What is it like to be a model? Two stories tell us.
Fresh out of Catholic high school, Michigan girl Meghan Ward heads for the Paris runways at the tender age of 19. She had never intended to be a model. In fact, she had the typical thinking-person’s qualms about the industry, particularly the unhealthy images of women it promotes. But she had the looks, and when she was approached by a scout, she couldn’t resist the chance to sample the glamour of the modeling scene—and rack up some money for college. Runway: Confessions of a not-so-supermodel, her thoughtful yet dishy memoir, tells the story of what she learned about the world of high-fashion modeling—and herself.
On the other hand, Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don’t judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.
She has stomped the runways for Victoria’s Secret and Chanel, and has appeared in many magazines. But she is much more than just a pretty face.
Image is powerful, but also image is superficial
Image is powerful, but also image is superficial. Barring surgery, or the fake tan that I got two days ago for work, there’s very little that we can do to transform how we look, and how we look, though it is superficial and immutable, has a huge impact on our lives.
Being fearless means being honest
Being fearless means being honest. And I am on this stage because I am a model. I am on this stage because I am a pretty, white woman, and in my industry we call that a sexy girl. And I’m going to answer the questions that people always ask me, but with an honest twist.
How do you become a model?
The real way that I became a model is I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy, and maybe you’re wondering what is a 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 out on.
Can I be a model when I grow up?
Why? You know? You can be anything. You could be the President of the United States, or the inventor of the next Internet, or a ninja cardio-thoracic surgeon poet, which would be awesome, because you’d be the first one.
Saying that you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying that 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.
Do they retouch all the photos?
And yeah, they pretty much retouch all the photos, but that is only a small component of what’s happening.
They are constructions by a group of professionals, by hairstylists and makeup artists and photographers and stylists and all of their assistants and pre-production and post-production.
Do you get free stuff?
I do have too many 8-inch heels which I never get to wear, except for earlier, but the free stuff that I get is the free stuff that I get in real life because of how I look, not who I am.
What is it like to be a model?
It’s really amazing to travel, and it’s amazing to get to work with creative, inspired, passionate people.” And those things are true, but they’re only one half of the story, because the thing that we never say on camera, that I have never said on camera, is, “I am insecure.” And I’m insecure because I have to think about what I look like every day.