Meet French supermodel Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau. She's landed a Vogue cover, turned down work with Ralph Lauren and posed with a $3 million necklace. And she's only 10 years old.
Although modelling since the age of four, it is only recently that a storm started to brew around the girl, after US TV shows broadcast pictures from a December Vogue editorial show her posing in high heels, wearing heavy make-up.
Although the shoot is somewhat of a homage to kids playing dress-ups in their mother's closets, the images have re-ignited concern over sexualisation of children in the media.
"This isn't edgy. It's inappropriate, and creepy, and I never want to see a nine-year-old girl in high-heeled leopard print bedroom slippers ever again," wrote Chloe Angyal, editor of Feminsting.com.
Meanwhile, Koa Beck at parenting blog Mommyish says, "These photographs of Thylane are inappropriate because they not only suggest the presence of an adult viewer, inciting "come hither" stares and pouty lips, but they also invite said viewer to regard her as having an adult's sexuality.
The child model's parents are Patrick Blondeau, a former soccer player, and glamorous Véronika Loubry, a former TV presenter and fashion designer and reality TV star.
According to Ms Loubry, the criticism of her daughter's photo shoots is unwarranted. Speaking with French website jeanmarcmorandini.com, she said, [translated from French] "These photos are from December! It's quite surprising they resurfaced after 7 months ... Specifically, the only thing that shocks me about this photo is the necklace she wears, which is 3 million!"
Ms Loubry claims that she ensures her daughter has a typical life for a girl her age. "We have refused 10 film projects, a campaign for Ralph Lauren ... I refuse to three-quarters of the things suggested. For now, she leads a normal life, and his 15 years, she will decide if it is actually her job."
Other commentators question the effects that posing as an adult has on a young girl.
On Melinda Tankard Reist's blog, Nina Funnell writes, "How does the photo session impact on them? What precautions- if any- did the photographers, stylists and make-up artists put in place to protect the kids? Did they explain it was just 'fun dress-ups' for a day? And even if they did, what's to stop a six year old from walking away with the message that when they look older and dress in a more sexual manner they get more praise, attention and money compared to when they look like their every day self?"
- Sydney Morning Herald
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