Russell at the New York Fashion Week, 2014.
June 14, 1987 |
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Eye color||Dark Brown|
When I first lived in a model apartment… It was two bunk beds to a room, and the bathroom was constantly in use. I was bringing in Lucky Charms cereal, and one day an agent put a stop to that. She said, 'You're making all the girls fat.' They took it off our grocery order. That was the most dramatic thing that happened.
Lately I've been feeling like 50 percent of the great content I read comes from Twitter conversations.
For the past few centuries, we have defined beauty as tall, slender figures, femininity and white skin.
Becoming a model was very counter-culture for my background, which is hyper-liberal, academic and feminist.
Modelling is no better or worse than many other professions, but it is more obvious, more accessible.
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 would be the first one.
I'm not promoting anything totally unhealthy because I'm not unhealthy. But I am promoting an ideal that's not attainable, and for that I have to feel guilty. I have to assume some blame for that.
If someone has the opportunity to become a model, I would say, 'Do it.'
The barrier to entry, to being a model, is not hard work. You don't need a degree. You don't need to win an award. It's just about how you look.
It's going to sound ridiculous, but knowing how to pose, how to maintain a level of engagement and variation for a day of shooting, is actually a skill.
Saying you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying you want to win the Powerball when you grow up. It's awesome, and it's out of your control, and it's not a career path.
I always wanted to become president! When I was a kid, I was obsessed with politics.
Modeling is one of the few professions where women out-earn men, and that's because we're more valuable objects and ornaments.
A ton of little girls I talk to, they want to be actresses or singers or models.
When I gave a talk at TEDx, I thought that if I did a good job, the video might go viral.
In 2007, a very inspired New York University Ph.D. student counted all the models on the runway, every single one that was hired, and of the 677 models that were hired, only 27, or less than four per cent, were non-white.
My last two years of high school, I think I went to Burger King every day for lunch.
I usually decide what to wear in the morning, but sometimes, I'll have a favorite coat or sweater or shoes, and I'll wear them everyday for a week!
Usually, TED only invites the most accomplished and famous people in the world to give talks.
My first day of high school, I wore brown boys' corduroys that my mom had sewn Sesame Street elastic into – they were my coolest pants – and a lime green Patagonia fleece that my mom found at Goodwill. I loved fleece.
I've had a few conversations with people who are horrified: who tell me my work is demeaning, is sexist, is negative.
My mum never told me that I was beautiful when I was a kid – and I didn't read magazines or watch MTV, so I had no real consciousness about it all.
Women are often worried about how they look, and that's not superficial. We know that our appearance has nothing to do with how smart, creative, or hardworking we are, but it plays powerfully into what society decides we are worth.
The rise of the Internet and the camera phone have started to change what stories are accessible.
When you're looking through a magazine, you'd think every single person's a different person, but every third girl is actually the same girl in a different outfit and makeup.
Statistics show that diversity in the media is pretty dismal. Critical voices from women and people of color are missing from many important conversations.
The real way I became a model is I won a genetic lottery, and I became the recipient of a legacy.
I think it's cooler when girls have favorite pieces of clothing rather than an entirely new wardrobe every few months.
If I ever had needed to put together a CV, it would be quite short. Like many young people, I'd highlight my desire to work hard.
If you are ever wondering, 'If I have thinner thighs and shinier hair will I be happier?' you just need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they're the most physically insecure women on the planet.
Sometimes, great collaboration is hard to nurture online, so doing so offline is the way to go.
Like many young people, I believe I have potential to make a positive impact in the world.
I have no idea what advantages I truly get, but I know people talk to me and give me time of day because they like how I look.
My style is definitely not ladylike – frills and bows kinda scare me – but I like the military look because I love that olive green khaki color.
In the history of the world, all five mass extinctions have been accompanied by massive climate change, so we are facing an incredibly serious threat. In fact, we are technically in the sixth mass extinction right now, and it is the first mass extinction being attributed to humans.
At the Big Bad Lab, we build participatory art and media platforms for causes, communities and organizations we care about.
Once you are a model, you do have to fly a million red-eye flights, and you do have to entertain a different client every single day.
We can't just pay attention to women who look fantastic in a photograph, because there are a lot of people that have fantastic things to say that don't look like 25-year-old white models.
When I was 16, I definitely burned a couple of bridges by saying, 'I won't do this!' I was not diplomatic about it. I came to a fitting and was like, 'I don't wear fur; cancel this show!'
Even if I did give a good talk, is what I have to say more important and interesting than what Colin Powell said?