Cameron Russell has become one of the leaders of the #MeToo movement in the fashion industry, after shining a light on abuse by industry professionals and spearheading change through sharing anonymous experiences from models on her Instagram feed.
Russell began modelling as a part-time profession in 2003. Initially she was signed with Ford Models, but she later moved to DNA Model Management and eventually settled with the Elite Model Management in 2011. She has walked for Chanel, Versace, Prada, Victoria’s Secret and Louis Vuitton among others. Russell has appeared on the covers of various international editions of Vogue, i-D Magazine and Porter Magazine, as well as in editorials for Love Magazine, Numéro and Interview. She has also fronted advertising campaigns for Miu Miu , Tiffany & Co and Ralph Lauren .
Following allegations against Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein from a number of actresses, Russell began receiving anonymous messages of models recounting sexual assault and abuse experiences in the fashion industry. Under the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse, Russell began posting her friends’ experiences in her Instagram feed as a call to action for the fashion industry to enact change, swiftly becoming one of the faces of the #MeToo movement with over 30 posts. The hashtag quickly gained traction with stories told of models facing pressure, sometimes reaching the extreme of rape. Eventually high profile models such as Kate Upton and Sara Sampaio picked up on the hashtag, sharing similar narratives. This snowballed into a movement that ousted names such as Terry Richardson, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber from their high rungs as some of fashion’s most recognised photographers.
The model has used her social media platforms for political activism before. In 2012, her TED talk propelled her into the limelight, where in an honest and blunt 9-minute lecture, Russell described the flaws of the fashion industry and how dangerous of an environment it is for young women to find themselves in. The video has over 14 million views on YouTube and is ranked one of the 20 most-viewed TED talks to date. Russell also campaigns for more sustainable practices in the fashion industry and raises money for the arts and LGBTQ youth. In 2019, Russell announced her role in the emerging investigative news platform, The Correspondent, as a founding member and ambassador.