Model: I won 'genetic lottery’ is a bizarre way to essentially structure an article posted on CNN.com, but that’s exactly what Cameron Russell did this week. And now, he candor is causing big buzz online and on social networks everywhere, especially because it touched on issues of race, class, and privilege.
Russell, for those that may not know, is a successful model. She has worked for Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein, and recently gave a talk at TEDx MidAtlantic.
According to CNN, TED is a “nonprofit dedicated to "ideas worth spreading" which it makes available through talks posted on its website.”
On Sunday, Cameron wrote a piece for CNN entitled “I Don’t Get What I Deserve.” In it, she admits to being privileged, and alludes to the fact that lucky out in the genetic pool (and not necessarily hard work) has been her meal ticket for years.
“The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy,” says Cameron.
Cameron then goes on to suggest that she not only benefits in modeling because of her looks, but because of her race as well.
“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. And this is a legacy that was built for me, and it's a legacy that I've been cashing in on.”
“Some fashionistas may think, "Wait. Naomi. Tyra. Joan Smalls. Liu Wen." But the truth is that in 2007 when an inspired NYU Ph.D. student counted all the models on the runway, of the 677 models hired, only 27, or less than four percent, were non-white,” Russell later goes on to add.