Saturday, April 12, 2008

When is young, too young?

Chanel Iman started walking down
the runway at the young age of 16.
Photograph by Christopher Peterson

Walking down the runway, there's the regular top models: Gemma Ward - 20, Hilary Rhoda - 21, Agyness Deyn - 25, and then there's the occasional Maddison Gabriel - 13. Wait a second. 13 years old?! Many people might raise their eyebrow when they hear this. I certainly did. But is 12-13 really too young?

Top model and one of the world's first supermodels, Janice Dickinson, argues against young girls modeling. "There's lots of drugs, there's lot of alcohol, there's lot's of photographers preying on these girls." Listening to that I would say that pre-teens and even girls up to 18 are too young to model. But what about Kimora Lee Simmons? Didn't she have a contract with Chanel at the age of 13? How come people never make a big deal about her?

Another issue about young models is the growing fear of eating disorders. There actually have been deaths amongst the models and that's when we all know that something is wrong. Even though there's such a huge controversy over skinny models, Karl Lagerfeld claims, "We don't see anorexic (girls). The girls are skinny, they have skinny bones." On the other hand, Vogue's editor, Anna Wintour is said to be sick of skinny models. Now going back to the main subject. If a young teen gets thrown into the fashion industry, are there chances of her developing an eating disorder? Highly possible, but some argue that since they aren't fully developed women, there is no reason to worry about their size and weight.

In my opinion, I think their should be a certain age requirement and if the model's too young, she just won't be able to model till they grow up. There's a lot of issues on the line such as sexuality, health problems, and too much stress that models might suffer in the fashion industry. However, I still wonder in awe when I see girls that are just 15 that are beautiful and know how to model. They have talent, no doubt about it, but are they presenting it at too young of an age? Well this debate may take a long time...


Lil Midget said...

And then there was Monika Jagaciak, the 14 yr old Polish model. I think these children look gorgeous, but it's eerie seeing them all dolled up strutting the runway in adult clothes. I say they should start high fashion modelling at at least 18. Any younger, maybe for teen clothes.

Filey belle said...

It seems everytime a 12 or 13yo achieves something in connection to Modeling it is compared in the Media to the past issues on anerexia and the high fashion catwalk scene. The fact is this is a Contest Win and the opportunity for this young lady to progress with it appears the support of her Parent.

14yo Monika Jagaciak progressed well in Modeling, 13yo Camila Finn was discovered by Ford Models, Adriana Lima began at 13, I believe Daniela Borges was also 13.

I am never ceased to be amazed at how people can confuse teens modeling with the problems caused by High Fashion Designers and Top Fashion Magazines like Vogue who previously encouraged images of unrealisticly thin models. In a world where Child Obesity and Kids going off the rails are issues, we should be encouraging the enthusiastic young talents who wish to progress, surely it is no different to those who aspire to be Gymnasts? If the background environments within Top Modeling is an issue then surely it is for the industry to clean up it’s act and not just ban youngsters.

In addition I also see many many youngsters paying to join 'So Called' online Talent Profile sites placing the minimum of info and expecting to become a star with barely any input, some of these youngsters are unsupervised on the net and in their hurry to be a Model or a Disney Star they actually place personal contact information in the forums, now I consider that more of a scary issue than that of Maddison Gabriel.