руки, и голову, пока ты все ещё живой, если ты не родился в Африке, где нет воды и еды и ты живёшь на улице, а потом умираешь от спида, если ты не родился евреем, которого держали в концлагере, если ты не родился в Венесуэле и не работаешь месяц за десять долларов- ПРОСТО ИДИ НАХУЙ!

  24. k well trade places with chubby girls and only allow them up there.

  25. You should get over yourself Cameron. I don't consider u good looking at all! I guess u self-appointed yourself as spokeswoman for beautiful people….please!😆

  26. Rich ppl keep saying money doesn't matter, if it really doesn't matter in YOUR opinion, give the fucking money to me!

  27. I’m just gonna say if you guardian won’t let you look the way you want to it takes a blow to your self esteem for me at least I never liked how skinny I was or short but once I was around 14 I went to live with my grandparents and I was allowed to grow my hair longer and I started to go to the gym I was actually getting much more comfortable and confident with myself and enjoyed it

  28. When u r beautiful like that woman, then of corse u don’t have to care about how u look🙆‍♂️

  29. Very nervous lady, but an interesting speech. Nevertheless, I wonder would she give up her genetic lottery ticket to be a 'run of the mill' person standing at a cash-register in a supermarket 8 to 10 hours a day, and then maybe holding down a second job in some local bar on the weekends. It's so easy to generous when you 'have it'.

  30. GTFO! she says that looks aren't everything because she is pretty. However, we know attractive people always have an advantage even if they are not particularly smart. The only time looks don't matter is when the person is wealthy and can buy a new face

  31. I think a lot of visitors watching this, dont get the real Message of her speech …

  32. Looks aren't everything and I guess brains are out the window as well.

  33. This woman is honest and talks about things that affect alot of us. A rich man will always worry about his wealth and a beautiful person will always worry about their looks however if you don't have it you can't worry about losing it

  34. Nice talk but if she really wants to walk the walk she should just marry a small, fat, bald, ugly, homeless unfunny man…

  35. ला ला ला ला la लाया लाय ले le le maza le le le le maza le 😂😂 look like a king so ur become a king-kong

  36. My day job is in an office, "polished" is the dress code. Think the next step above business casual, but short of a full suit. Outside of my day job, you're more likely to find me in dirty stained Carhartts and a button up work shirt and smelling like welding. I go into the same exact bank branch and talk to the same exact people, and the difference in the way I get treated changes incredibly depending on how I'm dressed. Unfortunate truth, but right or wrong, the reality of the world is that looks matter.

    Edit: Goes the other way too. I go into the welding shop looking "polished" and I can expect to be ignored.

  37. Oh well, everybody feels insecure, a dustman feels insecure, a teacher, a chef, a teenager, everybody feels insecure. But honey, at least you are a model, you are beautiful, skinny, and tall, you have a good career tho. Perhaps your insecurities aren’t big as insecurities of people out there who haven’t anything that you owned.

  38. 叔本华在《人生的智慧》里将决定人命运的根本差异分为三类:

    人的自身:也就是最广泛的人的个性所具有的东西。包括人的健康、力量、外貌、气质、道德品格、精神智力以及潜能。

    人所拥有的身外之物:也就是人的财产和其他占有物。
    人对他人显示出的形象:可以理解为人在他人眼中所呈现的样子,也就是他人对这个人的看法。这种他人的看法包括名誉、地位和名望。

  39. some of people have good looks but never a good look for someone don't appreciate their own beauty

  40. That is a DUDE everyone! 100% male bone structure. All the people put before you on screen have always been hidden transgenders. Models are men its why they have thigh gap and are skinny. Its a man baby.

  41. Tell that to my zero followers on Instagram. Believe me because I am fugly ( fat and ugly ).

  42. She said that so sincerely I fricking respect her view and agree with it totally. I'm scrolling through these comments and they are so bitter and sarcastic… Cameron is saying that she feels guilty because she got things out of her looks. She stays a model because she wants to show you that models can think that way(I think. I ain't her so IDK for sure, of course).

    A lot of the comments say that attractive people say that looks don't matter because they are good looking and better off. Attractive people say that because they know that if no one says it, everyone will believe something that is totally and completely false.

    In the video, she says she and her friend were pulled over by a policeman, but the policeman let them go because they were pretty. What these comments say about the actual commenters is that they are like the policeman. Every single one of you that says, "Looks don't matter- say the good looking people" are like that very policeman.

    Guys, take a look at yourselves. Looks matter to those that are biased, self-conscious, and/or unhappy. Don't you think we should start making others ignore how people look by ignoring it ourselves?

  43. If I didn't like the color of my skin then I would be telling God that he made a mistake. Just like a man thinks when he says that God made a mistake by making him male instead of female. I love who God made me to be and so should you who ever disagrees.

    psalms 139:13-16 NIV. For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

    My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

    Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be. forget what people say about you, believe what God says about you..

  44. "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model" yeah right, show me how many 5 foot 6 ugly poor guys have you dated and I'll believe you girl.

  45. What is a legacy???

    It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see😂

  46. I am sorry, but if a super model (who are considered good looking by default) says something like this, it sounds so hypocritical.

  47. Being a pretty white girl is a curse from what I can tell.. super easy life, but why would you want to do anything if it’s all there for you?

    Yet apparently white male privledge is put upon young hard working white males as if they owe the world something. ,
    Almost always labeled by white priveledged woman ..

  48. We know models are not happy. If you believed the lie they told you that models define beauty then sorry.

  49. It would be great if people who comment here actually would watch the video and not just make assumption based on the title…

  50. Well well look at the pretty person pretending to know what it feels like to be ugly. One day ugly people will unite and be the ugliest force ever seen or not wanting to seen by everyone. We ugly people are many and so strong you wont want to even look our way. Wake up people only Jesus Christ matters. Not money not looks not things. Or have we forgotten our father in heaven?

  51. Ugly people make the world function and beautiful people get to enjoy the results.

  52. this is kind of strange. she says that all these things dont make her happy, but it seems like she fails to acknowledge that everything she is dealing with is the same thing everyone else is dealing with daily, minus the ability to afford to do something different about it.

    like yea, we all get stressed and feel bad sometimes, that will always be a thing. but having a job where someone else fixes your appearance and tells you to stand a certain way, takes a picture and thats the end of the day sounds SOO much easier to deal with at a low point than it is to work in say, customer service.

  53. It’s important to realize that there is no “genetic lottery” Being born with “better” facial structure does not exist. What looks convey depend on a society’s social construct. The way our society’s social construct works is that if you are white and you’re bone structure looks a certain way, you are generally going to be treated better. But by any other standard are you inherently “actually” better. This is because beauty does not have a definition, it is defined by the individual.

  54. she addresses her own privilege in the first two minutes. the whole video she talks about how she is benefited from her beauty. shes not saying it doesnt matter. shes saying it shouldnt matter. everybody knows thats life is easier for pretty people. did you guys even watch the video? shes telling you guys not to be so insecure. and how does she do this? by telling you not to strive for perfection because shes winning at that lotto and shes still not happy. shes not complaining. shes telling you you dont have to be perfect. shes telling you the grass isnt always greener on the other side. and if you have a problem with that? if you whine and say “she doesnt get to have problems or insecurities bc she happened to born looking good ))):” then youre just one of those people who tells themselves their lives would be better if (insert blank) so they never have to actually do anything to make their lives better. well, i cant just snap my fingers and be a model, so why even try? grow up.

  55. Yahh.. Yahh
    When u have it then it doesn't matter
    Ask a black or brown skin people. that looks matter or not

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