A Beacon of Femininity Too Young to Menstruate

Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model

“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.”

Now aged 25, and with ten years of professional modeling experience behind her, Cameron Russell says, “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…[Models] have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes, and they’re the most physically insecure women probably on the planet.”

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The above slideshow demonstrating the reality behind modeling got me thinking about Facebook and how looks can be deceiving. But, before heading off in that direction, here is one final and amusing quote from Russell:

“I’m a dork! My favorite outfit is baggy black corduroy pants and a baggy T-shirt. In December I was shooting in the Bahamas, and on the way back I was in a boat with other people staying on the same island. One woman was going on and on about the model she’d seen on the beach who was ‘so gorgeous.’ Of course, that model had been me in hair, makeup and a neon bikini. The whole 30-minute boat ride she didn’t recognize me. I was sitting directly across from her wearing sweatpants, a windbreaker, no makeup and hair up in a bun.”

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Paranoid about being judged, Facebook users are Photoshopping pictures to enhance their appearance. However, the increasing popularity of digital alteration means people are presenting themselves in a false light, and though the edited version of their profile picture seems sexy, it does not guarantee the original product.

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Confession: I have fallen prey to image manipulation too.

On Facebook, you’d never have known that this photo was taken on a day that I cried for hours due to thinking I was a hopeless failure and a lost cause.
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And here, you’d never know that I was furious at myself for dying my blonde hair brown; I spent almost all morning in the shower viciously trying to wash the dye out.  

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This is a message of proof. Of shame. Of work that needs to be done on acceptance, both globally and personally. Had I not cared about people seeing my tear-reddened eyes, I wouldn’t have needed to change the picture of me and dog from color into black and white, and If I didn’t like my brown hair, why did I put on a smile to “show it off” on Facebook? What’s wrong with the gritty, the real, the truth?

With the natural-foods fad, whatever happened to loving natural bodies? Misshapen farm-fresh apples that prove they have not been genetically modified are highly sought, yet wrinkles are often shamed.

"Please don't retouch my wrinkles. It took me so long to earn them." Anna Magnani

Please don’t retouch my wrinkles; It took me so long to earn them – Anna Magnani

Flawed skin is often slaughtered by aggressive medication.

"A man in love mistakes a pimple for a dimple." Japanese Proverb

“A man in love mistakes a pimple for a dimple.” Japanese Proverb

Cellulite is deemed unsightly, but, as Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Remember, “A woman may develop wrinkles and cellulite, lose her waistline, her bustline, her ability to bear a child, even her sense of humor, but none of that implies a loss of her sexuality, her femininity.”

"A woman may develop wrinkles and cellulite, lose her waistline, her bustline, her ability to bear a child, even her sense of humor, but none of that implies a loss of her sexuality, her femininity."

Stretch marks have a whole battalion of lotions and potions fighting them – some people even resort to tattooing the scarred skin to camouflage the lines – but when they appear, repeat to yourself, “Your body’s not ruined, you’re a goddamn tiger who’s earned her stripes!”

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And with that, I conclude that acceptance boils down to gratitude:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

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