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. gumby

    A good cold one sounds really good. Might need a few to get in tune with these posters. Modeling has always started young. However toddlers and tiaras is plane nuts. Let's the children be children.

    August 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Well......

    @ Banasy, does it help to control trolls?

    August 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ms. Banasy

    No, not really, but there are some who actually think some of the trolls' posts are mine....

    August 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ajd041

    @ banasy in another blog u admitted to trolling people to gain favor for your own posts just saying and the poster thing ehhh france is a weird country they let u c nude people in advertisements (yay)

    August 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ajd041

    Wow I have a troll I didn't make that post thank god I just got on but I do agree on the note that france is a weird country

    August 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ms. Banasy

    Uhhh, no, that was a troll.
    See what I mean?

    August 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ms. Banasy

    That was a troll saying that he takes other people's names.
    I have been banasy for many years.
    The troll takes the most memorable names he can.
    That's all.
    Don't buy into what the troll says.
    Don't feed the trolls.
    discerning people can tell the difference.

    August 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. yada

    The parents are to blame! Discusting!

    August 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mad Hatter

    @banasy. Hello. Its been awhile. Hope all is well. As for the topic at hand – are they that desperate to make 10 year olds look like adults? Looks perverted.

    August 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. eg

    just food for pedophiles..

    August 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. eg


    August 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    So they dress kids like aduls & pose them provocatively to Oppose this type of use of children!? I don't think it's working & it's hard to fathom that the mother of the girl, Thylane, is in the fashion industry & Still lets her kid do these photo shoots! That's so irresponsible! S.e.x.ualization of kids is just plain wrong! There are enough perverts out there, they dont need to be provoked & fed! Recently there was controversy over a YouTube video of 8 year old girls in skimpy outfits, at a cheer leading rehearsal! Same thing, parents supposed to be in control, approved the outfits, but people who saw the video were disgusted! 4-6 year olds don't need pushup bras, 8 year olds don't need to shake their asses in skimpy outfits & 10 year olds should be modeling in age appropriate mags! It doesn't matter what Brooke Shields did! Just my opinion!!

    August 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm


      August 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Brooke Shields, having been an exploited little girl by her mother, has said she does not agree with what was done to her and would not do it to her child. I think that a kid who went through it is more likely to have a clue than I do.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HIKER

    @ Fernace....well said and Brooke Sheilds was dressed conservativly compared to these kids *hands down*
    Right on all points, especially the peadophiles. Parent not only have to fight against them but the advertising media as well!

    August 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. raven

    Why cant little girls just be little girls in ANY context ?

    August 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Laislinn

    And people wonder why pedophilia is so rampant in our society! I'm SICK of this type of display. I have an 11 mo old girl and I will NEVER put her in heels and make up to parade her around like a slave to be bought on the market. That's exactly what these parents are doing with their children. They are hoping they can make money and get paid off of their child. It's Freaking BULLS*&it!!!! AND those parent should be charged with Child Engangerment and/or abuse.
    I can't even begin to describe how disgusting and pathetic it is to do that to your child. WHY aren't Child protective services looking into these kinds of things???
    Our children have enough to deal with; they shouldn't have to deal with inadequate, insecure, irreverent parents that are trying to use them as income generators too.

    August 5, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      We don't need you to describe it. Pretty much everyone feels the same way. Childhood, though, ended around 14 for the middle class and never existed for the poor up until the 20th Century. My mom had to drop out of school and go to work at 13 and my Dad at 11. That is not even a hundred years ago. As disgusting as some things are, and should be gotten rid of, kids are still safer today than even 50 years ago. It was not illegal to paw your daughters and work them hard and beat them for disobedience with threats of even more when I was a child in the 50's and 60's. Everything we now feel about children came after that. We need to find a way to get everyone on board this radically modern idea that anyone under 18 is a baby.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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