Modelling prodigy or exploited pre-teen? Meet Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, the 10-year-old French model
We’ve become accustomed to seeing spotty teens take centre stage and call the showbiz shotguns in the music and film industries. Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfeld are all products of these menacingly enticing and lucrative vocations, but look past the red carpet events, clamouring fans and sell-out nail polishes and the questions begin to surface: when do you draw the line? At which point should entry be refused to the money-spinning career club?
When we heard about 10-year-old Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, apart from her super-long name, we weren’t confused by the unassuming pre-teen. That was until we stumbled upon a heavily photo-shopped image of the said minor posing for French magazine, Cadeaux.
Dripping with makeup, bronzed beyond her years, donning a metallic gold dress and heels three sizes too big for her whilst surrounded by bunnies, was far more suggestively siren than we liked.
At 10, Blondeau is only a few years shy of making a highly-expected modelling debut and following in the Nicholas Kirkwood shod footsteps of teen catwalk queens Karlie Kloss, Daphne Groeneveld and gap-toothed Lindsey Wixson. But images surfacing of the pre-teen looking increasingly mature and appearing in editorials semi-naked or spread across animal hides in grown-up attire make us feel slightly uneasy.
Her premature blossoming before the lens is somewhat unnatural, given the circumstances she’s being photographed in, and although her remarkable beauty and striking features are so prominent at such a tender age, the fashion industry reigning in on this and utilising the power of Blondeau’s unique aesthetic to create something disturbing is unfair.
It’s a known fact that a youthful and otherworldly look is a prerequisite for a successful modeling career, but falling below the teen boundaries to reach this kind of visual is dangerous.
Positioning the modeling lifestyle and the commitments that come with it to a 10-year-old could have a profoundly negative effect, considering the CFDA model guidelines recommend keeping models under 16 off the runway and disallowing models under 18 to work at fittings or photo shoots past midnight. Bad news? These recommendations aren’t binding.
If I was the proud but exhausted parent of a ten-year-old, Louboutin’s, animal-hides and Photoshop would be well out of the picture.