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January 9th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Victoria’s Secret Model Cameron Russell's message to young girls who want to be models: 'it's not a career path'

Should young girls want to be models? One supermodel answered that question and her response went viral with over 90,000 views on YouTube.

Cameron Russell is a beautiful 25-year-old Victoria's Secret model who has traveled the globe walking in major high fashion runways and appearing in international fashion magazines. She's also an economics and political science major from Columbia University who delivered a frank TED Talk saying young girls should not aspire to be models.

Russell said, “…People always ask me 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 is, ‘Why? You know, you can be anything.’”

She continued; “Saying that you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying that you want to win the Powerball. It's out of your control. And it's awesome. And it's not a career path.” Russell went on to break down what she sees as the biggest problems with modeling. Cameron Russell comes to “Starting Point” this morning to tell us why she said what she said.

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  1. Stormy T.

    If you want to be a model and not fit the criteria, then become an actress/singer. They're the ones landing all the cosmetic contracts and even some editorials too. L'Oreal, Maybelline, Cover Girl, Rimmel, Revlon and even Wet-N-Wild (they have Fergie pimping their makeup) etc. All these brands don't even use models hardly (if at all) anymore. Oh, whose on all magazine covers for the past decade plus? Not models anymore. Very few of these people fit the criteria to be models. Maybe Taylor "Amazon" Swift and Faith Hill (both have done Cover Girl) but what about Drew Barrymore (5'4") and Pink (5'2") and Pink is muscular, not tall and starved skinny. If you're 5'7" or taller you can always starve your body into what the modeling world wants, a friend of mine did. She didn't look bulemic, she looked very thin like the Victoria Secret's models. Most of those models don't eat (or eat much) and/or have drug problems. It's not all about genetic lottery, maybe the height part is. As far as looks, you don't have to be pretty or beautiful to be a model either. It helps but there are plenty who are not considered beautiful or even very pretty even with top makeup artists and airbrushing. Gisele Bunchen come to mind? Kate Moss? These women DO NOT look like Cindy Crawford (who is not skinny) or Christy Turlington or Christie Brinkley.

    March 26, 2013 at 8:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Thomas Bayo

    Cameron Russell looks like a nice person, I hope so this will reward her. Thomas Bayo

    March 8, 2013 at 4:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Onpoint

    I think everyone is missing the point. She is talking about the illusions of the modelling industry, which she covered pretty well. At least she admits to her privileges, unlike so many others who attribute to their own inner ability. She is absolutely right about the white thing.

    January 31, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. niklester

    You guys with the negative comments are being rude and detrimental. She seems to be genuinely coming from a good place. A lot of girls get sucked into the norm of trying to look 'socially perfect' by using cosmetics/make up and starving themselves. I think what she's trying to say is that most models get the attributes which make them successful genetically; the long slender body, the cheekbones, the eyes, the perfect jawline etc. and these things don't come with hard work but are granted to you by birth. So I think she just wants young girls to know that aspiring to be a model cannot do much for you because ultimately it all depends on what you're born with and not on the skills you develop as a kid, for instance if you aspire to become a doctor you can take an interest in medicine at a very young age, read books, expand your knowledge in the subject but it doesn't work that way for modelling.

    January 31, 2013 at 12:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Philo

    Notice she admitted she reaps the benefits of her modelling career.. I see honesty all over her hypocrisy. Nobody here has been a hypocrite before? Own up... the real issue at hand here is what she is going to do about it, if she cares so much about the image portrayed to young women and girls. What if the fashion industry portrayed women as beautiful, garment donning humans instead of a vehicle for disembodied parts that our society is so obsessed over? You don't know her intentions here, she hasn't stated them! Don't be so quick to judge. People who speak out have an amazing ability to change (themselves and the way we think). Watch her ted talk, it's awesome and she speaks honestly about her hypocrisy, why that is the way it is and what her ideas surrounding that are. Doesn't seem like she's hurting anybody by saying what she said... And remember, every time you point your finger at someone realize there are 3 pointing back at you....

    January 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Janie

    I think she's amazing, bright, intuitive and brave. Did you see how the senator flinched when she brought up his luck in being born a white male? Love her. Go Cameron. As for the rest of you commentators calling her a hypocrite–a little self-awareness, please! I can only speak as an American but there's not a day goes by that I don't thank god I won the genetic lottery in being born in this country! I can flick a switch and have 24 hour electricity, clean, healthy, water with FLOURIDE is everywhere; even if I was homeless i can steal an apple somewhere instead of eating sand or if I'm lucky grubs and tree bark and best of all, as an American female, I'm not being tossed over a cliff to die as an infant, having my clitoris cut off to keep me chaste, sold into slavery, being raped as a virgin because it cures AIDS, married off at 12 for more oxen or any of a hundred other everyday horrors & soul-crushing tragedies occurring around the globe as i write this. Thank you, Cameron. Thank you, Soledad. And glass houses to all the rest of you first-worlders who don't wanna talk about your power & privilge b/c it might be a little less than someone else's. Be humble. Be grateful. Grow up & save the freaking world. Peace.

    January 30, 2013 at 3:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Linda Davis

    What hyprocrisy. If modeling is the problem she has accused it of being and if she wants to truly steer girls away from it, she should do so by changing her profession. Furthermore, she was privileged before she became a model as her family is financially well off. Funny, she did not talk about her grades or ACT/SAT scores; did her privilege also get her through the door of the elite university she attended? Finally, she spoke of the exclusion of women of color in the industry and then explains that she is successful because she is "pretty," hence, white = pretty, according to her explaination.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sophie

    Alright, but if she's serious about helping young girls she should not be spouting that there is a 'genetic lottery' to be won. By talking about it she is confirming its reality. Actually, many women do not want to be incredibly tall, or have white skin... So, she is overestimating societies love for tall and skinny women. Yes being slim is overwhelmingly popular in the western world but tall and pale? I think she needs to realize and/or explain that this is adored in the fashion world, but not in every day life.

    Her other comments seem great though, and I like how she admits she has been cashing in on it. I hope she understands the detrimental effects her work has on young girls. Miranda Kerr could take a leaf out of her book.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stormy T.

      You are soooo wrong. Being tall is the it thing world over. Everybody (it seems) says they're taller than they really are. Most men don't want a woman as thin as a model though. Women and the fashion world are the ones obsessed about being thin/skinny.

      March 26, 2013 at 9:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. typicalwhitemale

    What a hypocrite. Made probably millions off of modeling, but whines about how the modeling world is unfair. So what. Not everyone is genetically made to be a rocket scientist. Not everyone is made to be a model. Not everyone is made to be the next Beethoven. Life is unfair. And not all white people are priveleged. Not all whites can be models, nor have money and the red carpet rolled out under their feet. Just because SHE is priveleged and went to exclusive schools doesn't mean all whites are. She's repulsive. (And if it is so bad, why does she keep modeling?)

    January 10, 2013 at 2:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. energeia

    Reblogged this on World Peace.

    January 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. energeia the best to Cameron Russell always...

    January 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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