Well I’m not a model, but Cameron Russell is.
As I’ve been thinking about preaching I read an article that made some comparisons between sermons and TED talks. Not knowing what a TED’s talk was I looked into them. Not only did I find some talks that communicate a message very clearly, I found some fascinating content. Which brings us back to Cameron Russel and a TED talk she did (available here). Cameron is a model and has had her photo in lots of magazines, advertising material etc… I guess in terms of ‘image’ Cameron is the picture of ‘perfection’–that’s why the talk had authenticity. But all is not as it appears to be.
Firstly while ‘image’ is powerful, for Cameron image is also superficial. Image influences what you think of others, but we all know that is superficial as we are all more than our ‘image’. Further, the two reasons Cameron got to be a model, add to the superficial nature of image. The reasons (her words):
- She won a genetic lottery; and
- She is a benefit of a legacy.
In other words most of the world is never even in the game to achieve the ‘perfect image’. Ouch. So the society holds out an image of ‘perfection’ to which most of us can never ever reach. Cruel.
Yet Cameron’s assessment of the superficial images goes deeper when she states that these photos aren’t her, but a “construction” of her. I guess some might say: Yes, but surely it’s still her? It’s not someone else!
I think Cameron’s point is that in fact her image does become someone else, as she says “these pictures are not of me” (6 mins, 15 seconds), the images are constructions made by a group of professionals, hair stylists, make-up artists, etc… and so the images are the projection of this team rather than Cameron herself. This is to say nothing of the amount of resources which are required to produce such images–resources which hardly any of us have.
It is then no wonder that Cameron admits to feelings of insecurity.
What I found interesting was that because Cameron’s identity is built on ‘image’, as a consequence image is always on her mind, she is always conscious of it. For if image is not up to scratch (and everyone knows image is fleeting) her job as a model, her identity as that perfect image is over.
At Largs we’ve just finished a series on “the church”, which is another way of talking about who we are in Christ–i.e. our identity. Being “in Christ” is to be the basis, and firm foundation, of our identity. To most modern westerners to find yourself in another is weird (and perhaps offensive) as I follow ‘my own way’ and ‘my heart’. However through our series we seen those in Christ have an identity which is neither superficial nor transitory, for its eternal. Such a firm foundation is an encouragement in this broken world but also a great calling to live up to.