World Cup model fan in hunting controversy

06:22, Jul 11 2014
BRUTAL BACKLASH: The hunting photo which has cost 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelaere her high-profile modelling gig.

Plucked from obscurity, 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelaere has just scored a lucrative modelling contract after a photo of her cheering for her team at the World Cup went viral across the world. 

No longer just a face in the crowd, the Belgian beauty has signed a contract to become one of the stars of a global cosmetics brand.

It follows hot on the heels of otherwise unknown ridiculously photogenic people who have been propelled by social media to internet stardom. 

PLUCKED FROM THE CROWD: The 17-year-old shot to social media stardom during the World Cup to score a deal with L'Oreal.

Her public success may be shortlived however, as a photo has emerged of the teenager hunting big game in Africa, a pastime that has tarnished the reputation of other public faces.

The 17-year-old is already facing the realities of her global image, with a barrage of social media criticisim levelled at her for posting photos of her hunting the Oryx Gazelle in Africa.

"Hunting is not a matter of life or death. It's much more important than that," she said on her Facebook page.


L'Oreal, which has come under critcism for testing comestics on animals in China, has been contacted for comment.

The photo which brought Despiegelaere to the attention of  L'Oreal executives was taken as she cheered on Belgium during the group stages of the World Cup decked out in a Belgian horn hat, and smeared with patriotic face paint.

Riding a wave of popularity after the photo of her in the stands was picked up by the Twittersphere, an Axelle Despiegelaere Facebook fan page was set up and amassed over 200,000 likes in little over a week. 

Despite her fairytale success, her new found celebrity has its pitfalls. 

In a research paper in the Journal of Phenomonelogical Psycholoy, David Rockwell argued that overnight success stories such as Ms Despiegelare, are likely to experience a radical shift in their lives that breeds "faux intimacy", and a constant juggling of the public image and the self.

Dr Rockwell argues that the new found fame, particularly at such a young age, may lead to depersonalisation and isolation. 

It is not yet known how much Despiegelaere's contract with L'Oreal is worth. 

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Sydney Morning Herald