August 5th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

Media firestorm surrounds 10-year-old's suggestive fashion shoot

A 10-year-old model's low-cut dress, stiletto heels, heavy makeup and sultry gaze in a Vogue Paris fashion editorial has raised some eyebrows around the Web.

Lots of little girls dress up in their mothers' heels and dresses, but photos of Thylane Loubry Blondeau dolled up to look like a grown woman are, to some, just too convincing. "Creepy" and "weird" are among the more common words used in the headlines that have cropped up regarding the fashion editorial.

The photos actually ran months ago, in Vogue Paris' December/January issue, and they received some criticism at the time. But the images of Blondeau - the daughter of a fashion designer and a former soccer player - have recently ignited the blogosphere in a debate about what is and isn't appropriate treatment for child stars, though it's unclear why the photos are just now receiving so much media attention.

The Los Angeles Times addressed the photos in an article Friday headlined, "10-year-old Vogue model: Pretty or pretty weird?" The New York Daily News wrote Thursday, "Thylane Loubry Blondeau photos: 10-year-old model's sultry Vogue spread sparks controversy," and the International Business Times dubbed the images a "sexualized photo spread."

In the pictorial, Blondeau appeared with other child models dressed in adult clothing, wearing heavy makeup and sporting shoes, furs and jewelry that were clearly too big for their diminutive bodies. At the time the pictures came out and were met with moderate outrage, Jenna Sauers wrote a post for Jezebel, a blog dedicated to "celebrity, sex, and fashion ... without airbrushing," that added some context to the photos.

Many of fashion's most famous faces got their starts well before they were adults, Sauers wrote. As opposed to taking a 14-year-old and making her look convincingly like an adult, the Vogue Paris spread created a satirical image of youth in the fashion industry by being clear that the models were actually children.

"But it's also obvious from the over-the-top styling and the overall lurid quality that this story is a parody and a critique of the fashion industry's unhealthy interest in young girls, not an endorsement or a glamourization of it," Sauers wrote.

She noted that some of modeling's biggest names - Kate Moss, Brooke Shields, Giselle Bundchen, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington - got their starts between the ages of 12 and 14. The difference is that it was rarely or never made obvious that they were children.

Sauers also pointed out that the cover model for the issue featuring Blondeau's pictures is 16-year-old Daphne Groeneveld, but few if any have taken issue with her adult appearance.

Joining the more recent conversation, Sauers reinforced her opinion about the photo spread but noted that Blondeau's entire body of work does, in fact, reflect the hypersexualization of models who are too young to be viewed in such mature light.

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Filed under: Child safety • France
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. sean

    Didnt Brooke Shields do the same thing 30 years ago? The world didnt end then it wont now. This stuff gets press attention because of the headlines reporters make up to go with the story. Stories are not news.

    August 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      The difference between 30 years ago and today? Brooke Shields didn't have to worry about the Pedobear.

      August 8, 2011 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • AnnieCee

      I think Brook Shields was a remarkably level-headed young woman. I don't remember hearing scandalous stories about her when she was a teenager. She didn't end up in rehab that I know of. It seems she's been especially mature. Which happens sometimes when the parents aren't. I was surprised at how she turned out because Brook's mother seemed to make odd choices for her daughter, IMO.

      August 30, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dr Ernest Hajcar

    Toddlers and Tiara's same stupidity different idiots.

    August 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. what about bob

    well..hes nuttier than a fruitcake.

    August 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ms. Banasy

    @Dr Ernest Hajcar:
    True. Anyone remember poor JonBenet Ramsey?
    Scmexualization of children is rampant, and just plain wrong.

    Wrong place to put your opinion, which doesn't mean crap, anyway...pun intended.

    August 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tea Party has no Coffee truth: COLIN POWELL > naked in Alsaka

    "Wall Street has never been more sure that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will rally in 2011, even after speculation the U.S. economy is heading for a recession" > COWBOY WANT TO KEEP all advantages like Gold mining in South Africa and precious metals in Afghanistan...

    August 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alaska

    Where cowboys on trial need good friends like COLIN... and his claims of "rainbow America"

    August 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sherriw

    Boy! It sure is hard too grow up and be a child now a days. Sad;-]

    August 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      It is easier that it was before the 20th century.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ms. Banasy

    What the hell is the matter with the posters today?
    Is everybody drunk?

    August 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Mmmm drunk... Need a little more hydration first.. Then color me well on the way..

      August 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Well......

    Is it Ms. Banasy, or Mrs. Banasy? I suppose you are like my sister who gets a kick out'a keeping people confused. Anyway I hope you are having fun!

    August 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. faboge

    people are mentally ill... some blames Obama for this lol

    August 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Scuba

    @faboge: It's totally Obama's fault.. lol Considering the sick world we live in I think it's time for the sane people to take the reigns away from the idiots.

    August 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Janet

    Not funny, people. This is sick, and it's how things begin to be regarded as acceptable and appropriate. Sick parents and fashion world wackos.

    August 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ms. Banasy

    Actually, it's Mrs. Banasy, but Ms. Banasy just rolls off the tongue better.
    (Usually it's just banasy, but somebody keeps trolling me!)
    Most everyone here knows I'm married.
    I *always* have fun here, I hope you do, too!

    August 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ms. Banasy

    Dirty martinis, I hope?
    Ya know, a cold one does sound good right now...I'll be right back!

    August 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Well......

    There aren't too many 10 yr olds that mimic adults, they prefer to mimic 16 and 17 year old sisters, but if they were trying to mimic adults they couldn't do it this well on their own. and as for the pose–it wouldn't even occure to them, at least not the average 10 yr old. This is parents taking advantage of their kids for monitary gain and ruining the kids childhood.

    August 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
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