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. Steve

    Let's look at Brook Shields. There were many suggestive photos taken of her at around the age of this girl and Brook was completely nude in many of them. She turned out fine in the end. I personally think that as long as this little girl is having fun and not being pushed into a life that robs her of her youth, I don't see a problem.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • sciihs1958

      you like to look, don't you Steve?

      August 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • b0bc@t

      If you remember, Brooke Shields became somewhat of a pariah after the Blue Lagoon movie and her parents villified as promoters of child objectification. I wonder if she is fine because the photos had no effect on her, or because a fortune was spent in analysis to correct her psyche. We should protect the innocence of childhood, not make it part of the naughty / nice image that is engulfing today's youth to make 14 – 16 year olds look like they are thirty.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Against Corporate America

    WHAT IN THE WORLD - clearly child abuse

    August 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kristin

    Sorry, France, the world doesn't get satirical humor. I gets what your saying; but perhaps an article slamming the industry's lust for youth over mature models would have been better to accompany a spread shot. Additionally, placing a more properly aged woman on your cover rather than a sixteen year old would have further made your criticism of youthful models in a mag targeted for mid20s-50s.

    August 17, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. sc2003

    steve you child molestation pervert when you have a little girl of your own at that age i bet you'd be saying something different

    August 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ella

      Oh no, sc2003, he'll break her in.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myrtlekid

      or maybe he'd have his daughter taken away

      September 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gil

    This is really sick and it should be aginst the law I have 4 girls myself and would kill anyone who even thought about it and the parents of these girls should be in jail for allowing it

    August 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |

    well its not as scary as the child beauty pageants

    August 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kim

    That's sultry? I call it vacant.

    August 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
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