Q+A with Cameron Russell


Photo Angelo Pennetta for The New York Times ‘T’ Magazine

“Becoming a model was very counter-culture for my background, which is hyper-liberal, academic, and feminist. Some people were definitely horrified…but it was a blessing and allowed me to pay for college and have the freedom to work on projects of my choosing…

Cameron Russell is editor of the participatory Interrupt magazine & director of a grassroots public art organisation called The Big Bad Lab as well as a successful fashion model. She was one of a few young women I worked with on a Craig McDean shoot in NY back in something like 2006, and again, when she was one of a few on a John Frieda commercial with director Jake Nava.

It wasn’t until I saw her Ted Talk (below) that I actually saw her, because even though I’ve spent my entire adult life around models on a fairly intimate level, I am guilty at times of being distracted by their otherworldly appearance, perhaps not quite bothering to find the time to see ‘a person’ as I would someone who’s currency was not ‘just physical’ at that moment in time.

Growing up in the fashion industry, I’ve observed how a select few become superstars whilst still in their early twenties, before they’ve even truly grown up as people, before getting the opportunities that create an environment in which to garner any sense of their real selves, never occupying any space without continual projection based on their looks alone. Models- who are they? Cameron models for a living, and what’s more interesting is that she both embraces, and explores the projection.


 1. What is your earliest beauty memory?

Cameron meeting President Clinton as a girl.

Cameron meeting President Clinton as a girl.

My mom didn’t talk about beauty when I was a kid. She did that on purpose because she wanted us to value ourselves and others for attributes besides beauty.

2. I feel most beautiful when…….

I’m wearing a piece of clothing that’s my absolute favorite. Like these baggy black jeans that have a shape I love, or this bright blue sweater that is a beautiful color. They are familiar and I always feel confident in them.

3. When you were a child, what was your Mother’s beauty routine?

My mom didn’t really pay much attention to beauty. Her only make-up was this little tin of kohl (black eye liner) and when she went out to a party or special event she’d use a bit on her eyes.

4 Is make-up a chore or a delight?

Cameron PRADAI don’t wear make up when I’m not working. But when I am at work sometimes it is pretty amazing to see how transformative make-up can be. At Work:

It’s also lovely to work with people who are passionate about make-up because they’ll have all these amazing references and ideas and characters they want to build, and I get to be part of that.

Cmeron Russell on ThandieKay.com

Cameron Russell on ThandieKay.com


Cameron Russell on ThandieKay.com

5. Did your father refer to your Mother’s beauty, and how?

Launch event for Interrupt Magazine

Launch event for Interrupt Magazine

My mom loves textiles, and she’s an avid knitter and seamstress so my dad would always compliment her handiwork and style.

6. What’s been your worst beauty mishap (or simply a memorable one)?

I’ve bleached my eyebrows on various occasions (most recently two weeks ago backstage at Prada) and usually it’s no big deal (they’re back to normal now!) But one time when I was a teenager I bleached them on a job and the team decided they didn’t like the look so we died them back, but they weren’t the right color and we died them two more times. Then they started to break off and fall out. I looked pretty crazy with thinned out super orange-y eyebrows for a while!

7. If you could give one beauty gift what would it be?

I wish I could pass on the gift my mother gave to me, which is not to worry too much about how you look. She always appreciated clothing, and I even remember her talking about some movie star whose hair she loved once. But it never was more important than being happy and healthy.

8. What’s the craziest place you’ve ever done your make-up in?

Where to start….on a glacier in Alaska, in a dust storm, in the back of many vans, RVs, cars, and tents, and of course backstage at a show with 3 people doing my make up and 4 people doing hair … in less than 5 minutes!

Victoria's Secret, Balmain & Isabel Marant

Victoria’s Secret, Balmain & Isabel Marant

Cameron's Interrupt Magazine

Cameron’s Interrupt Magazine

Cameron Russell Victoria’s Secret model, Cameron Russell at Balmain, Cameron Russell at Isabel Marant

Cameron Russell’s Interrup Magazine

9. What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry?

More diversity. Media that reflects and includes all people.

10. When was the last time your mascara ran, and why?

Yesterday, I changed my make-up too many times, ow!





See Cameron’s participatory Interrupt Magazine here

Check out The Big Bad Lab project here

Follow Cameron on twitter here



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