This excellent, short (hooray!) TED talk from model Cameron Russell is filled with great bits of insight and info. Here's a taste:
The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy. 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.
Jenna already wrote about the talk itself — and it's definitely worth watching if you haven't — but Russell followed it up with a piece on CNN's website today. This time, she asked for help. She noted that her talk has been viewed four times more than Colin Powell's talk from the same event. She asks, "Even if I did give a good talk, is what I have to say more important and interesting than what Colin Powell said?" It's a good question.