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Modeling Insecurity -- Writer's Poke #423

Cameron Russell is an underwear model, and after being an underwear model for ten years, she claims that she will always be perceived as being an underwear model. If she wanted to run for President of the United States, who would vote for her? After all, she is an underwear model, and that's all she can be.

Her advice to young girls? Don’t become an underwear model. Instead, try to become the underwear model’s boss, or work hard and do something that takes education and skill. Being an underwear model, she claims, only requires knowing how to follow the posing directions of the photographer – something that apparently anyone can do. 

Other than that, there’s not much to modeling other than being lucky. Russell claims to have won the “genetic lottery”; she is fortunate enough to have the right “look” at the right time. She’s skinny, she’s white (but properly tanned), and she’s young. These three characteristics are enough to make her attractive in our society, and she takes her attractiveness to the bank. It’s how she makes her money.

As Russell admits all of this, her words form a confession. Models, she says, are the most insecure people you will ever meet. By this, she is intending to focus on the insecurities that models feel from constantly needing to maintain the fantasy of physical perfection. Why models are so preoccupied with physical perfection remains at least somewhat unclear, though, because she also notes that the photos of her image on the page aren’t really her. They are the product of pre-production – lighting, make-up, setting, etc. –  and post-production – air-brushing, digitally enhancing, image manipulating, etc. 

To listen to her speak, the model herself isn’t all that important, and might not be important at all. Should we, however, believe her, or should we remember the main “take away” of her message, which is just how insecure models actually are? Perhaps Russell’s insecurities go deeper than worrying about physical imperfections. Perhaps her willingness to confess her unworthiness is a prime example of the deeper insecurities she has. And, if she’s so unhappy with herself or her profession, why is she so eager to confess, but so unwilling to change professions?

Why are people willing to belittle themselves?

“I’ve always seen modeling as a stepping stone.” – Tyra Banks


  1. I listened to her a few days ago and was pretty sure that she was not claiming insecurity for herself. Was she at one point in her life insecure? Could be, but not now. Maybe we find what we are looking for in what other people say.

  2. I'm not "looking for" anything. I said "perhaps" Russell insecurities go deeper, that's all.


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