Saturday, February 23, 2013

Be a Ninja Cardio-thoracic Surgeon Poet.

Image: Cameron Russell Speaking at TED
Or be my boss.  This is the truly awesome advice model Cameron Russell gives young girls in her recent TEDx talk.

Don't be a model.  Models "are not in charge of anything...Saying you want to be a akin to saying you want to win the's out of your control, it's awesome and it's not a career path" she says.

And the intelligent, articulate and endearingly awkward Russell goes much further too.  

She is surprisingly and wonderfully honest as she tries to unpick the power that image has in shaping our perceptions of ourselves and those around us.

The images that we are fed everyday by a media that envelopes us are damaging, are dangerous and are utterly deceptive.

Russell does a great job of openly deconstructing several specific images of herself.  She does this by contrasting them with "real" images - happy snaps of herself taken at the same time as these impossible modelling shots.  

And it goes straight to the heart of the issue of fashion photography and why it can be so harmful.  

It's not that we shouldn't enjoy looking at beautiful images, but rather the narrow definition of beautiful that is allowed.  In these images beauty is distilled down to a finite equation that leaves no room for different, no room for real.

And when the beauty of different and the beauty of real are forced to the fringes that deception damages the way we see ourselves and the way we look at others.  

So if my daughter ever tells me she wants to be a model when she grows up, I'm going tell her "No, be the models boss.  Or be a ninja cardio-thoracic surgeon poet."

Do you think modelling is a desirable career path for girls?

Listen to Duran Duran Girls on Flim

Video Licensed Under Creative Commons


  1. what is a ninja cardio-thoracic surgeon poet ?

    1. Welcome Anonymous,

      It means be brave, be smart, be creative - don't choose a career path that relies on fitting (and perpetuating) a narrowly defined version of beauty.