Model Cameron Russell delivered a TED talk where she was frank about how the modeling world manipulates looks and how society should focus on more serious issues.
Russell delivered her lecture, which can be viewed below, in October and the video was posted online in January. Since then, the video has earned over 1.3 million views and Russell wrote an editorial for CNN on Sunday, February 17.
The 25-year-old model makes one thing clear in both the discussion and the editorial, she is very well aware that she "won the genetic lottery."
"The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy. What do I mean by 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," Russell writes. "And this is a legacy that was built for me, and it's a legacy that I've been cashing in on."
"Usually TED only invites the most accomplished and famous people in the world to give talks," she added. "I hoped telling a simple story -- where my only qualification was life experience (not a degree, award, successful business or book) -- could encourage those of us who make media to elevate other personal narratives: the stories of someone like Trayvon Martin, the undocumented worker, the candidate without money for press."
The model, who hails from Massachusetts and graduated with honors from Columbia University, has modeled for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Victoria's Secret and has appeared in Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. She also critiques the attention she has received from the talk and wonders what she should do with the media offers she has received.
"Even if I did give a good talk, is what I have to say more important and interesting than what Colin Powell said? (He spoke at the same event and his talk has about a quarter of the view count.)," she wrote.
She later added, "So what do I do? I am being handed press when good press for important issues is hard to come by. These outlets are the same outlets that spent two years not reporting a new drone base in Saudi Arabia while press in the UK covered it."
Check out Russell's TED talk below.