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A model uses her success to underscore some important points about image and privilege.

She exposes that there's a lot more that's fake besides the Photoshopping.

A model uses her success to underscore some important points about image and privilege.

It'd be difficult to find a single one of us who hasn't been influenced by advertising and images.

It's so subtle that a lot of us could probably even tell ourselves we haven't been influenced because it's like the air we breathe — it's around us constantly and we don't even think about it that much.

Case in point — I bet you can finish this slogan without even Googling it: "Choosy moms choose ______." If you don't know the brand, I'd bet you're an outlier.


We're constantly absorbing data and impressions from imagery and ads whether we know it or not, and companies pay big money in the race to be the first to push their impressions into our faces. They certainly aren't paying that kind of cash for something if it isn't effective.

Let model Cameron Russell break it down because she nails it.

She's had success as a model for about a decade, and she took to the TED stage to share some unique insight from her journey.

Here are three great aha moments she brings to the audience.

1. Image can be a powerful influence over our perceptions, and some people are more able to wield it than others.

She came out looking like this, knowing it was going to give a certain first impression.

All images from TED/YouTube.

Then she did the first ever on-stage wardrobe change at a TED talk.

And then she explained why she'd do something so awkward:

"Image is powerful. But also, image is superficial. I just totally transformed what you thought of me in six seconds."

You'd never guess that she hadn't even had a boyfriend before this photo was snapped, right?

2. In response to girls asking whether they can be models, she explains that while there's nothing wrong with being a model, it's not a career path.

Cameron likens modeling to winning some kind of genetic and societal lottery. Her message to young people: Set your sights on something else.

"Be my boss. Because I'm not in charge of anything and you could be the editor-in-chief of American Vogue. … Saying that you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying 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."

She demonstrates what she's learned from 10 years of modeling: what direction to look, how to pose, and the art of looking back at imaginary friends for the camera 500 times.


3. What we see in magazines is a complete fabrication and a construction from something else entirely.

She wants people to realize just how fake what they're looking at in advertising really is. Cameron illustrates it with images of what she really was like during certain times of her life, in contrast with how magazine images portrayed her at the same times.

This side-by-side comparison is a magazine shoot and a family photo taken in close succession. A little different, right?

How much does it floor you that these photos were taken within a few months of each other?

Her entire talk is really fascinating and invites us to look at the advertising we see in a much more educated light.

Cameron makes some incredible points about how she's benefitted from a stacked deck in our society all because she won the genetic lottery, and she juxtaposes that against the different life experiences of others — all based on how society perceives their looks.

As one of my favorite bands says about media and advertising, "There is a war going on for your mind." If you're thinking critically about it, you're winning.

Courtesy of Back on My Feet
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Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

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Courtesy of Back on My Feet
True

Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

Keep Reading Show less
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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Maybe before the events of 2020, you were taking your toilet paper for granted. But chances are, you aren't anymore. But aside from the shortages earlier in the year, there are larger problems with traditional TP. Specifically, it's pretty bad for the environment. That said, thanks to a company called Reel, it doesn't have to be. That's because their toilet paper is made from bamboo stalks and designed with environmental sustainability in mind.

If you've had any experience with environmentally friendly toilet paper in the past, you might be tempted to stop reading. But contrary to the prevailing stereotypes about eco-conscious TP, Reel is renowned for its quality and comfort -- so much so that the brand has sold more than a million rolls of the stuff and counting. And it's done so without contributing to the monstrous devastation of forests that's associated with the traditional toilet paper industry.


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