TED Talk English Learning Lesson
Cameron Russell: 
Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model

In this English learning lesson, Cameron Russell, an American fashion model, talks about her image and why her looks aren't what you might imagine.

Cameron has been modeling for more than 10 years and has been featured in the international editions of Vogue magazine and in ads for famous brands like Benetton, Luis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent. She has also been a runway model for Victoria Secret, Chanel, Versace and numerous other famous designers.

In this TED Talk, Cameron talks about how powerful image can be but also why image isn't everything. She also answers some of the popular questions that people ask her.

Time to practice your English comprehension. Don't worry, the video is less than 10 minutes long and if you have trouble understanding you will have some learning aids: 

Instructions for this English learning lesson:

1. Watch the video below.
2. Take the quiz to test your comprehension.
3. Read the transcript for further practice.
4. Watch the video again with the translation in your language if you need additional help understanding the video. The video is currently translated in 35 languages!
5. Leave comments on what you think about the video.
6. “Rinse and repeat” (= do the steps over again) if you want additional practice.

English learning lesson step #2: Quiz 

Let's see what you were able to understand. This is a really short quiz to check your understanding of the video.

Click here to take the short quiz


English learning lesson step #3: Review the transcript/translation 

Cameron Russell

Hi. My name is Cameron Russell, and for the last little while I've been a model. Actually, for 10 years. And I feel like there's an uncomfortable tension in the room right now because I should not have worn this dress. (Laughter)

So luckily I brought an outfit change. This is the first outfit change on the TED stage, so you guys are pretty lucky to witness it, I think.

If some of the women were really horrified when I came out, you don't have to tell me now, but I'll find out later on Twitter. (Laughter)

I'd also note that I'm quite privileged to be able to transform what you think of me in a very brief 10 seconds. Not everybody gets to do that. These heels are very uncomfortable, so good thing I wasn't going to wear them.

The worst part is putting this sweater over my head, because that's when you'll all laugh at me, so don't do anything while it's over my head.

All right.

So why did I do that? That was awkward.

Well, hopefully not as awkward as that picture. Image is powerful, but also image is superficial. I just totally transformed what you thought of me in six seconds.

And in this picture, I had actually never had a boyfriend in real life. I was totally uncomfortable, and the photographer was telling me to arch my back and put my hand in that guy's hair.

And of course, barring surgery, or the fake tan that I got two days ago for work, there's very little that we can do to transform how we look, and how we look, though it is superficial and immutable, has a huge impact on our lives.

Click here for the full transcript and instructions for how to see the translation. 


Your Turn to Practice Writing

Now’s your turn to practice your writing skills!

Remember that repetition and practice are keys to improving your English. Take a moment to share what you thought of the video. It's super easy. Just fill in the form below.


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You can also watch this video on Ted Talks's website.

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