Nyasha Matonhodze: Louis Vuitton’s teenage dream

It’s astounding at times to revel in the moments we live those tender teen years with such accepted monotony, a high tolerance for inactivity and a blueprint for what social cultures and peer groups expect: drink, drugs and an unruly mop of hair.

But when you stand with such statuesque allure at 5’11, turn up to a casting in your school uniform and win a competition for being stupidly beautiful and generally perfect at 16 (an age reserved for being ravaged with breakouts and an unhealthy BBM addiction), only then to be taken under the wing of fashion mastermind Katie Grand; you’re not the average ‘waste man’.

Welcome to 16-year-old Nyasha Matonhodze’s stellar life – one already filled with stylish runway strides for the likes of Louise Gray, Clements Ribeiro and Jonathan Saunders.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe by her grandmother, Nyasha joined her mother to begin life in Britain aged eight. But it was entering, and ultimately winning, the Elite Model Look competition in 2009 that landed her in the modelling spotlight.

Gazelle-like with piercing eyes and striking features, it’s no surprise directional designers were eager to cast this pretty young thing.

Snapped up to join a league of fresh-faced, gap-toothed super-beauties in Louis Vuitton’s latest autumn/winter 2011 campaign (shot by Steven Meisel), the industry newcomer appears particularly seasoned and rather unruffled by the eminence of the fashion house she’s representing – something that also struck Katie Grand, mega-stylist and editor of Love magazine, the cover of which Nyasha graces for fall 2011.

Positioned gracefully peering out of the window of an antique motor, wrapped in Louis Vuitton’s luxury new-season offerings and surrounded by an adorable brood of pure-bred dogs, Nyasha is leading the way for young model recruits after being placed in the elite band of ‘young faces’, replacing modelling veterans like Raquel Zimmermann and Kristen McMenamy, who apparently sport a more ‘mature look’ for the fall campaign.

With the ages of the six youthful models appearing in the French luxury label’s campaign averaging at 18, could this be the indication of an awakening ‘replacement trend’ in the fashion industry? It’s difficult to decide when modelling heavyweights are still making waves in the industry – Stella Tennant (41); Kate Moss (37) and Giselle Bundchen (30) – but either way, we heart Nyasha’s perfect blend of youthful playfulness and grown-up quality.

We’re vouching for her as a definite one to watch; she’ll undoubtedly be taking many more top campaigns and catwalk runs in her soaring, 5’11 stride with enviable effortlessness.

Now that isn’t your average teenager.

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