10-year-old Vogue model: Pretty or pretty weird?


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Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau is 10, but an issue of French Vogue, in which she wears heavy makeup, stilettos and a come-hither look has stirred up an adult-sized controversy.

The images of Thylane, which appeared in the magazine’s December/January issue but were brought back into the spotlight in a ‘Good Morning America’ segment on Thursday, are firing arguments about the sexualization of young girls. Some see it as part of an overall recent trend toward younger models. (Although one might argue that it is hard for a young girl to get a break, given all the fortysomething movie stars hogging covers nowadays.)


Still, two young film stars have recently gone the modeling route: Elle Fanning, at 13, is the star of the Marc by Marc Jacobs fall campaign, and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, the wholesome-looking star of ‘True Grit,’ signed a deal with Miu Miu. Actresses Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried and Lindsay Lohan also started their careers as young models. And just this week Kardashian sibling Kendall Jenner, 15, landed a swimsuit modeling contract.

More photos: Young models

And of course there are other children making their marks, with teen blogger Tavi Gevinson and seamstress Cecilia Cassini (who was 10 when she ventured into the public eye) stirring up fashion waves behind the scenes.

Thylane, who already has an impressive modeling portfolio, is the daughter of Patrick Blondeau, a former soccer star, and Veronika Loubry, a former French TV personality and the source of Thylane’s great cheekbones.

Perhaps we’ve seen this all before (think Brooke Shields in ‘Pretty Baby’) but the outcry over Thylane’s Vogue photo shoot -- with comments of outrage sounding on the Internet -- has refreshed the debate.

In Britain, which recently implemented a government initiative to restrict the sexualization of children in the media, a spokesman for the Mothers’ Union reacted to the Vogue shoot, telling the Daily Mail, ‘Photo shoots requiring her, a 10-year-old-girl, to dress in full make-up, teetering heels and a dress with a cleavage cut to the waist across her pre-pubescent body deny Blondeau the right to be the child she is.’


There’s something more than ironic about all this, coming as it does just after an international crackdown on child pornography led by the U.S. Justice and Homeland Security departments.

It’s unlikely that then-Vogue Paris editor Corinne Roitfeld (since replaced by Emmanuelle Alt) would think this is porn, but it is very likely she and guest editor fashion designer Tom Ford wanted to be provocative ... and succeeded.

What do you think? Should children be featured in sexy high fashion shoots?

[Updated Aug. 5 at 4:45 p.m. An earlier version of this post said Alt was editor of Vogue Paris when the fashion spread appeared. It was Corinne Roitfeld, whom Alt replaced earlier this year.]


The Tao of Tavi Gevinson

Fifth-grade fashion designer Cecilia Cassini

-- Susan Denley and Amy Hubbard